USATF South Carolina Long Distance Runners of Year

02/01/2017 - 12:48

By Bill Marable, USATF State Record Keeper

Brett Morley and Shawanna White have been chosen South Carolina Long Distance Runners of the Year by USA Track and Field for 2016. Also chosen were outstanding masters competitors Eric Ashton and Kerry Robinson.

Traveling all over the state, 24 year old Brett Morley, ran in most of the top competitive races winning 9 of 17 events. Major victories came in half marathons at the Greenville Health System in 1:07:52 and the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon in 1:07:30. Other big wins for the Greenville resident came at the Run Downtown 5K in 15:28 and the Long Run 15K in 48:45. He recorded strong performances at the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K as the top South Carolina finisher in 32:46 for 21st place and the Reedy River Run 10K in 31:41 for sixth place. Outside the state he competed at the USATF 10 Mile National Championship in Minneapolis where he finished 31st against a field of about 60 professionals in a time of 51:03.

He began running in tenth grade at Landrum High School with a best performance of eleventh place at the 1A South Carolina Cross Country Championship as a junior. In junior college at Spartanburg Methodist, he made a big improvement setting a school record in the 10K while winning the Pioneer Award for excellence in the classroom as well as sports. Moving on to North Greenville University he excelled even more earning MVP honors in both cross country and track for two years along with receiving a Christian Leadership Award. He was named Conference Carolinas Fall Athlete of the Year in 2013 as well as being academic all-conference graduating with a 3.98 GPA. Currently he teaches fifth grade at New Prospect Elementary School in Spartanburg County. Credit for his success goes to his coach Jeff Milliman at the Greenville Running Company along with support from his girlfriend, Ashlee Harm. In winning the award for a second straight year, he was selected over Eric Ashton, Michael Banks, Ricky Flynn and Matt Shock.

As a prolific racer, Shawanna White competed in 28 events in South Carolina, winning 17 of them. In all, she ran over 60 races, sometime two in one day, setting personal records at four distances. The 37-year-old physical education teacher ran her best times in winning the Lexington Half Marathon in 1:21:23, taking runner-up finishes at the Dam Run to Irmo 10K in 36:21 and the Heart and Sole Women’s 5 Mile in 29:56, along with a fourth place at the Jailbreak 5K in 17:33. In major events, she was 18th place at the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K in 38:40 and second place at the Knights of Columbus Turkey Day Run 5K in 17:56.

Outside the state the Georgia native won the inaugural Hunter Subaru Legacy Half Marathon held at Brevard, NC in 1:24:17 along with a PR at the ATC DeKalb YMCA 4 Mile in 23:33. She was also runner-up at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL in 2:54:25. To get closer to her boyfriend and coach, Orinthal Striggles, she moved from the Atlanta area to Columbia 2½ years ago. She teaches in St. Matthews in Calhoun County. Her running career started in tenth grade where her highlight was a fifth place finish in the 800 meters at the 3A state meet. At the University of West Georgia she was the only women’s cross country athlete in history to earn All-Gulf South Conference in all four seasons. Support comes from the Greenville Running Company/Sketchers Performance along with her coach, family and friends. Runners-up for the award were Caitlin Batten, Alyssa Bloomquist, Erin Miller and Michelle Ziegler.

What felt like a below average year to Eric Ashton, he says due to demands in other areas of his life, no one else seemed to notice as he wins his fourth masters award to go along with his 15 open awards. The 48-year-old Columbia resident competed in 20 races, winning seven overall titles, 16 masters wins and going undefeated in the 45-49 age group. His best performances came at the Charleston Reindeer Run 5K in 15:50, Daniel Island 5K in 15:59, Ray Tanner Home Run 12K in 40:26 and the Governor’s Cup Half Marathon in 1:13:40. The Dam Run to Irmo 10K proved to be his best overall victory running 33:23. At the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K, he was timed in 34:17. Although he did not set any state records during the year, he currently holds 5 records in the 45-49 age group with a total of nine records overall dating back to 1992. This is all accomplished while working a demanding job as an orthopedic physician assistant for the past 16 years at the Lexington Medical Center for Southeastern Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. During the summer he married Sara Powell, one of the top runners in the state whose brother, Andy, is an accomplished cross country and track coach at the University of Oregon. Self coached, Ashton leans heavily on his college coach and mentor Dr. Jack Hazen of Malone University in Ohio. The other runners he beat out for this award were Marc Embler, Dave Geer, George Luke and Orinthal Striggles.

