Brycen Spratling advances to the 400 meter final with a semi-final time of 45.41 seconds
Palmer, Spratling and Thompson advance onto Nationals in Eugene, Oregon
Panthers looking to improve qualifying times for upcoming meets
The 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams set new school records
Thompson places top-15 in 400 meter hurdles
In the past 11 seasons, Head Coach Alonzo Webb has developed Pitt Track & Field into a nationally contender that produces some of the country's top athletes. Webb has won three Big East Conference team titles and during the 2012-13 season, six of his student-athletes received All-American honors while 16 student-athletes received All-Big East accolades.
Throughout his tenure at Pitt, Webb has produced 19 NCAA All-Americans, 55 NCAA qualifiers, 35 ECAC/IC4A champions, and 58 Big East Champions.
The 2012-13 campaign was highlighted by junior Carvin Nkanata running to First Team All-American status in the 200 meter dash at the NCAA National Championship Outdoor Meet. Webb guided Nkanata to a lifetime best of 20.29 and a 7th place overall finish at NCAA's. Nkanata also achieved Second Team All-American status at the NCAA National Championship Indoor Meet in the 400 meter dash.
Nkanata was the indoor and outdoor Big East champion in the 200 meter dash and set the indoor meet record with a time of 21.04. He was also a member 4x400 meter relay team that won both the indoor and outdoor Big East Championship titles and reached the NCAA Championship Meet. Nkanata was named the Big East's Most Outstanding Performer at the Outdoor Championship Meet.
Webb also took junior Brycen Spratling to new heights during the 2012-13 campaign, which included Spratling setting an NCAA record and running the world's third fastest time ever in the 500 meter dash (1:00.37). Spratling garnered Second Team All-American status in the 400 meter during both the indoor and outdoor season, and Spratling was named the Big East's Most Outstanding Performer at the Indoor Championship Meet. Spratling anchored the men's 4x400 meter relay team the entire season and helped the Panthers set a new school record with a time of 3:04.16 at the Penn Relays.
Webb also oversaw the maturation of Elizabeth Kline who, as a senior, won the Big East Indoor Pentathlon and the Outdoor Heptathlon titles and earned a berth to the NCAA National Championship Outdoor Meet where she placed 20th overall in the heptathlon.
In the 2012-13 season alone, Webb saw his student-athletes break 10 school records.
"This is tremendous for me," Webb said. "To be back in my hometown as the head of a track and field and cross country team at a major university like Pittsburgh is very exciting. The University of Pittsburgh has shown a commitment to excellence throughout the athletic department and I am happy to be a part of that."
In the 11 years since becoming the head coach at Pitt, his men's team has climbed from the bottom of an expanded conference to the top half of the Big East. The women's team moved from eighth in the Big East to first and had a span of winning four ECAC team titles in a row and it's first-ever outdoor title in the 23-year history of the women's program in 2006.
Also under Webb's guidance are nine Big East Most Outstanding Performers including: Justin Clickett, Carvin Nkanata and Brycen Sprratling for the men, and Chantea Calhoun, Cambrya Jones, Kim Lyles, Maureen McCandless, Tamara McGill and Amanda Walker for the women. Elizabeth Bayne, an NCAA qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles, was also selected as the NCAA Mondo Mid-Atlantic District Female Athlete of the Year in 2004. In 2013, Elizabeth Kline became the first student-athlete in Pitt's history to win the women's heptathlon and pentathlon titles at the Big East Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the same season.
For these accomplishments, Webb was named the United States Track Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic District Coach of the Year in 2003, and repeated that honor in 2004 and 2005 to become one of only two coaches in the country to achieve that distinction, the other being John McDonnell of Arkansas.
In a vote by the Big East coaches, Webb was elected to serve as President to the Big East Track and Field Championship and Competition Committee for 2006. From 2004-06, Webb served as the Vice President of the Championship and Competition Committee while also serving on the Seeding Committee and Big East Standards Committee.
Webb's coaching talents were recognized in 2006 when he was asked to coach the North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships. Webb was able to coach Pitt student-athlete Julianna Reed to a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles.
Prior to being named head men's and women's track and field coach at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002, Pittsburgh native Alonzo Webb helped direct Kent State University to two Mid-American Conference track and field championships in three years as the program's associate head coach.
Webb, a 1972 graduate of Peabody High School, boasts over 30 years of track and field coaching experience on the collegiate, club, high school and junior high levels. He was also a standout performer himself, competing in the jumps and decathlon at Western Michigan, where he helped the Broncos to the 1976 MAC championship.
Webb joined Kent State in 1999 as an assistant coach and was promoted to associate head coach in 2000. He worked with both the men's and women's programs, focusing on the sprints, hurdles, jumps and multi-events.
During his Kent State tenure, Webb helped the men's team capture the 2000 outdoor MAC championship, the program's first conference title in 25 years. In the 2002 outdoor season the Golden Flashes' women's team won its first MAC title ever.
During his final two years at Kent State, Webb's athletes achieved 16 school records, 14 MAC titles, two All-America citations, two MAC records, four NCAA provisional qualifying performances and two NCAA automatic qualifying performances.
Prior to Kent State, Webb served as the head track and field coach and interim cross country coach at Woodland Hills High in 1999. While with the Wolverines, he coached former University of Pittsburgh football players Lousaka Polite (javelin) and Shawntae Spencer (long jump), both finalists at the '99 Pennsylvania State Championship meet and current NFL players.
He has also been very active on the club level and served as the head coach and president of the River City Elite Track Club in Pittsburgh from 1993-99. The club won 33 national AAU Junior Olympic medals, the most of any club in the country in 1999. Among the athletes he tutored was Cassy Richards, who was Track & Field News' No. 1-ranked women's high school indoor long jumper and also set a sophomore class national record in that event.
In his final two years with River City Elite Track Club, Webb's athletes won 27 medals at the Pennsylvania outdoor championships, including six state champions and five runners-up.
Every year since 1994, athletes under Webb's tutelage have advanced to the USATF Junior National Meet, including two who earned Junior All-America honors. He coached Munhall native Heather Hanchak to the Pan-Am Junior Team in Chile (1995) and the World Juniors in Australia (1996). He also helped Oliver High's Talise Manuel to the IAAF World Youth Championships in Poland (1999). Additionally, Webb coached Mike Sanford, a Pine-Richland High product, who was a Footlocker Cross Country National Finalist.
Webb has also served as Youth Chair of the Three Rivers Association USATF and meet director of numerous associations, regional and Junior Olympic meets.
Webb earned his bachelor's degree in art from Western Michigan in 1979. He and his wife Noel have four children: Tanisha, Crystal, Justin and Alonzo III, a former member of the Pitt track and field team and current assistant coach. He also has four grandchildren Dejuan, Terrance, Tearra and Cailah.