June 3, 2013
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall assistant coach Willie Johnson and senior Vanessa Jules have been named Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year and Mid-Atlantic Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, respectively, announced the USTFCCCA Monday afternoon.
The pair was honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches of America as the top candidates from the Mid-Atlantic Region, one of nine regions across the United States. Marshall's track and field program ranks sixth in the field of 36 Mid-Atlantic Region teams.
Johnson, Marshall’s sprints, hurdles, and jumps coach in his third year, coached 10 individuals to the NCAA East Preliminaries, a school record. Two advanced to the NCAA Finals which was also a school record.
The Thundering Herd placed a best-ever fifth at Conference USA led by Outstanding Performance of the Meet recipient Jules. Johnson also coached three individuals and the 4×400 meter relay team to All-Conference performances.
Jules, from Silver Springs, Md., won the C-USA heptathlon title with a C-USA and school record point total of 5,807 which ranks second in the nation. She also won the C-USA high jump title with a jump of 5-10 (1.78m). Jules set three school records: the heptathlon (5,807), the high jump (5-11½/1.82m), and the 100 meter hurdles (13.67).
Alongside senior Crystal Walker, Johnson and Jules will head to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Wednesday where Walker (long jump) and Jules (heptathlon) will represent the Herd on the NCAA’s biggest stage.
As a team, Marshall currently holds a ranking of No. 42 nationally.