Another injury-free year helped Kerry Robinson, 57, win this award for a second consecutive year. She ran 32:13 at the MESSA 8K for H2O giving her a third state 55-59 age group record. Other fast times came at the Charlie Post Classic 5K in 19:23, the Knights of Columbus Turkey Day 5K in 19:25 and the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K in 42:13. In ten events she was the overall winner in two, masters winner in eight and perfect in her age group. In her native country of Scotland, she began running at age ten and competed on the Scottish teams at three world cross country championships. She was recruited to Clemson University where she became a cross country All-American in 1981 along with being All-Atlantic Coast Conference three straight years. In 2007 she was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame. Over 30 years later she still holds school track records in the 3000 meters of 9:05.65 and 5000 meters of 16:02.76. She has a doctorate degree from Clemson in Materials Science and Engineering and is employed at Kapstone Charleston Kraft as a Process Optimization Engineer. Nine years ago she became a United States citizen. She has helped coach young athletes with the Mount Pleasant Track Club for seven years in cross country. Her biggest supporter is her partner, Michael Drews, of Meggett in Charleston County. Others include her running partner Paula Walmet, chiropractor Dr. Richard Huston, and massage therapist Sarah Kennedy. The other contenders for this award were Sarah Allers, Mary Howk, Nonie Hudnall and Susi Smith.


MALE: Brett Morley 64, Michael Banks 27, Eric Ashton13, Ricky Flynn 7, Matt Shock 2.

FEMALE: Shawanna White 75, Caitlin Batten 13, Alyssa Blomquist 12, Erin Miller 8, Michelle Ziegler 6.

MALE MASTERS: Eric Ashton 42, George Luke 29, Orinthal Striggles 28, Dave Geer 8, Marc Embler 6.

FEMALE MASTERS: Kerry Robinson 48, Susi Smith 34, Sarah Allers 21, Nonie Hudnall 10, Mary Howk 1.

Previous South Carolina Runners of the Year:


1986 - David Branch, Travelers Rest

1987 - Jeff Wentworth, Columbia

1988 - Dave Geer, Clemson

1989 - Rob Devlin, Columbia

1990 - Rob Devlin, Columbia

1991 - Steve Kartalia, Pendleton

1992 - Steve Kartalia, Pendleton

1993 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

1994 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

1995 - Selwyn Blake, Columbia

1996 - Selwyn Blake, Columbia

1997 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

1998 - Eric Ashton, Mount Pleasant

1999 - Eric Ashton, Mount Pleasant

2000 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2001 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2002 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2003 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2004 - Orinthal Striggles, Columbia

2005 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2006 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2007 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2008 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2009 - Orinthal Striggles, Elgin

2010 - Neville Miller, Mount Pleasant

2011 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2012 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2013 - Michael Banks, Charleston

