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Friday, May 18, 2012

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the organization's region athletes and coaches of the year for the 2012 NCAA Division II outdoor track & field season on Thursday, with Benedict College taking five awards.

The five region awards were the most of any Division II school in the country. Grand Valley State picked up four awards. Five other schools received three.

Chavis Taylor was named the men's track Athlete of the Year for the South Region. Taylor will be attending the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships set for next weekend, May 24-26, in Pueblo, Colo. The sophomore from Spartanburg, S.C. is the top-ranked 800-meter runner in the South Region and ranks 11th nationally in the event with a season-best time of 1:50.97. Earlier this season, Taylor won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in the 800 Meters and finished as runner-up in the 1500 Meters to score 18 team points for Benedict.

Christopher A. Smith was named the South Region men's field Athlete of the Year. A senior from Clover, S.C., Smith enters the NCAA Championships as a fifth seed, having recorded a best in the pole vault of 16-6¾ (5.05m). Smith was the SIAC Champion in the pole vault and decathlon.

Benedict head track coach Frank Hyland was named the men's South Region Coach of the Year. On account of five individual titles, the Tigers placed second at the SIAC Championships. The seventh-year coach will travel to Colorado for the NCAA meet with two athletes, both ranked in the top 12th of their respective events.

Camille Clemmons-James was selected as the South Region women's track Athlete of the Year. Clemmons-James is the top-ranked 200-meter runner in the South region and ranks in the top 15 nationally in the event. She has a season-best time of 24.13 in the event. She also has a provisional-qualifying mark in the 400 Meters that ranks third in the South region. Clemmons-James is a senior from Columbia, S.C.

Benedict assistant track coach Brandon Samuels was named the women's track assistant coach of the year for the South Region. The Tiger sprinters earned 46 points to help the team to a second place finish in the SIAC Championships. Sprinters were also a dominant force indoors with national qualifiers. One sprinter has earned her ticket to the NCAA Championships in the 200 meters.

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