COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State junior All-American Christina Manning and head coach Karen Dennis were honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Monday afternoon for their outstanding accomplishments during the 2010 indoor track and field season.
Manning, one of the nation’s top sprinter/hurdlers, claimed the Great Lakes Regional Track Athlete of the Year award after her record-setting indoor campaign. The Waldorf, Md., native earned Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year honors after winning the 60m hurdles and scoring a pair of second-place finishes in the 60m and 200m dashes at last Sunday’s Big Ten indoor championships, helping the Buckeyes to their first conference title in program history. Entering this weekend’s NCAA championship meet, Manning leads the nation in the 60m hurdles, recording a top time of 8.01 seconds at the conference finals.
“She’s an amazing athlete,” Dennis said. “Christina is such a great sprinter. She’s able to sprint over the hurdles and she’s able to put focus into her 60 meters and then do the same thing in the 200 meters. I don’t think Christina realizes how talented she is.”
Fifth-year head coach Dennis collected the Great Lakes Coach of the Year award for the second year in a row after guiding OSU to its first-ever Big Ten title, along the way mentoring two conference champions, five second-place finishers and 16 Top 5 performers. The growth of the women’s program under Dennis has been remarkable – in the past three seasons, the Buckeyes have improved their standing in the conference by eight places and more than 100 points.
“I love Coach Dennis,” Manning said. “She wants the best for you and that is why she is so hard on us. She’s an amazing coach and she makes sure that we come in and do what we need to do to be successful.”
One of the most respected individuals in her profession, Dennis has been involved in national and international track and field for more than 30 years. Prior to her stint at Ohio State, Dennis oversaw the women’s program at UNLV for eight years and was the head coach at Michigan State for 11 seasons. She has served as an assistant coach on several world championship squads and was the head coach for the U.S. Olympic team at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Manning and several teammates will compete at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, this Friday and Saturday, March 11-12.