2014 - Michael Banks, Charleston

2015 - Brett Morley, Landrum

2016 - Brett Morley, Greenville


1986 - Marcia Mansur, Columbia

1987 - Nancy Grayson, Columbia

1988 - Nancy Grayson, Columbia

1989 - Nancy Grayson, Columbia

1990 - Nancy Grayson, Columbia

1991 - Maggie Kraft, Columbia

1992 - Maggie Kraft, Columbia

1993 - Kathy Kanes, Charleston

1994 - Kathy Kanes, Columbia

1995 - Mary Ellen Kelly, Columbia

1996 - Mary Ellen Kelly, Columbia

1997 - Mary Ellen Kelly, Columbia

1998 - Tracy Center, Greenville

1999 - Janice Addison, Columbia

2000 - Janice Addison, Columbia

2001 - Janice Addison, Columbia

2002 - Janice Addison, Columbia

2003 - Janice Addison, Columbia

2004 - Anne Wyman Cipolla, Charleston

2005 - Donna Anderson, Pawleys Island

2006 - Maggie Chan-Roper, Shaw Air Force Base

2007 - Amanda Cannon, Fountain Inn

2008 - Maggie Chan-Roper, Shaw Air Force Base

2009 - Sopagna Eap, Johns Island

2010 - Kristi Arledge, Simpsonville

2011 - Rives Poe, Charleston

2012 - Amy McDonaugh, Irmo

2013 - Caitlin Judd, Charleston

2014 - Caitlin Judd, Charleston

2015 - Caitlin Batten, North Charleston

2016 - Shawanna White, Columbia


1986 - Michael McGuiness, West Columbia

1987 - Lansing Brewer, Camden

1988 - Bob Schlau, Charleston

1989 - Lansing Brewer, Camden

1990 - Bob Schlau, Charleston

1991 - Gerry Carner, Clemson

1992 - Bob Schlau, Charleston

1993 - Bob Schlau, Charleston

1994 - Bob Schlau, Charleston

1995 - Dave Geer, Clemson

1996 - Mark Friedrich, Isle of Palms

1997 - Lansing Brewer, Camden

1998 - Gerry Carner, Clemson

1999 - Dave Geer, Clemson

2000 - Ervin Reid, Campobello

2001 - Avery Goode, Jr., Rock Hill

2002 - Ervin Reid, Campobello

2003 - Steve Annan, Mount Pleasant

2004 - Selwyn Blake, Columbia

2005 - Gerry Carner, Clemson

2006 - Tom Mather, Mount Pleasant

2007 - Steve Annan, Mount Pleasant

2008 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2009 - Ed Hughes, Greenville

2010 - George Luke, Greenville

2011 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2012 - Marc Embler, Folly Beach

