Pitt State’s Kiner named Central Region Field Athlete of the Year

LJ Kiner finished top-3 in both long jump and triple jump at outdoor nationals.

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State men’s track and field has earned three awards from the USTFCCCA

Junior LJ Kiner is the Central Region Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year.

Kiner finished 3rd in the long jump at outdoor nationals, with a best leap of 25 feet, 4 inches. He took 2nd in the triple jump at nationals with a jump of 52 feet.

“He’s a special talent, not only as a person but…my gosh, that guy is a freak athlete. He really is talented,” says Pitt State head coach Kyle Rutledge about Kiner, “What he did at nationals in the long jump, and then in the 4X100m during the triple jump…he’s always just competing and staying focused and doing what he has to do for the team. He’s going to USA competitions here in a couple weeks and he’s going to perform well there. He’s going to get that experience and know what he has to do to go to that next level.”

In addition to Kiner earning the honor, Rutledge has been named Central Region Outdoor Coach of the Year – and his assistant, Jason Crow, has been named the Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year.

Those two helped lead the Gorilla men to their first ever outdoor national championship, which included two individual national champions and 13 All-Americans.

“It means a great deal that your peers actually respect what you do,” Rutledge says, “It means a lot to our kids. They’re doing a great job and they’re being respected by other coaches. Coach Crow has done a phenomenal job. For him to get that accolade, it just means a lot. We’re doing things the right way here and our peers respect us.”

FULL RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University head track & field coach Kyle Rutledge was named the NCAA Division II Central Region Coach of the Year for men’s oudoor track & field Monday (June 6), while assistant coach Jason Crow received Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year for men’s outdoor track & field. Junior L.J. Kiner also was selected the Central Region Field Athlete of the Year for men’s outdoor track & field.

Rutledge, in his 10th year at Pittsburg State (his first year as head coach), led the Gorillas to their first outdoor national title in program history at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 70 points. Under Rutledge’s direction, the Gorillas had national champions in the 110-meter hurdles (Louis Rollins) and the 400 meters (Braylen Brewer), while 13 different athletes earned first-team All-America honors. Pittsburg State also won the MIAA Outdoor Championships with 169 points and posted 14 All-MIAA finishes. Rutledge’s athletes broke seven school records during the outdoor season.

Crow, in his second year as assistant coach at Pittsburg State, coached the Gorillas sprint/hurdle group to score 38 of the team’s 70 points in winning the team title at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. His athletes won titles in the 400 (Brewer) and 110 hurdles (Rollins) and added a second in the 4×400 relay, third in the 110 hurdles (T.J. Caldwell) and fifth in the 4×100 relay. His sprint crew scored 55 points at the MIAA Outdoor Championships, helping Pittsburg State to the team title.

Kiner, who hails from Humble, Texas, finished top-3 at the NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field Championships in both the triple jump (second) and long jump (third). He won the triple jump at the MIAA Outdoor Championships and placed fourth in the long jump. Kiner entered the NCAA postseason as the nation’s top-ranked athlete in the triple jump with an effort of 16.36m (53-8¼).