(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Becoming the first athlete in Montana State University Billings history to collect the top track and field award from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, senior javelin thrower Beau Ackerman was named the GNAC men’s track and field athlete of the year announced by the conference office on Monday.
Ackerman’s historic 2021 season came to a close at the NCAA D2 Championships, where he finished No. 4 in the nation with a throw of 231-10 feet to claim All-American status for the second time in his collegiate career.
“It has been an incredible season for Beau and he has excelled in the big moments,” said MSUB head coach Jonathan Woehl. “He has put in so much work over the years, so it is special to have all his efforts recognized with this honor. This award is also outstanding for our program. Beau has been a great leader and an example for his teammates, and I hope more will be following his lead.”
The school record holder in the javelin, Ackerman reestablished a personal best in the event with a throw of 233-7 on May 15 to claim his second GNAC title. He broke the meet record at the conference championships, and his effort was selected as the GNAC performance of the meet.
Ackerman went on to be named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region athlete of the year, with his final mark proving to be the fourth best in all of NCAA D2 track and field.
Upon completing his collegiate career, Ackerman’s best javelin throw was the second longest in conference history trailing only Cody Parker of Alaska Anchorage who threw 255-10 feet during the 2013 season.
The other male GNAC special award winners were all from Western Washington University, with Jeret Gillingham being named the GNAC freshman of the year, Calahan Warren the GNAC newcomer of the year, and Pee Wee Halsell the GNAC coach of the year.
On the women’s side, Renick Meyer of Seattle Pacific was named the female athlete of the year, with her teammate Ellie Rising earning the GNAC freshman of the year award. Western Oregon’s Caitlin Heldt was picked as the GNAC newcomer of the year and Karl Lerum of Seattle Pacific was named GNAC coach of the year.