|Title:||Head Coach Second Year|
After sprinting his cross country teams into Peach Belt Conference championships and countless regionals, Adam Ward expanded his commitment to GRU Augusta Athletics by accepting the head coach role for men’s and women’s outdoor track & field.
In 2013, Ward assembled the first outdoor track & field team that the university had ever witnessed. The Jaguars booked eight meets in their inaugural season, facing off against Division-1 titans like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Duke, and Clemson. The Jaguar men took sixth at the Peach Belt Conference Championships and the women eighth.
On April 16, 2013, Jaguar runner Jaiden Brandt earns All-Region honors by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Ward’s commitment to the program helped lead Dustin Ross to the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Pueblo, Colo., on May 23.
A 2001 graduate of Murray State University with a B.S. in Exercise Science, Ward served as a volunteer assistant coach with the GRU cross country program in 2003. He assisted the Murray State cross country program in a similar role in 2001. He is a USA Track and Field Level II certified coach. Ward earned his master’s degree in Health & Physical Education from Augusta State in 2005.
Ward is a former president of the local running club Augusta Striders and as an at-large member of the Augusta Sports Council Events and Planning Committee, he was involved in the design of the course for the Augusta Chronicle Half-Marathon that was first staged in October, 2008.
A former Peach Belt Conference representative to the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) on the DII Executive Council, Ward is also an at-large member of the USTFCCCA Division II Awards Committee.
He is married to the former Ashlynn Young of Augusta, Ga. They are the parents of a son, Carter, and a daughter, Mary Blake.
Emily Smith joined the Jaguar Outdoor Track & Field program in August 2014 as a graduate assistant. Smith will be the throws coach for GRU Augusta and one head coach Adam Ward’s top aides. Smith will handle working with student-athletes involved in the shot put, hammer throw, javelin, etc.
Born in Port Huron, Mich., Smith graduated from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., in May 2013. Smith earned a B.S. in business administration and sports management and a minor in exercise science. Smith competed under Coach Neil Reilly for indoor and outdoor track and field for all four years. A six-time All-American, Smith holds records for the indoor weight throw, hammer throw, shot put and was a national runner-up for the discus in the spring of 2013.
Also the captain of the track team from 2010-2013, Smith had the Outstanding Field Event Award named after her. The award is now given as the Emily Smith Field Award at Aquinas College. She was the most valuable player of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference in 2013 and was ranked in the top 50 in the United States.
Olimpia Nowak, a Rawicz, Poland native will also be joining the Jags as the sprinters/jumpers/multis coach. Nowak dominated UNI and the entire Missouri Valley Conference since her freshman year in 2008 when she was named MVC All-Conference and Women’s Field Athlete of the Week for both indoor and outdoor track and field. As a freshman Nowak set a school record in the pentathlon at the MVC Indoor Championships, taking the Valley crown and narrowly missing the all-time MVC record by one point.
She took a redshirt in 2009 and picked up as a sophomore in 2010 by winning the indoor conference championship for pentathlon, setting a personal-best for shot put, and qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., for the heptathlon. In 2011 she was named a second-team All-American by the USTFCCCA for both indoor and outdoor track and field.
Her final year as a Panther she set school records in the heptathlon with 5,686 points at the Drake Relay and anchored UNI’s 4x100m shuttle-hurdle relay to a school record.
Nowak was ranked No. 10 in the nation for the heptathlon entering the outdoor championships and earned first-team All-American honors by placing eighth in the pentathlon at the indoor championships. She ended her collegiate career by setting school records in points for the pentathlon (4,067) and breaking her own 2011 record for the 100m hurdles.
|Title:||Assistant Coach, Second Year|
He blazed the cross country trails at UNC Pembroke all four years of his collegiate career to earn four NCAA All-American accolades, and now he’s a Jaguar as an assistant to cross country and track field head coach Adam Ward.
Ndhlovu is entering his second year as Ward's top assistant for men's and women's cross country after joining GRU in 2013.
From Harare, Zimbabwe, Ndhlovu garnered his first of four All-American honors after placing 30th out of 182 at the NCAA DII Cross Country National Championships in Evansville, Ind., and was named Freshman of the Year by the Peach Belt Conference in 2009. That season he was named to the USTFCCCA (United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) All-Region Team, the PBC All-Conference team and earned PBC Runner of the Week three times.
“We are extremely fortunate to have a person with Pardon's experience and achievements joining our staff,” Ward said. “He will provide valuable insight to competing at a high level that our team will benefit from greatly."
Ndhlovu led the Braves in all eight races as a freshman and as a sophomore in 2010, repeated his PBC All-Conference honor, while adding PBC All-Academic, USTFCCCA All-Academic, and the PBC Presidential Honor Roll. He was named PBC Runner of the Week for breaking his own school record in the 8K at the Jaguars’ home meet on Oct. 23, 2010 where he finished first and assisted his team to the overall title. After placing fourth at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, Ndhlovu made it to the NCAA DII Championships – taking 64th at the 10K in 32:02.3.
His junior and senior years he earned USTFCCCA All-Academic and All-Region status for the third and fourth times and as a junior was named a Capital One Academic All-American, and the USTFCCCA Male Athlete of the Year for the Southeast Region. The dual track and field star could not have ended his career with UNCP in any other fashion than claiming all-American status his senior year in the 5,000m run with a time of 14:47.62 for a seventh place finish at the 2013 NCAA DII Outdoor Track and Field Championships. He was later named PBC Track Athlete of the Year and Southeast Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year.
Gaining his B.S. in Business Administration from UNPC in May, 2013, Ndhlovu will be a graduate assistant working with middle and long distance athletes.