NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Women's Track and Field senior Hannah Wittman (Lindenhurst, Ill.) was named the Ohio Valley Conference Female Track Athlete of the Year in a vote by league's head coaches, announced on the eve of the outdoor championship. She becomes the first BU runner to earn the award.
Wittman becomes only the third women's track athlete in the history of the OVC to ever earn Runner/Athlete of the Year honors in both Cross Country and Outdoor Track and Field in the same academic year. She is the first since Eastern Kentucky's Ann Eason accomplished the feat in 2014.
Wittman, the most decorated female in the history of the program, continued to rewrite the Belmont record books in her final outdoor season of competition. She currently owns three program records for outdoor- each impressively broken in 2016 – 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m. Wittman even owns an Ohio Valley Conference record after breaking the 1500m mark, which had stood since 1983, at last year's conference championship.
The Lindenhurst, Ill., native has not finished outside of the top-five all season, including a fifth-place finish in the 10,000m at the historic Mt. SAC Relays, where her time of 33.59.63 shattered the Belmont record that had remained untouched since the year 2000. Wittman also won the 1500m Fast Section at the Indiana University-hosted Billy Hayes Invitational, took second in the 5000m at the Raleigh Relays and was third in the 1500m at the Alabama Relays, where she broke the school mark for the first time this season.
She was tabbed OVC Runner of the Week eight times during her outdoor career, including four times this season alone.
"This is such an honor for Hannah to be named OVC Female Athlete of the Year for the second time during her senior year," said Assistant Coach Ashley Casavant. "This is yet another example of how dedicated she has been to her training - and to this program - over the last four years. I'm so excited to see all of her hard work come to fruition in these final weeks of her career here at Belmont."
"Just when I thought we had seen it all last Fall, Hannah upped her game even more this Spring, setting school records in pretty much every event she competed in. She will go down as perhaps the finest female distance runner in Belmont history," noted Belmont's Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, Jeff Langdon.
Looking ahead, Wittman has provisionally qualified for two events at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. Nationally, she stands 13th in the 10,000m and 19th in the 5,000m heading into this weekend's conference championship. She is also ranked 55th in the 1500m nationally.
Wittman and the rest of the Belmont Track and Field team return to action this weekend, May 13-14, at the OVC Outdoor Championship, hosted by Tennessee State University.
2016 Outdoor Track and Field Athletes of the Year
Men's Track Athlete of the Year: Jakub Abrahamsen, EKU
Men's Field Athlete of the Year: Julian Harvey, SIUE
Men's Freshman of the Year: Nick Matthews, SIUE
Women's Track Athlete of the Year: Hannah Wittman, Belmont
Women's Field Athlete of the Year: Amber Hughes, TSU
Women's Freshman of the Year: D'Airrien Jackson, TTU