UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced its regional awards Monday (March 10) and Penn State collected five of the eight Mid-Atlantic Region honors. Awards winners were voted upon by USTFCCCA member coaches.
"It is exciting to the Penn State student-athletes and coaches to be recognized by our peers with these awards," said Head Coach and Director of Track & Field Beth Alford-Sullivan. "We have had a great indoor drive and these awards are impressive. We are all honored to have been selected."
Penn State swept the Mid-Atlantic Region Track Athletes of the Year, with sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) and senior Mahagony Jones (Garfield Heights, Ohio) earning honors. Kidder enters the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend as the second-fastest man in the 800 meters. He is also ranked No. 11 in the mile at 3:58.49. Kidder collected a pair of Big Ten titles, one in the 800 meters and one as the lead-off leg for the Distance Medley Relay's conference title run.
Jones was also a two-time Big Ten champion with titles in the 200 meters and the 4x400 meter relay. A key part of helping the Nittany Lions to their third team title in school history, Jones was also the runner-up in the 60 meters at the conference championship. She is ranked No. 6 in the 200 meters (23.10), No. 9 in the 60 meters (7.36) and is a member of the Nittany Lions' No. 7-ranked 4x400 relay team. Jones also ran a leg of the 4x200 meter relay that broke the indoor collegiate record earlier this year.
Alford-Sullivan was tabbed Mid-Atlantic Region Women's Head Coach of the Year after piloting the team to the program's third Big Ten Championship. Penn State is ranked No. 12 in the nation and the team was the region's top-ranked squad by far. Four Nittany Lion women earned Big Ten championships and the team has six entries for this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships. Alford-Sullivan was also named Big Ten Women's Coach of the Year. The USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Women's Indoor Coach of the Year honor is Alford-Sullivan's fourth after also winning the award in 2004, 2007 and 2010. Additionally, she was named Mid-Atlantic Men's Indoor Coach of the Year in 2009 and Women's Outdoor Coach of the Year four times (2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010).
John Gondak garnered Mid-Atlantic Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year after mentoring Kidder to a Big Ten Championship in just his sophomore year and helping the Distance Medley Relay to a conference title. Kidder is the No. 2 seed in the 800 meters heading to Albuquerque this weekend, while the DMR logged the collegiate-leading time of 9:26.59 earlier this indoor season. Gondak is in his eighth season with the Nittany Lions. The Mid-Atlantic Indoor Men's Assistant Coach of the Year honor is Gondak's third of his career. He has also won Mid-Atlantic Region Men's Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year honors twice.
Randy Bungard collected his second straight Mid-Atlantic Women's Assistant Coach of the Year honor after helping coach several Nittany Lion individuals to conference titles and helping the team to the 2014 Big Ten Women's Team Championship. Bungard's student-athletes scored 57 points in the Big Ten Championships and won titles in the 200 meters, 400 meters, and 4x400 meter relay. The Nittany Lion women will send five entries to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the sprints, hurdles and relays. Earlier this season, the 4x200 meter relay set the all-time collegiate best under his direction.