June 4, 2012
IRVING, Texas -
Tynita Butts of East Carolina and UCF's Caryl Smith Gilbert have been named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Region Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, according to a release Monday by the organization.
The honor completes a 2012 sweep of the USTFCCCA region indoor and outdoor field awards for Butts as she captured the indoor honor on March 5. The sophomore is the only Conference USA athlete, male or female, to pick up an outdoor region accolade. She has the second-best high jump mark in the collegiate ranks this season, having cleared 6-1½ (1.87m) - an Olympic "A" standard. Butts was the Conference USA Champion in the high jump and placed sixth at the league championships in the long jump. Butts posted a mark of 5-11.25 (1.81m) to share the NCAA East Region championship with Boston's Allison Barwise.
A national title contender at this week's NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, Butts owns the second-best high jump mark in the collegiate ranks this season having cleared 6-1½ (1.87m) - an Olympic "A" standard and ECU program record. It will be Butts' second career appearance at the outdoor national championship, finishing seventh her freshman year. She recently won the C-USA outdoor high jump title for the third-straight season and placed sixth at the league championships in the long jump.
Butts is scheduled to challenge for the national title Friday, June 8 beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET inside Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The four-day meet will air on NCAA.com, ESPN3.com and ESPNU.
Smith Gilbert picks up her fifth USTFCCCA's South Region Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Knights to their third-straight outdoor Conference USA title. Smith Gilbert also earned outdoor and indoor regional praise in 2009 and 2011.
In her fifth season at the helm of UCF's program, she guided the program to nine gold medals and 18 all-conference honors at the C-USA Outdoor Championships in May. She then led a school-record 14 athletes to the NCAA East Preliminary Round.
The Knights will show strong numbers once again at this week's NCAA Outdoor Championships with a nation-best three entries in both the 100 and 200 meters, and they also will compete in the 100 hurdles and long jump.
UCF completed the regular season ranked fourth in the South Region. The Knights begin their quest to top their eighth-place finish at the Indoor Championships when they begin the Outdoor Championships on Wednesday.