Peter Dalton enters his seventh season as the King University men's and women's cross country coach. Dalton led the first-ever King University team to an NCAA national championship appearance and also secured the University's first-ever NCAA Regional championship. In addition, he has played a major role in rewriting the Tornado track & field and cross country record books while maintaining a high level of academic excellence among his student-athletes.
The King cross country teams didn't slow down in 2013 as the women won their second straight Conference Carolinas title with Hannah Witt winning the individual title. Dalton was also named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year for the second straight season. Witt went on to win the NCAA Southeast Regional and finished 50th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Witt was named both Conference Carolinas and Southeast Region Runner of the Year. On the other side, the men's team finished second at both the Conference Carolinas Championships and the NCAA Southeast Regional to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the second straight year. At the NCAA Championships, the Tornado finished in 29th place.
The success of the King's cross country and track and field teams continued to reach new heights in 2012-13. The women's cross county, indoor and outdoor track and field teams all won Conference Carolinas championships while the men's indoor track and field team took home a title. Dalton led the men's cross country team to their first NCAA Division II National Championhship appearance where the Tornado placed 27th after finishing third at the NCAA Southeast Regional. Three men's cross country runners were named All-Region while Jordan Noe earned Conference Carolinas Runner of the Year honors. On the women's side, Kendra Sokol earned All-Region honors while five member were named all-conference. Dalton was named Conference Carolinas Coach of they Year after guiding the women to their first conference title.
Dalton was again named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year in the spring, this time for men's track and field that saw the Tornado capture their first Conference Carolinas indoor championship. Seven members of the men's team earned all-conference and All-Region honors while the team won the Conference Carolinas Team Sportsmanship award. During the outdoor season, Jeremy Stamper was named Field Athlete of the Year on the men's side while Meagan Henry earned the same honor on the women's side. The women had five indoor individual conference champions and 20 all-conference performers with 12 earning All-Region accolades. The women also had 10 all-conference performers during the outdoor season.
Dalton set the bar high in his first season as head coach of the track and field team when the Tornado captured the institutions first-ever Division II Southeast Regional Championship as a first-year NCAA member in 2010.
During the team's first season eligible for NCAA postseason participation the women's cross country squad placed second in the Division II Southeast Regional Championships. Their success at the regional level earned the Tornado an automatic bid to the national championships, where they ran to a 22nd place finish. In addition to their success on the course, every member of the team was named a United States Track & Field / Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) Academic All-American. That year the team combined to earn the highest grade-point average (3.77) among all Division II teams.
In that same year, Dalton helped guide the men's cross country team to the best conference finish in program history and narrowly missed a trip to the National Championships, finishing third of 31 teams at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Cross Country Championships. Naseem Haje earned All-Region honors by setting a new school record in the 10,000 meters while topping a second all-time school mark in the 8,000-meter run.
Dalton also supervised the rewriting of the women's indoor and outdoor track & field record books from the one-mile to 5,000 meters.
King Track & Field displayed an astounding introduction to Conference Carolinas with both teams finishing at the top of the conference at the 2012 Outdoor Track and Field Championships and witnessing three of his athletes earn Player of Year honors. The men's track & field team claimed a runner-up finish behind defending Field Athlete of the Year, Rickey Bell, while the women took third behind reigning Freshman of the Year, Maegan Henry.
The men's team had highlight performances from Bell, who won two field events and set a new Conference Championship record in the discus throw. He joined Naseem Haje (10k) and Jordan Noe (3,000-meter steeplechase) as individual champions while the 4x100 relay team set a Conference Championship record in their victory. Overall, King's men garnered five first team all-conference and seven second team all-conference honors.
Maegan Henry stole the spotlight winning two field events and was named Freshman of the Year after setting a new school record in the hammer throw. Shelbie Burchfield hit the NCAA qualifying mark for the second time during the 2012 season en route to becoming Conference Champion in the women's high jump. Tia Keitt (long jump) and Hannah Witt (10k) also were crowned conference champions in their respective events, leading the Tornado toward a third place finish in the Conference Championships. The team was awarded for their success with four first team all-conference selections and three second team all-conference honors.
Under Dalton's guidance, the 2012 men's and women's track & field season (indoor and outdoor) featured 11 school records broken, 19 All-Conference honorees, and 53 named to the All-Southeast Region Team.
King's inaugural cross country season as members of Conference Carolinas asked the Tornado to challenge the top programs from the start. The men took home the runners-up while the women claimed a third place finish at the 2011 Conference Carolina Cross Country Championships.
Three male athletes were named to the men's all-conference team and while all scoring five harriers finished below the 26:30 time barrier. Naseem Haje, Spencer Frantom and Jordan Noe were named to the 2011 NCAA Division II Southeast Region team where the men's team just missed national qualifying by one position with a third place team finish.
The women mirrored the success of the men's team in the new conference with a third place finish and also placed three athletes on the all-conference list. The ladies then combined at the 2011 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championships for a fourth place team finish and had two named to the All-Region team.
Academically, the 2011 men's and women's cross country teams were both recognized by the USTFCCA and placed on the Scholar Team award list. Danielle Alfano was named the Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year by Conference Carolinas and was later recognized by King as its Female Student-Athlete of the Year.
Under Dalton's guidance, every member of the 2008 cross country squad set new personal records. The men's team rallied during the 2008 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Championships to secure the program's best finish at the championships with a runner-up performance.
From 2006-07, Dalton was the assistant cross country and track & field coach at Milligan College. During his time at Milligan the women's cross country team finished third at the 2007 NAIA National Cross Country Championships while the men's team took second at the 2007 NAIA Region XII Cross Country Championships.
Dalton holds a USATF Level 1 coaching course certification and also coached locally with Jim Presnell of the Elizabethton High School Boys cross country team that ran to victory at the Tennessee State Cross Country Championship.
Coaching runs in the Dalton family as his father was a seven-time Irish National team manager for the World Champions. Continuous involvement at the highest coaching levels worldwide has prepared Dalton with all the necessary knowledge, passion and love of the sport to help give back to those that wish to succeed. Dalton's coaching exposure began at an early age under the tutelage of Irish Olympians Noel Berkeley and Gerry McGrath. Both Olympic legends have scientifically studied the art of distance running at the highest level and that experience is the foundation of Coach Dalton's coaching philosophy. Dalton was also fortunate enough to experience first-hand the coaching theories of NCAA Hall of Fame Coach Dave Walker during his time as a student-athlete at East Tennessee State University.
Dalton received his bachelor's degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University where he was a four-year cross country and track and field athlete for the Buccaneers. Dalton, a two-year captain, led the Buccaneers to the inaugural Atlantic Sun Indoor Track and Field Conference Championships and to the highest Buccaneer Cross Country conference finish in 12 years. Dalton was named to numerous all-conference and all-academic team for both cross country and track and field during his time at ETSU and was also named the Buccaneers MVP for two consecutive seasons.
Before arriving at East Tennessee State University, Dalton competed eight times for his native Ireland. As part of the D.S.D. Athletic Club, Dalton and his teammates won a record-setting eight consecutive national team titles and went on to finish third at the European Junior Clubs Cross Country Championships. He rose to prominence when he captured Ireland's first ever international victory at the British and Irish Mountain Running Championships, and went on to secure a 21st place finish at the World Championships.