The 2015 Men’s and Women’s Cross Country award winners for Coach of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year, as nominated by the membership and selected via special committees consisting of National Office members, USCAA Board members, and member Athletic Directors, are listed below.
Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year - Joel Williams, Illinois Tech
Coach Williams was hired in August as a first year coach who’d inherited a program with limited numbers. He's changed the culture of his program, and despite having limited time to prepare for the season, his team now has several runners in the midst of career seasons under his guidance and are well positioned for a strong appearance in this year’s championships.
Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year - Mike Johnson, Berea College
Coach Johnson has seen his team make tremendous growth in 2015. As just one example, his team’s average 8K time has improved from 26:42 to 25:57 this season even after a top five finish in last year’s USCAA National Championship. His school describes this year’s team as one of the best in its history, and his coaching performance as one of his best, which is saying something considering this is his 35th straight season at Berea.
Women’s Cross Country Student-Athlete of the Year - Elaine Lowe, Cleary University
Elaine has combined impressive performance in the classroom, where she currently holds a 3.9 GPA, with strong outreach on her campus. She’s organized her school’s first annual 5K race benefit, is an active participant in her school’s Student Leadership club, and volunteers for a long list of events on campus and in her local community. Elaine has done all of this, despite the residual challenges of a battle with cancer as a high schooler.
Men’s Cross Country Student Athlete of the Year - Dean Ostrofsky, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Dean isn’t just a standout runner or the captain of his team. He’s a member of his school’s student government association, student athlete advisory committee, and the elite Provost’s Honor Circle, which is only eligible to students in the top 10% of their class. In a challenging major, he’s balanced his athletic responsibilities, which include playing a pivotal role with the college’s newly formed track and field program, with earning a 3.8 GPA in the classroom.