UNI Track & Field Camps
Associate Head Track and Field Coach
Shelli Sayers is entering her second year as the associate head track and field coach at UNI. Sayers became the associate head track and field coach for both the men's and women's teams in July 2010.
In 2011, she coached the women's sprints, relays and hurdle events, while also spending time with the high jumpers. Under the guidance of Sayers, the UNI 4x400m relay team of Michaela Brungardt, Holli Hosch, Ellen Kindelsperger and Sam Cameron claimed the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championship.
Also under the direction of Sayers in 2011, sprinter Sam Cameron became the fourth Panther woman ever to run under 55 seconds in the open 400m, and Lindsay Gierke earned a fourth-place finish in the 100m at the MVC Outdoor Championships.
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. She is also a member of three school-record relay teams, holding the top times in the indoor 400-meter relay and 800-meter relay and the outdoor 3,200-meter relay.
A 2000 graduate of Roanoke College, Sayers is a native of Blacksburg, Va.
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
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
Assistant Coach - Throws
Entering his third season as an assistant track and field coach overseeing the throwing events, Dan O'Mara has built the UNI throws team into one of the top programs in the Midwest.
Under the guidance of O'Mara, the UNI throws program experienced its best season in school history in 2011. Two UNI throwers claimed Missouri Valley Conference individual titles and four Panthers qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in Eugene, OR.
At the 2011 MVC Outdoor Championships, Panther men's throwers totaled 54 team points and had an All-MVC finisher in each of the four throwing events. The 54 points in the throwing events were the most ever scored by UNI at the MVC Championships. Jordan Williams won his first Valley title in the discus, uncorking a personal-best throw by 11 feet and claiming No. 4 on the UNI all-time list with his mark of 182-06 (55.63m).
At the MVC Indoor Championships in 2011, UNI racked up 29 points between the two men's throwing events and rallied the Panthers into the team lead late in the meet. With O'Mara's tutelage, Justin Romero won his first Valley title in the shot put with a throw of 58-07.50 (17.87m).
In 2011, Panther throwers posted 10 performances that broke into the school's all-time top-5 lists. Tanner Hurt set a new school record in the hammer throw, and Justin Romero (indoor shot put), Kelsey Sukovaty (indoor shot put) and Traci Harms (weight throw, hammer throw) all claimed the No. 2 spot on the UNI all-time lists.
O'Mara made an immediate impact on the UNI program in his first season in 2010 by implementing his nationally-renowned system. In all, O'Mara's athletes set an amazing 37 personal bests in 2010.
"Dan is one of America's premier throws coaches," said UNI head track & field coach Dan Steele. "To be able to attract a coach as talented and well-respected as O'Mara speaks to the national reputation of UNI track and field. His coaching expertise is exceeded only by his character and integrity. Dan is a perfect fit with UNI Athletics. He fits the teacher/coach model I feel is so important to the success of any intercollegiate athletics program."
"It is my goal to help develop one of the finest throws programs in the nation," O'Mara said upon his hiring. "I also want to help my athletes earn a degree while preparing them for the real world. I want to show athletes what it takes to be the best and challenge athletes to go beyond their comfort zone. I am willing to put forth the effort needed to bring this program to the next level."
Prior to UNI, O'Mara served as an assistant track and field coach at Iowa State from 1992-2007. At ISU, O'Mara guided 22 Big 12 Conference Champions in addition to coaching 21 All-Americans and eight Olympic Trials qualifiers. His student-athletes also set seven ISU school records under his tutelage. O'Mara also produced and developed a shot put technique video.
As an athlete at Kansas State, O'Mara was an All-American in the discus as well as the Big Eight Conference champion in both the discus and shot put. He also earned Big Eight all-conference honors in the javelin. In 1994, he was inducted in the Kansas State Hall of Honor for Track and Field.
O'Mara was a graduate assistant coach at the University of South Carolina from 1990-1992 and also served as a graduate assistant from 1989-1990 at Kansas State. He earned his bachelor's degree in exercise physiology from Kansas State in 1990 and later earned his master's degree in sport psychology from Iowa State in 1997.
Assistant Coach - Men's & Women's Cross Country
Dave Paulsen enters his fourth season overseeing the men's and women's cross country, distance and middle distance programs at the University of Northern Iowa.
Paulsen directed several Panther student-athletes to new levels of success in the 2010-11 season. In the cross country season, he coached Brett Egan and Thibault Vandenabeele to All-MVC performances. Aaron Stockstell clocked the fastest indoor and outdoor 800m times by an MVC athlete in 2011 and qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. Scotti Schon shattered the UNI women's school record in the 3,000m steeplechase by more than 10 seconds.
Under Paulsen's guidance, Holli Hosch won three Missouri Valley Conference 800m titles between the 2010-11 indoor and outdoor seasons and established a new MVC all-time outdoor record (2:05.16) at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds where she qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships and U.S. Championships.
"Dave Paulsen is one of the brightest young coaches in the country," UNI head coach Dan Steele said. "Dave is one of those rare coaches whose background is in both the distance events and the long sprints. As a former All-American and UNI graduate, he bleeds purple and gold. That passion carries over into his coaching and makes him a potent recruiter. I feel very excited about the future of our cross country and distance programs knowing Dave is overseeing them."
