Cutter Bernhard, a graduate of Sam Houston State University, is beginning his sixth season with the Bearkat track and field program and his third year responsible for the combined events and vertical jumps.
Since Bernhard joined the Bearkat track and field program, his athletes have received six USTFCCCA Academic All-American honors, four Southland Conference Student-Athlete of the Year honors, one USTFCCCA Regional honor, two NCAA All-American performances, three NCAA Championship qualifiers, 18 NCAA West Preliminary Championship qualifiers, eight Southland Conference champions, 21 Southland All-Conference performers and 6 current SHSU School Records. Bernhard’s athletes have helped contribute to 12 Southland Conference Team Championships since his start with the program in 2014.
In 2018, the track and field program won the Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Conference Championships as well as the Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Conference Championships, a feat never accomplished in school history. Once again, Bernhard’s Bearkats played a vital role in the program’s dominance at the conference level providing four Southland Conference Champions, three Southland Conference runner-up performances and two Southland All-Conference performances as well as contributing 154 points.
The Indoor season was highlighted by Tyler Adams with dominate performances throughout the regular indoor season continuing into the NCAA Indoor National Championships held in College Station, Texas. Under Bernhard’s guidance, Adams broke records throughout the year including the men’s high jump school record (7 feet, 2 ½ inches), the men’s heptathlon school record (6,081 points – 7th best performance in the world) and the NCAA Indoor Heptathlon High Jump Meet Record (7 feet, 2 ½ inches). At the NCAA Indoor Championships Adams finished third in the men’s heptathlon, the highest finish for any Bearkat at a NCAA National Championship, as well as 10th in the men’s high jump. Adams was not the only Bearkat under Bernhard’s guidance to break school records during the year. In indoor, Courtney Lord broke the women’s pentathlon school record twice before settling on 3,781 points. During the Outdoor season, Lord also broke the women’s heptathlon school record (5,184 points), which was later to be broke by Baylee Lara scoring 5,213 points at the Outdoor Southland Conference Championships.
Once again Bernhard had Bearkats competing at the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round in Sacramento, CA including men’s and women’s pole vaulters (Garrett Larson, Ashton Summers, Clayton Fritsch & Maggie Lassalle), men’s and women’s high jumpers (Tyler Adams & Makenzie Smajstrla) as well as Adams in the men’s long jump. Fritsch qualified for the NCAA Outdoor National Championships held in Eugene, Ore. as just as freshman where he finished 19th in the men’s pole vault. Under Bernhard’s leadership, Adams was also named the Southland Conference Indoor Student-Athlete of the Year, Southland Conference Indoor Men’s Outstanding Field Event Performer and the Southland Conference Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Adams was awarded a regional accolade being named the USTFCCCA South Central Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year, first in program history.
In 2017, the track and field program elevated Bernhard to an associate track and field coach responsible for the combined events & vertical jumps. The men’s program won both Indoor and Outdoor Southland Conference Championships, as the women’s program won the Indoor Southland Conference Championship and was the runner-up at the Outdoor Southland Conference Championship. The Multi / Vertical Jumps group accounted for two Southland Conference Champions (Tyler Adams & Baylee Lara), five Southland Conference runner-up Performances (Kagan Angers, Baylee Lara, Tyler Adams, Morgan Heinrich and Hannah Callaway) and three Southland All-Conference Performances (Jay Roberson, Garrett Larson and Baylee Lara).
The year was highlighted by freshman standout Baylee Lara, showing her dominance in the Heptathlon and 100m hurdles as well as junior Tyler Adams continuing his dominance at the Indoor Southland Conference Championships winning the Men’s Heptathlon and being runner-up in the Men’s High Jump. The pole vault group continued leaving their mark with Hannah Callaway jumping 13 feet, 3 ½ inches claiming the women’s indoor school record. For the fourth straight year Bernhard mentored the Bearkat pole vault group into post season competition including Ashton Summers, Bailey Henderson, Jay Roberson and Hannah Callaway. Under Bernhard’s guidance, Tyler Adams was named the Southland Conference Indoor Student-Athlete of the Year as well as the Southland Conference Indoor Outstanding Field Event Performer and Baylee Lara was named the Southland Conference Outdoor Freshman of the Year.
In 2016, Bernhard enters his second year as the graduate assistant, coaching the Men’s and Women’s Pole Vault Group. The women’s program won both Indoor and Outdoor Southland Conference Championships, as the men’s program was runner-up at the Indoor Southland Conference Championships and won the Outdoor Southland Conference Championship. The pole vault group continued to play a vital role in the success of the team totaling 48 points scored at conference championships with two Southland Conference Runner-Ups and three Southland All-Conference performances.
Garrett Larson had an outstanding year breaking the indoor school record three times during the season finally setting it at 17 feet, 8 ½ inches at the Houston Invitational and Multi. During the outdoor season Larson had four competitions jumping 17 feet, 4 ¾ inches or better winning the Mt. SAC B section of the pole vault with a jump of 17 feet, 6 ¾ inches moving him into the top 5 in school history. Bernhard directed two Bearkats (Garrett Larson & Ashley Thompson) to the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round held in Lawrence, Kan.
In 2015, both the men and women’s programs took runner-up at the Indoor and Outdoor Southland Conference Championships. Under the direction of Bernhard, the Bearkat men and women captured indoor school records in both men’s and women’s pole vault including Kara Whitson (13 feet, 2 ¼ inches) and Jay Roberson (17 feet, 4 ½ inches). During the 2015 Outdoor season, Kara Whitson was the Southland Conference Runner-Up with a jump of 13 feet, 8 ¼ inches putting her 2nd on the all-time list. Bernhard guided three Bearkats (Kara Whitson, Garrett Larson & Jay Roberson) to the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round. Under Bernhard’s guidance, Kara Whitson was named the Southland Conference Indoor Student-Athlete of the Year as well as the Southland Conference Outdoor Student-Athlete of the Year.
As a volunteer coach in 2014, the Bearkat women claimed the Southland Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championship, securing a league title for the first time since 2008, while the men took runner-up at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships. Bernhard’s pole vault group contributed two conference champions (Katelyn Wynn & Kara Whitson) as well as a conference runner-up (Kara Whitson) plus an additional 30 points to the Southland Conference Championships. Bernhard mentored Bearkat pole-vaulters into post-season competition including Kara Whitson and Jay Roberson to their first NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round appearances as well as Garrett Larson to the USATF Junior Championships held in Eugene, Ore.
As a member of the Bearkats track and field team, he registered five top-10 finishes at the Southland Conference Championships. As a senior in 2012, he placed sixth at the Outdoor SLC Championships jumping 16 feet, ¾ inches. During his career, Bernhard served as a team captain for three seasons and a member of the Student Athlete Advisement Committee for three years.