2013 - Marc Embler, North Charleston

2014 - Eric Ashton, Columbia

2015 - Marc Embler, North Charleston

2016 - Eric Ashton, Columbia


1986 - Margaret Wright, Folly Beach

1987 - Margaret Wright, Folly Beach

1988 - Gail Bailey, Charleston

1989 - Libby Neely, Fort Mill

1990 - Pat Rhode, Walterboro

1991 - Nancy Grayson, Columbia

1992 - Catherine Lempesis, Columbia

1993 - Catherine Lempesis, Columbia

1994 - Nonie Hudnall, Spartanburg

1995 - Dian Ford, Piedmont

1996 - Catherine Lempesis, Columbia

1997 - Nonie Hudnall, Spartanburg

1998 - Betty Ryberg, Aiken

1999 - Marge Hoffman, Salem

2000 - Dian Ford, Piedmont

2001 - Marge Hoffman, Salem

2002 - Marge Hoffman, Salem

2003 - Janice Addison, Columbia

2004 - Janice Addison, Columbia

2005 - Dian Ford, Piedmont

2006 - Dian Ford, Piedmont

2007 - Donna Anderson, Pawleys Island

2008 - Lisa Tolley, Seneca

2009 - Dian Ford, Piedmont

2010 - Susi Smith, Greenville

2011 - Kristi Arledge, Simpsonville

2012 - Ruth Marie Embler, Folly Beach

2013 - Ruth Marie Embler, North Charleston

2014 - Dian Ford, Piedmont

2015 - Dian Ford, Piedmont & Kerry Robinson, Meggett

2016 - Kerry Robinson, Meggett


Janice Addison, Blythewood

Eric Allers, Columbia

Sarah Allers, Columbia

Nancy Anderson, Spartanburg

Steve Annan, Mount Pleasant

Chris Bailey, Charleston

Michael Banks, Charleston

Caitlin Batten, North Charleston

Irv Batten, North Charleston

Mark Bedenbaugh, West Columbia

Alan Blackwell, Moore

Laura Boselowitz, Mount Pleasant

William Boulter, Charleston

Jeff Brandenburg, Columbia

Anne Brooks, Salem

Shirley Brown, Myrtle Beach

Gerry Carner, Clemson

Rose Carney, Bluffton

Josh Cashman, Greenville

Mike Chodnicki, Summerville

Steve Comer, Charleston

Lee Cone, Landrum

Lee Cook, Greer

Amanda Cooley, Fountain Inn

Woody Cornwell, Newberry

Heather Costello, Lugoff

Mary Claire Cox, Columbia

Adrian Craven, Greenville

Nancy Curry, Mount Pleasant

Jeremey Davis, Greenville

Sunday Davis, Piedmont

Tami Dennis, Isle of Palms

Pam Drafts, Beaufort

Dolyne Drvino, Hanahan

Todd Edwards, Greer

Marc Embler, North Charleston

Ruth Marie Embler, North Charleston

Hazel Farish, North Charleston

Arnold Floyd, Hartsville

Debbie Flynn, Cross Hill

Ricky Flynn, Greenville

Dian Ford, Piedmont

Mary Ann Fowler, Travelers Rest

Mark Friedrich, Isle of Palms

Flora Fulton, Greenville

Dennis Funk, Greer

Fernando Gallardo, Anderson

Dave Geer, Clemson

Jason Gibson, Columbia

Philippe Giguere, Simpsonville

Lisa Groome, Florence

Linn Hall, Columbia

Marge Hoffman, Greenwood

Henry Holt, Lexington

Ben Howell, Greer

Nonie Hudnall, Spartanburg

Shannon Iriel, Columbia

Cedric Jaggers, Rock Hill

Seth Jenny, York

Brian Johnson, Mount Pleasant

Gregory Jones, Columbia

Larry Jourdain, Sandy Run

Whitney Keen, Camden

Cherry Kent, Charleston

Yuji Kishimoto, Central

George Luke, Greenville

Richard Lyons, Greenville

Jim Madden, Goose Creek

John Massey, Mount Pleasant

Geary McAlister, Rock Hill

Gary Melville, Charleston

Erin Miller, Columbia

Shannon Miller, Moncks Corner

Clyde Mizzell, Charleston

Jan Mizzell, Charleston

Jeanna Moffett, Columbia

Brett Morley, Greenville

Joan Mulvihill, Charleston

Scott Murr, Greenville

Mitch Mussetter, Aiken

Rives O’Connell, Charleston

Judy Phelps, Myrtle Beach

Sue Porter, Columbia

Barbara Ramsey, Surfside Beach

Robert Razick, Florence

Kerry Robinson, Meggett

Christine Rockey, Conway

Susan Rogers, Spartanburg

Michael Seekings, Charleston

Jana Seppala, Greer

Matt Shock, Greenville

Parker Sloan, Greer

Jesse Smarr, Columbia

Susi Smith, Greenville

Ronnie Solesbee, Inman

Tony Sorrells, Pickens

David Spark, Greenville

Tim Stewart, Simpsonville

Orinthal Striggles, Columbia

Erin Suttman, Columbia

George Sykes, Spartanburg

Billy Tisdale, Sumter

Jack Todd, Spartanburg

Jay Upchurch, Charleston

Ben Vaughn, Greenville

Ed Vilt, Mount Pleasant

Carol Wallace, Blythewood

Judy Walls, Piedmont

Paula Walmet, Mount Pleasant

Karl Walsh, Mount Pleasant

Todd Walter, Landrum

William Webster, Spartanburg

Shawanna White, Columbia

Tom Wild, Anderson

Janice Wilkins, Greenville

Raymond Willard, Summerville

Terry Williams, Conway

Michelle Ziegler, Greenville

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