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Shelia Burrell, a two-time Olympian in the heptathlon, enters her seventh season as the head cross country/track and field coach at San Diego State.
Over her six years, Burrell has coached four NCAA individual champions, 24 All-Americans, 42 Mountain West individual champions, two MW relay champions and 107 all-MW performances. Additionally, 29 school records have been set under her watch.
Last year (2014-15), the Aztecs had another solid season, taking third at both the outdoor and indoor Mountain West meet. SDSU had two athletes win in outdoor (Kristen Brown in the pole vault and Micha Auzenne in the 100 hurdles) and another two capture indoor titles (Bonnie Draxler in the pole vault and Auzenne in the 60 hurdles).
Brown completed her storied career with a MW meet record in the outdoor pole vault and 17th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, giving her third-team USTFCCCA honors in the process.
SDSU recorded seven all-MW indoor performances, eight at the outdoor meet and advanced eight to the NCAA West Regional during the outdoor campaign.
The previous season (2013-14), San Diego State won its second straight MW outdoor title, giving the program three of the previous four overall (also 2013 indoor).
The Aztecs completed their outstanding season by tying for 12th at the NCAA Championships, the team's third straight top-25 finish at the meet. From 2012-14, SDSU was one of only 14 schools in the country and one of only two non-BCS programs (Dartmouth) with three straight top-25 finishes.
In indoor and outdoor in 2013-14, San Diego State won two individual NCAA championships (Shanieka Thomas in the triple jump at both the indoor and outdoor meets), had six All-America picks, seven individual MW champions, 20 all-league picks and set six school records.
Burrell went onto be named the Mountain West Women's Coach of the Year and the Cal/Nevada Championships title for the second straight season.
Thomas completed a storied career by going undefeated against collegiate competition in the triple jump over the 2014 season. Thomas, who became the first-ever Mountain West athlete on The Women's Bowerman Trophy Watch List and was later a semifinalist for the nation's most prestigious award, finished her Aztec career with three NCAA Championships in the triple jump (2013-14 outdoor, 2014 indoor) and two runner-up finishes (2012 outdoor, 2013 indoor), and was a seven-time USTFCCCA All-American and a nine-time MW champion. Thomas, a three-time USTFCCCA West Region Field Athlete of the Year and the 2013 MW Female Athlete of the Year.
Senior Allison Reaser capped her fine collegiate career with a seventh-place finish in the heptathlon at the USA Championships with a school-record and Mountain West-record 5,917 points. Reaser, who was the runner-up at the NCAA meet in the event, finished her SDSU career as a five-time USTFCCCA All-American, a nine-time MW champion (five indoor titles, four outdoor titles) and with two school records.
Brown (pole vault) and Jasmine Burrell (discus throw) each earned All-America accolades, while Nicole Oudenaarden competed at the NCAA meet in the heptathlon.
Thomas (triple jump) and Brown (60 hurdles) each captured indoor titles at the MW meet, while Brown (100 hurdles and pole vault), Thomas (triple jump), Oudenaarden (heptathlon) each captured outdoor MW titles.
In 2012-13, SDSU swept both the MW indoor and outdoor titles. It was San Diego State's first-ever indoor championship and second outdoor title and first since 2003.
The Aztecs ended up finishing in a tie for 23rd at NCAA outdoor championships, its second straight top-25 finish at the meet. SDSU also tied for 25th at the NCAA indoor championship meet.
Overall, San Diego State had five All-America picks, 14 MW individual champions, two relay champs, 32 all-league selections and seven school records.
For her efforts, Burrell was named the MW Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year, the USTFCCCA West Region Indoor Coach of the Year and the Coach of the Meet at the Cal/Nevada Championships.
Thomas put together one of the best seasons in program history, culminating in a NCAA title in the triple jump. It was the fifth individual national champion in school history and second straight (also Whitney Ashley in 2012). Thomas also was a World University Games qualifier, Jamaican Championships qualifier, the MW Female Athlete of the Year (all sports), a first-team outdoor and indoor USTFCCCA All-American, the USTFCCCA Indoor West Region Field Athlete of the Year, the MW Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Student-Athlete of the Year, the MW Women's Indoor Track and Field Most Outstanding Performer and a five-time MW champion across both seasons. Additionally, the junior set school record in the triple jump in indoor and outdoor.
Reaser earned first-team USTFCCCA All-American honors in the heptathlon after taking eighth at the NCAA meet, while Oudenaarden (heptathlon) and senior Alex Evans (triple jump) garnered honorable-mention All-American accolades.
Altogether, SDSU finished with five individual titles at the MW Indoor Championships, including Brown in the pole vault and 60 hurdles, Jasmine Burrell in the shot put, Thomas in the triple jump and Reaser in the pentathlon, and the 4x400-meter relay title (Reaser, Maderia Toatley, Deyna Roberson and Thomas).
At the outdoor championship meet, San Diego State had nine individual titles, including two each by Reaser (heptathlon, 100 hurdles), LaQuisha Jackson (100, 200), and Thomas (triple jump, long jump). Brown (pole vault), Roberson (400 hurdles) and Jasmine Burrell (discus throw) also won titles for San Diego State, while the 4x400-meter relay of Thomas, Toatley, Roberson and Jackson captured the race.
In 2011-12, the Aztecs arguably had their best year in program history, tying for ninth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The ninth-place showing also tied their best finish (also 1985) in school history.
In both indoor and outdoor, SDSU had nine All-America awards, 10 individual MW champions, 15 all-league picks and four athletes set school records.
