SEATTLE, Wash. - Robert Johnson was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women's coach of the year, while Phyllis Francis and Maurica Powell earned regional honors from the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.
Johnson, in his first year as head coach, guided the No. 2 Oregon to its third MPSF Indoor Championship in the last four seasons at the league February 22-23 in Seattle. The Ducks accumulated 110 points, 16 ahead of second-place Arizona State. Conference titles included English Gardner's 60 meters, Anne Kesselring's 800 meters, Alexi Pappas' 3,000 meters, and the 4x400 meter relay, as well as runner-up showings from Jillian Weir in the weight throw and Jenna Prandini in the 60 meters.
Perhaps most impressive, however, came within the 400 meter run. Phyllis Francis took down one of the oldest records in MPSF history, regardless of sport, a standard that stood in that race since the inaugural year of the conference in 1993. Her time of 52.03 was also a Dempsey Indoor Facility record.
Johnson spent the last seven years as associate coach at Oregon, with the Ducks winning the last three NCAA Indoor women's titles. This past fall, Johnson was honored as the national women's coach of the year in cross country, as Oregon claimed its first NCAA title in 25 years.
It was Francis' performance at the MPSF meet that propelled her to USTFCCCA West Region women's track athlete of the year honors. The junior from Queens, N.Y., ran the second-fastest 400 meters in the country in meet and stadium record times (52.03) to win the MPSF meet and then anchored the winning 4×400 meter relay team to lead Oregon to the 2013 MPSF team title. She also took the 400 leg on the nation's ninth-ranked distance medley relay team (11:02.18) at the Husky Classic.
Powell, a seventh-year middle- and long-distance coach, guided Jordan Hasay to a school record at 3,000 meters in 8:57.46, which is the second-fastest time in the nation this season. Powell also mentored Hasay to the No. 5 mark at 5,000 meters (15:46.30). She trained athletes currently ranked No. 6 and 11 at 800; 10, 11 and 15 in the mile; 2 and 12 in the 3,000; and 5, 10 and 13 at 5,000. Under her tutelage the Ducks also field the nation's No. 9 DMR team (11:02.18). Oregon swept the 800 and 3,000 to win the 2013 MPSF team title.
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