CONCORDIA, Kansas — The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced its 2019 indoor postseason awards on Tuesday, with a pair of Cloud County athletes and coaches receiving recognition.
The organization announced winners for national awards, voted on by USTFCCCA members and based on performances both at the NJCAA National Indoor Track and Field Championship and throughout the regular season, as well as regional awards voted on prior to the national indoor meet.
Freshman jumper Grace Chinonyelum, the national indoor champion in the women's triple jump (43'2.5) and high jump (5'9.25) events, made it a clean sweep as she earned Central Region and National Women's Field Athlete of the Year.
Chinonyelum, a native of Omor, Nigeria, scored 22 points at the NJCAA Championships. She won individual titles in the high jump and the triple jump, and finished seventh in the long jump. She entered the national meet ranked first nationally in both events that she won and was the Region VI champ in those events as well.
Fellow freshman Santino Kenyi was also recognized as he won the Men's Track Athlete of the Year for the Central Region.
Kenyi, originally from Central Equatoria, South Sudan, was ranked first nationally in both the mile (4:08.48) and the 5000 (14:30.10). He was the Region VI High Point Male of the Meet as he won the mile and 5000, placed third in the 800 and seventh in the 3000.
In addition to the pair of student-athletes, Cloud County head men's coach Harry Kitchener, currently in his 42nd season with the T-Birds, won the Central Region Men's Coach of the Year award. Assistant coach Drew Mahin, in his sixth season with Cloud County, took home Central Region and National Men's Assistant Coach of the Year honors.
The duo helped the Cloud County men's team to its first Region VI/KJCCC Indoor Championships title in school history, powered by five event champions, and the program's second straight third-place finish at the national indoor meet.