Just days before the NCAA Track & Field Championships, two key components of the Chico State men’s team were singled out Monday by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Decathlete J Patrick Smith has been named the West Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year, while distance coach Gary Towne was tabbed as the USTFCCCA’s West Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2013 outdoor track & field season.
Smith, the defending national champion in the decathlon, enters this year’s NCAA Track & Field Championships as the fourth-ranked decathlete in Division II, thanks to a season-high 7,035 point performance Feb. 28-March 1 at the Chico Multi Classic. He also earned an NCAA Provisional Qualifying mark in the long jump and 110-meter hurdles.
The junior from Santa Barbara was a 15-time event winner in track & field this season spanning seven specialties. Smith won four long jump events in 2013, and posted multiple meet victories in the 100-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, discus and as part of Chico State’s 4x100-relay team.
Smith was a huge reason the Wildcats claimed their 10th straight California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) title earlier this month – he placed in seven different events at the conference meet, personally accounting for 28 1/2 of Chico State’s total team points. He took home All-CCAA honors in the 110-meter hurdles, long jump and the 4x100-meter relay.
For Gary Towne, winning awards is nothing new. Monday’s announcement marks the third time he’s earned USTFCCCA West Region Assistant Track & Field Coach of the Year honors. In his 17-year Chico State career Towne has garnered 15 CCAA and 15 West Region Cross Country Coach of the Year awards, and was named the USTFCCCA’s National Assistant Track & Field Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009.