Ashley led the way by winning a national title in the discus throw (and setting a school record in the process) at the NCAA Championships. It was the first individual NCAA champion since 1985. Ashley went onto finish 22nd at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She earned first-team USTFCCCA All-America accolades in the discus throw (first) and indoor shot put (eighth), and second-team honors in the outdoor shot put. She also won all three of those events at the MW Championships.
Thomas, meanwhile, finished in second place in the triple jump at the NCAA Championships en route to taking third at the Jamaican Olympic Trials. She garnered first-team All-America accolades in both the indoor (seventh) and outdoor (second) triple jump, while winning both events at the MW Championships.
Reaser took sixth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships in a school record to earn first-team USTFCCCA All-America honors. Reaser also won both the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon for the second straight year, and added a 60-meter hurdles title indoor. She also won the MW Championships High Point Award at both the indoor and outdoor meet.
Kelsy Hintz finished ninth in the pole vault at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and was 15th at the indoor meet, winning second-team USTFCCCA All-America honors in each event. Additionally, she won the MW indoor pole vault title.
Evans was 14th in the triple jump at the NCAA Championships, earning second-team USTFCCCA All-America accolades, while Holly Waseloff won the outdoor pole vault.
In 2010-11, Burrell coached the Aztecs to four individual titles, led by freshman sensation Allison Reaser. Reaser won the MW indoor pentathlon title, the MW outdoor heptathlon title, the U.S. Junior Nationals heptathlon title and took fourth at the Pan Am Junior Championships.
Hintz (outdoor pole vault) and Ashley (outdoor discus throw) also won individual conference titles, while Ashley went onto earn All-American honors in the discus.
Burrell coached four SDSU athletes to school records, including Ashley in the hammer, shot put (indoor) and weight throw, Reaser in the pentathlon, Shanae Roach in the 200 (indoor) and Marianne Hogan in the 5,000 (indoor).
San Diego State improved from seventh in 2010 to fourth in 2011 in the outdoor conference championships after taking fourth in the indoor meet. In addition, Burrell led the cross country team to a seventh-place showing, its best since the 2005 season.
Eight athletes qualified for the NCAA West Prelims in 2011, including Lawreta Ozoh (100, 200), Reaser (400-hurdles, long jump) and Ashley (shot put, discus) in multiple events.
Burrell made an immediate impact in her first season with the Aztecs, leading Karoline Koehler to a pair of indoor All-America selections and MW titles in the long jump and triple jump. Koehler ended up finishing fourth in both events at the NCAA Championship meet.
Koehler set an indoor school record in each event, as did Rachel Williams (5,000) and Stephanie James (pole vault). James also won the MW indoor championship.
Burrell led SDSU to a third-place finish at the MW indoor meet, its best finish since 2004. San Diego State ended up finishing in a tie for 21st at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Aztecs had seven all-conference performers.
Five SDSU athletes garnered outdoor all-MW accolades in Burrell's first season as a head coach. Maria Rodriguez set a school record in the hammer throw.
Burrell brought an impressive pedigree of success as an educator, coach and athlete to the Montezuma Mesa. A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and member of the UCLA track and field team during the successful Bob Kersee era, Burrell returns to Southern California after spending the previous two years at Georgetown University.
USA Track and Field Level One and Level Two certified in the sprints, hurdles and multi-events, Burrell has been an athlete and a coach throughout her competitive career. A student of the sport, Burrell has served as a sprint and hurdle clinician for various clinics and has coached at every level of the sport throughout her career, coaching youth, high school and junior college track and field. Throughout her career, Burrell has had the fortune of working with and coaching alongside some of the top coaches in the sport of track and field.
At Georgetown, Burrell coached the men's and women's sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws. The Hoyas, historically known for their outstanding distance program, developed a national presence in the sprints and hurdles during her years there. As a result of her passion and dedication to her athletes, Burrell was named the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) in only her second year at Georgetown.
Burrell's impact was immediate at Georgetown. Her efforts helped produce two Big East indoor runner-up team titles, two indoor NCAA All-Americans (heptathlon, DMR), two Outdoor Big East Conference champions in both the long and short hurdles and qualified the most sprinters and hurdlers to the NCAA Regional and NCAA National Championships in recent school history.
Under her guidance in 2009, sophomore Chris Kinney became the first Georgetown hurdler to go to the NCAA championships in the 110 hurdles (13.77). In addition, London Finley became the third-fastest freshman in the country in the 400-meter hurdles (58.17), Buky Bamigboye competed in the 2008 Olympic trials in the heptathlon and Toby Ulm qualified and competed in the European U-23 Championships in the 400-meter hurdles (50.23).
In 2000-2003, while coaching in the Big 12 Conference as the assistant sprints, jumps and multi-events coach at Kansas State University, she was a part of two Big 12 Conference Championship teams in 2001 and 2002.
From 1998-2000, Burrell worked as an assistant sprints, hurdles and jumps coach at Cal State University Northridge.
While at Mesa College in San Diego, Burrell coached conference champions and junior college All-Americans in the 100 meters, 400-meter hurdles and 200 meters.
Burrell also coached at San Diego High School and ran a successful youth speed and conditioning business while living in San Diego from 2004-2007.
Of Burrell's hire, then SDSU Director of Athletics Jeff Schemmel said, "Burrell's passion for the students, her knowledge and expertise, and her national presence in track and field made her an obvious choice for San Diego State. She brings world class competitive experience as well as exceptional coaching experience."
Burrell is known as one of our nation's best athletes competing in the heptathlon at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece (fourth-place finish). In addition, she was a five-time U.S. National Champion in the heptathlon (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004). Burrell also won a bronze medal at the 2001 Edmonton World Championships, becoming the first American to medal at an international championship since the great Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
A consummate motivator, coach Burrell's personal approach to coaching has had an immediate impact on the San Diego State Track and Field program.