NEW ORLEANS -- The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the Division I Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year awards Monday, with two members of the Duke track and field program receiving recognition from the organization. Redshirt senior Curtis Beach was named Southeast Region Field Athlete of the Year and Duke Associate Track and Field Head Coach Shawn Wilbourn received the Southeast Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year honor. Each award winner was voted on by USTFCCCA member coaches.
Beach adds the USTFCCCA regional accolade to a long list of awards he has received over his Duke career. The 2012 NCAA heptathlon champion represents the ACC as the only male student-athlete from the conference to garner a regional award, with the recognition coming on the heels of Beach’s second ACC heptathlon title. Beach broke the meet and facility record with a point total of 5,987 at the conference championships, a score that leads the nation heading into the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships in his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M.
In his sixth season with Duke, Wilbourn helped guide the men’s track and field team to a fourth-place finish at the ACC Championships, with his sprint, hurdles, combined events and pole vault athletes accounting for nearly half of Duke’s total points, including 22 points contributed from the heptathlon. Wilbourn directed Beach to his second conference championship, while also leading junior Ian Rock to a second-place finish, the second top-three performance of his career, after the Davis, Calif., native won the event last season. Sophomore Robert Rohner rounded out the Duke multi-event contingent with a fifth-place finish after posting personal-records in numerous events on the first day of competition. Wilbourn’s multi-event athletes continue to excel under his tutelage, with Beach, Rock and Rohner owning the first, second and third highest heptathlon point totals in school history.
In addition to the multi-event athletes, Duke’s pole vaulters continue to reach new heights through Wilbourn’s assistance. Senior Justin Amezquita set a school record in the pole vault this season, improving on his previous school record with a clearance of 17-5.75 (5.33). Rock also continues to improve in the pole vault after posting a personal-best height of 16-10.75 (5.15) at the conference championships, placing fifth overall and moving into fourth on Duke’s all-time list.
Beach and Wilbourn are set for the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, which begin Friday, March 14.