Since joining UNI, Paulsen has coached 39 All-Missouri Valley Conference performers, 10 conference champions, 8 national qualifiers and 3 All-Americans. Athletes coached by Paulsen have set four school records as well as one Missouri Valley Conference record.
Prior to joining the Panther staff, Paulsen enjoyed unprecedented success as the head cross country and assistant track and field coach at Central College in Pella, IA, from 2006-2008. Prior to Central, Paulsen served as a volunteer coach at UNI for three years. Paulsen also worked as the Director of XL Sports Acceleration Program, a joint venture between the University and Cedar Valley Medical Specialists.
As a student-athlete for the Panthers from 2000-2003, Paulsen earned All-America honors in 2002 as a member of the UNI distance medley team. Paulsen was a two-time NCAA Division I national meet qualifier, along with being an eight-time all-Missouri Valley Conference performer. He was an US Olympic Trials qualifier in the 800 meters in 2004, with a personal-best time of 1:47.03.
The Waverly, IA, native received his bachelor's degree from UNI in political science in 2004 and earned his master's degree in exercise science from UNI in 2006. He and his wife, Dee, have a son, Caleb, and a daughter, Chloe.
As a Student Athlete:
NCAA shot and discus All-American
Big 8 shot and discus champion
Personal best includes shot: 62’ 5”, discus: 192’ 6”
World Ranked Top 10 Shot Putter
8 Olympic Trials qualifiers
1 Pan-American Games silver medalist
22 NCAA All-Americans
24 Conference champions
2 NCAA Runner-ups in the shot
7 – 60+ foot Shot putters
6- 190+ foot Discus Throwers
Assistant Coach - Horizontal Jumps, Pole Vault, Multi-Events
Anthony Bertoli is entering his first season at UNI as an assistant coach for the horizontal jumps, pole vault and multi-events.
Bertoli comes to UNI from Troy University, where he served as an assistant coach for the 2011 season. While at Troy, Bertoli also worked with the horizontal jumps, pole vault and multi-event athletes. During the 2009-10 season, he served as a volunteer assistant coach at Indiana State University. He competed as a student-athlete at Indiana State from 2005-09.
"I am very excited about joining the UNI family," Bertoli stated upon his hiring in July 2011. "Having competed in the Missouri Valley myself, I know the history and pride that come with UNI Track and Field and I am anxious to be a part of those traditions."
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to work under head coach Dan Steele, and I look forward to learning from UNI's already incredible staff and helping the Panthers rise to dominance in the MVC once more."
"We are so excited to bring Coach Bertoli into our program," noted Steele. "Coaches with his level of passion and work ethic are game-changers. With his elite-level coaching, tireless recruiting and administrative expertise, I think he will make an immediate impact on our program."
Bertoli is a certified track and field technical coach by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and is also recognized as a certified Level I coach and Level II jumps coach by USA Track and Field. He was selected as one of 16 total coaches in the nation to attend the USATF Emerging Elite Coaches Camp in June 2011 and was one of nine coaches to attend the multi-events portion of the camp in 2010.
Bertoli graduated from Indiana State in 2009 with a degree in exercise science. As a student-athlete for the Sycamores, he earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in the decathlon in 2009 and provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2008. Bertoli also qualified for the 2009 NCAA Mid-East Regional in the 400m hurdles, and he holds the ISU school record in the indoor heptathlon.
Assistant Coach - Pole Vault
Former NCAA national champion Jacob Pauli returns to the UNI track and field program as an assistant coach, assisting primarily with the pole vaulters. Pauli took the UNI pole vaulting program to a new level at the 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships. Pauli still holds the indoor (18-7.75) and outdoor (18-6.50) school records in the pole vault.
"I am very pleased Jacob decided to be part of our staff again this season," head coach Dan Steele said. "It is great for our vaulters to be able to see how world class athletes train."
Along with claiming a national title, Pauli was a six-time NCAA All-American (three indoor citations and three outdoor citations) and a Drake Relays pole vault champion.
"I love working with the UNI kids," Pauli said. "I also really like Dan's (Steele) vision and am excited to be part of his staff."
Following his successful career at UNI, Pauli made an impact on the national scene, finishing fifth at the 2008 Olympic Trials and being selected as an alternate for the United States team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. As a member of the 2007 USA World Team, Pauli finished third at the outdoor USA Championships and fifth at the indoor USA Championships. Pauli also holds a Drake Relays crown as a professional pole vaulter.
Pauli and his wife, Nikki, a former UNI track and field athlete, have one son, Wil.
Assistant Coach - Throwing Events
Rachel Jansen returns for her second season assisting Dan O'Mara with the throwing events.
Jansen is the most-decorated female track and field athlete in UNI history, claiming three outdoor All-America honors and one indoor All-America citation in the shot put. She claimed fourth place in the shot put at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships and took fourth place again at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships for her highest finishes in the event.
On the conference level, Jansen owns seven individual Missouri Valley Conference championships. She helped lead the Panther women to the 2008 indoor and outdoor MVC team titles.
Jansen still owns the UNI school records in the indoor shot put, outdoor shot put, weight throw, hammer throw and discus.
Jaime Turilli Bill
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Bio Coming Soon!