Bobcat junior to compete at the NCAA Championships this weekend in Louisville
Clay Calkins assumed head coaching duties for the Ohio's men's and women's cross country and track and field programs in June 2003 after serving one year as an assistant under Elmore Banton. The 2010 season will be his eighth at the helm of the Ohio distance teams.
Under Calkins' guidance, the women's cross country team finished third in the 2008 Mid-American Conference Championship and was highlighted by two of the best individual seasons in school history. Juniors Kari Summers and Annie Beecham broke records in both the 5K and 6K and qualified for the NCAA Championships, the first time for the women since 1998. Beecham won the MAC individual title with a conference and school record time, while Summers finished runner-up as they both earned All-MAC First Team honors for the second-straight year. The pair now owns five of the top six times for a 6K in school history and two of the top three for a 5K.
On the men's side, senior Shamus Eaton placed eighth in the MAC Championship and garnered second-team All-MAC recognition, while the team finished fifth overall. Eaton had a great performance in the Great Lakes Regional, placing 21st and narrowly missing making it to Nationals.
Also under Calkins, the women's team won back to back conference titles in 2006 and 2007, led by Carime Reinhart who took home the women's individual title in 2006, Ohio's first individual MAC title since 1998. Calkins had three women make the All-MAC First Team and one make the Second Team in both seasons. To honor both excellent years, Calkins was named the 2006 and 2007 Women's MAC Coach of the Year.
In 2006, the men's squad, with a fifth-place finish, placed one runner on the men's All-MAC Second Team, followed by a stellar senior season by Craig Leon in 2007 where he finished runner-up in the MAC Championship to earn first-team All-MAC accolades, led the team to a fourth-place conference finish and went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Both the men's and women's squads have been honored by the USTFCCCA for four consecutive years as an All-Academic team. In 2008, the men's GPA ranked 38th in the nation while the women's stood 20th. Individually, both Summers and Beecham were named to the women's All-Academic Team. For 2009, the men's team GPA of 3.14 ranked second in the MAC while the women's team ranked fourth in the conference with an impressive mark of 3.47.
Before coming to Ohio in 2002, Calkins served as the head assistant coach for track and field at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich. During his three and a half years at Hillsdale, he helped lead several Charger student-athletes to top-10 finishes at nationals in both jumps and throws.
Calkins began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Bobcats during the 1996-97 school year. In between receiving his master's degree in athletic administration in 1997 and joining the Hillsdale coaching staff in 1999, he owned a construction company - Calkins Construction - in Big Pine Key, Fla.
A native of East Sparta, Ohio, Calkins competed in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state high school meet. At Malone College in Canton, Ohio, he was a four-year decathlete who specialized in the hurdles, pole vault and jumps for the Pioneers. Calkins received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Malone in 1995.