Julien Alfred, Ackelia Smith, Jaydon Hibbert cap historic seasons with NCAA regional awards Featured

By Sports Desk June 15, 2023 800

Julien Alfred, Ackelia Smith and Jaydon Hibbert capped their respective impressive seasons with regional awards for the 2023 NCAA Division I Track and Field season announced by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Jamaican-born Mark Elliott was named Southeast Region Men’s Head Coach of the Year.

Alfred, who hails from St Lucia, the South Central Region Female Track Athlete of the Year, capped a record-breaking, undefeated season at the 2023 NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where she won the 100, 200 and led off the winning 4×100 relay.

Her wind-aided mark in the 100-meter final of 10.72 equaled the fastest all-conditions effort in collegiate history, while her wind-aided mark in the 200 of 21.73 is the fastest all-conditions time in collegiate history. Alfred ran the opening leg of a Texas 4×100 relay that obliterated the collegiate record twice this season, ultimately to 41.55 in Austin.

Smith, who hails from Clarendon, Jamaica, is the South Central Female Field Athlete of the Year. She won the long jump and finished runner-up in the triple jump at the 2023 NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Her mark in the triple jump of 14.54m made her the third-best performer in collegiate history. Smith made waves at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, too, when she soared 7.08m in the long jump to become the second-best performer in collegiate history behind Tara Davis. 

Hibbert, who won more than a handful of awards in this is freshman year, was the co-South Central Region Field Athlete of the Year.

Hibbert, who hails from Kingston, Jamaica, capped an undefeated season in the triple jump with a victory at the 2023 NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He bounded 17.56m to record the fourth-farthest mark in collegiate history.

That was his second-best effort of the season, because earlier at the SEC Outdoor Championships, he shattered the collegiate record – and set an all-time World U20 outdoor best – with his majestic 17.87m, a personal best.

Hibbert’s coach Travis Geopfert, the Associate Head Coach at Arkansas, earns recognition as the Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year in the South Central Region.

Geopfert’s event group played a significant role in Arkansas’ success, scoring 31 of the team’s 53 points, leading them to finish as the NCAA team runner-up.

Notably, Hibbert, a freshman coached by Geopfert, emerged as the SEC Field Athlete of the Year, remaining undefeated in the triple jump and winning the NCAA title by a remarkable two-foot margin. Moreover, Arkansas became only the third school in NCAA history to achieve a 1-2 finish in the long jump, with Carey McLeod and Wayne Pinnock securing the top two positions.

Geopfert’s coaching expertise also contributed to Arkansas winning the SEC team title, with the team scoring 69 out of 149 points. With 11 years of coaching experience at Arkansas, Travis Geopfert specializes in coaching jumps and combined events.

Elliott, the Southeast Region Men’s Head Coach of the Year, in his 10th year as Director of Track & Field at Clemson, led the Tigers to the team title at the ACC Outdoor Championships, winning four events. Clemson was in 10th place the ACC Championships before moving up to win on the final day. His athletes earned six entries to the 2023 NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including Giano Roberts, who set a school record of 13.31 in the 110 hurdles.

 

 

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