The 2012 Track Commission Awards and Honors Banquet was held at World Sports Cafe in Fresno, Calif. May 17, 2012.
Chris Baptista enters his eighth season with the Bulldogs with a proven record for developing dominant sprinters and hurdlers.
During his time with Fresno State, Baptista has guided his student-athletes to 35 NCAA Regional bids.
Last season, Baptista sent four individuals to the NCAA Regionals. Latrisha Jordan returned for the fourth-straight year to the NCAA Regionals after earning her third WAC title in four years, she finished nearly two full seconds ahead of the pack in the 400-meter hurdles at the conference championships. Breeauna Thompson qualified for the 400m dash for the second consecutive year. Thompson also qualified for the 200m, the only Bulldog to qualify for two NCAA postseason events last spring.
In 2011, Latrisha Jordan and Breeauna Thompson represented Fresno State at the NCAA Regionals under Baptista's guidance. Jordan returned for the third-straight year in the 400m hurdles while Breeauna Thompson qualified for her first appearance in the 400m.
In 2010, Baptista sent five individuals to the NCAA Regionals, including standout Latrisha Jordan in her sophomore campaign. Jordan won the WAC Outdoor title in the 400-meter hurdles for the second year in a row.
On the men's side, Val-Pierre Dai'Re, Cameron Parker and Kendrick Young all earned spots in the NCAA Qualifier. Dai'Re set a school record of 50.37 seconds in the 400m hurdles under Baptista's guidance. Jordan and Breeauna Thompson also earned NCAA Qualifier invites on the women's side.
Baptista guided Latrisha Jordan to All-American honors during first season at Fresno State in 2009. Jordan shattered the Fresno State record for the 400m hurdles multiple times throughout the season, finishing the regular season with the WAC title in the event and earning WAC Freshman of the Year honors. At the NCAA Championships, Jordan reset the Fresno State record of 58.14 seconds to advance to the final and take eighth-place, earning All-American status.
Jordan also anchored the WAC title-winning 4x400 relay team. Baptista coached the four-some of Vanessa Sautebin, Tiera Hilliard, Janev Morris and Jordan, who combined for a time of 3:39.85 to win the conference crown, a first for the Bulldogs since 1994. The team went on to take sixth at the NCAA Qualifier.
The men also had success in 2009 under Baptista's guidance. Michael Barragan, Kendrick Young, Val- Pierre Dai'Re and Darryl Miller won the 4x400 relay at the WAC Championships to move on to the NCAA Qualifier where they took seventh. Dai'Re and Young also earned a spot in NCAA Qualifiers in the hurdles. Dai'Re earned bids in both the 110 and 400 hurdles for a second year in a row. Young specialized in the 400 hurdles, taking second at the WAC Championships and placing seventh at the NCAA Qualifier.
In the 2008 season, Baptista guided both Dai'Re and Young to strong showings at the NCAA Regional. Dai'Re finished sixth at the Regional in the 400m hurdles and just one place from a bid to the NCAA Championship. On the women's side, Tiera Hilliard, WAC Freshman of the Year, and the women's 4x400 relay team qualified for the postseason.
In his first season at Fresno State, Baptista's athletes picked up three conference titles and six qualifications the NCAA Regional Championships. Fresno State record holder and NCAA National qualifier Ryan Moore and then-freshman Dai'Re both qualified for the USA Track and Field Championships in 2006.Moore set a then-school record in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.51. Dai'Re finished with Junior All-American honors in the 110 hurdles. The men's 4x400 relay team featuring Moore along with Kenny Moon, Juan Valdez and Darryl Miller also qualified for the Regional, breaking a stadium record at the WAC Championships. On the women's side, Regina Ollison qualified for the Regional with a leap of 41-2 in the triple jump.
Baptista came to Fresno State after three seasons as an assistant coach at Tulsa. During his tenure with the Golden Hurricane, Baptista served as the program's recruiting coordinator and coached the men's and women's sprints and hurdles in addition to jumps and multi-events.
Baptista made an immediate impact at Tulsa, coaching the school's first female sprint NCAA All-American, five individual WAC champions, and 17 NCAA Regional qualifiers, including the 20th-ranked NCAA javelin thrower in 2005.
Prior to Tulsa, Baptista, a native of Caruthers, Calif., served two years as the head men's and women's track coach at Shasta College. During his stint at Shasta, the women's team won back-to-back Golden Valley Conference titles and finished the 2002 season as the COA's Women's Scholar Team of the Year for California Community Colleges. Before Shasta College, Baptista spent three years as an assistant coach at Troy State, where he coached that school's first female NCAA Championship qualifier in the high jump.
In his 13 years coaching, Baptista has produced five NCAA Division I All-Americans, 42 NCAA Regional qualifiers and 39 individual conference champions. He is a Level II USA Track and Field Coach.
Baptista earned a bachelor's degree in physical education with a minor in health education from UAB in 1997. He married Valerie Cain in the fall of 2009. The couple resides in Fresno, Calif. with their son, Cooper.