ST. PAUL – Following the conclusion of the 2019 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Indoor Track & Field Championships, the UMAC announced its list of postseason awards on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
For the Cougars, Justin Pearson was named the Men’s Track Athlete of the Meet for the second straight year, Emily Ciesynski was tabbed the Women’s Track Athlete of the Meet, Jenna Benson was selected as the Women’s Rookie of the Year and Trent Merkins and Sierra Paske both received the UMAC Sportsmanship Award on behalf of Minnesota Morris.
Ryan Anderson, Benson, Jessica Bliese, Ciesynski, Brennyn DePaulis, Brooke Hogan, Merkins, Katherine Novak and Pearson were named UMAC All-Conference.
On the track, Minnesota Morris sprinters Ciesynski and Benson helped lead their squad to a third-place team finish. Ciesysnki was the top scoring athlete in track events with 30.5 points after picking up two All-UMAC finishes. The senior won the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.12 on day one before clocking 26.98 for second in the 200-meter dash on day two. She also was third in the 60-meter hurdles, fourth in the 60-meter dash, and part of the third-place 4.400-meter relay for the Cougars.
Benson made a stellar rookie debut at the conference meet with a second-place All-UMAC finish in the 60-meter dash clocking 8.29 in the finals. She was also third in the long jump with a mark of 4.75 meters (15-7). She earned 14 total points for Minnesota Morris.
Pearson tallied the most points in track events with 31 points and won three individual event wins sweeping the sprints. On Friday, Pearson set a new meet record in the prelims of the 60-meter dash clocking 6.99 before winning the event Saturday with a time of 7.03 in the final. He also won the 400-meter dash on the first day with a time of 51.12. Saturday, he finished with a time of 22.62 to set another meet record, this time in the 200-meter dash to help him repeat as champion in both the 60-meter and 400-meter events.
Merkins captured a silver medal in the shot put with his distance of 44-0.5.
Paske finished fourth in the weight throw (42-6.75) and took ninth in the shot put (33-2).
Minnesota Morris won the team sportsmanship award on the men’s side, an accolade that is selected by the UMAC coaches and awarded to the team that best represents sportsmanship throughout the entire season. Each team also had one representative named to the individual sportsmanship award list.