Shelli Sayers is entering her third season as the Associate Head Track & Field Coach at UNI. Sayers coaches all the female sprinters, hurdlers, and relays while overseeing the day to day operations of the program.
Sayers guided the women's sprinters and hurdlers to record performances during the 2012 indoor and outdoor seasons. The women's 4x400m relay team defended their indoor MVC title and finished second outdoor for the second consecutive season. Sayers coached the team of Michaela Brundgart, Paige Knodle, Olimpia Nowak and Sam Cameron to a 4X400 meter relay time of 3:42.97 during the indoor season, which ranks fourth all-time at UNI.
Sayers mentored Brundgart to the single greatest performance by a 400 meter sprinter at UNI. Brundgart's time of 54.84 in the UNI-Dome ranks her second all time at UNI and placed her third at the MVC Championships. She also ran the third fastest time in UNI history in the indoor 300 meters (39.96).
In the hurdles, Sayers coached Rachel Peth to a new freshmen record in the 60 meter hurdles (8.67) placing third overall at the MVC Championships. The team of Nowak, Knodle, Peth and Abbie Ackerman set a new school record and finished second at the Drake Relays in the shuttle hurdle relay (56.02). Their time also ranked sixth overall in the country by USA Track & Field News.
In her first season at UNI in 2011, Sayers guided the 4x400m relay team of Brundgart, Holli Hosch, Ellen Kindelsperger and Cameron to the MVC indoor title and guided them to a second place finish at the MVC Outdoor Championship. At the Notre Dame Meyo Invite, this same quartet ran a 3:42.87 to rank second all-time at UNI. Cameron became the fourth Panther woman ever to run under 55 seconds in the 400 meters.
Cameron placed third during the outdoor season at the MVC Championships (54.92) ranking her fourth all-time at UNI. Also under the direction of Sayers, Lindsey Gierke finished fourth in the 100 meters and ran a personal record in the 200 meters.
Sayers became the associate head track and field coach for both the men's and women's teams at the University of Northern Iowa in July 2010. Sayers came to UNI from Roanoke College in Salem, Va.
"Shelli is exactly the kind of undiscovered coaching talent I was hoping to find in this national search," Steele said upon her hiring. "This is a big win for our track and field program and for the UNI Athletic Department."
At NCAA Division III Roanoke, Sayers developed a dominant group of sprinters and hurdlers over her six seasons as an assistant coach, with the women's team re-writing the record books, winning a combined nine conference titles in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
"I'm thrilled to be at Northern Iowa and look forward to working with Coach Steele and the rest of the staff," Sayers said. "It's exciting to be part of a program with such a rich history and bright future."
In addition to 15 NCAA qualifiers and eight All-Americans in the sprints and hurdle events, Sayers coached 12-time All-American Robin Yerkes to the 2009 NCAA indoor title in the 400 meters. In 2009, her athletes claimed conference titles in the women's 55m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m, 4x400m and all the men and women's hurdle races.
Sayers has earned the USTFCCCA South/Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year award for each of the past three seasons, becoming the first assistant coach to be recognized in consecutive seasons. She also carries a USATF Level 2 coaching certification in sprints, hurdles and relays.
In all, Sayers' athletes accounted for 28 new Roanoke College records, 10 Old Dominion Athletic Conference individual titles, 12 Old Dominion Athletic Conference relay titles and 12 Old Dominion Athletic Conference records.
As an athlete, Sayers was an all-conference performer 11 times and a conference champion in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles during her four years as a student-athlete at Roanoke.
A 2000 graduate of Roanoke College, Sayers is a native of Blacksburg, Va. She lives with her husband Andy and daughter Lilyan in Waterloo, IA.
The Shelli Sayers File
UNI Associate Head Track & Field Coach, 2010-Present
Roanoke College Assistant Track and Field Coach, 2004-2010
Salem High School (VA) Girls Cross Country Head Coach, 2007-2010
USATF Level 2 Certified in Sprints/Hurdles/Relays
Certified by the USTFCCCA Track & Field Academy in Sprints/Hurdles/Relays
2010 South/Southeast Women's Assistant Coach of the Year
2009 South/Southeast Women's Assistant Coach of the Year
2008 South/Southeast Women's Assistant Coach of the Year
One NCAA Champion
8 NCAA All-Americans
4 NCAA All-American Relay Squads
15 NCAA Qualifiers
28 Roanoke College School Records
10 Individual Old Dominion Athletic Conference Champions
12 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Relay Champions
12 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Records
9 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Women's Team Titles
3 NCAA Academic All-Americans
6 ODAC Rookie of the Year Honorees
2 ODAC Athlete of the Year Honorees