Lendore and Brooks Highlight USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week Awards
NEW ORLEANS – Numerous collegiate- and division-leading marks and times – including some historic all-time top 10 marks – are among the second installment of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Week Awards.
Sprinter Deon Lendore of Texas A&M and Oklahoma thrower Tia Brooks earned the men’s and women’s awards, respectively, for Division I with their dominating performances this weekend.
Representing Division II are Grand Canyon sprinter Dario Horvat and Hillsdale pole vaulter Kayla Caldwell for their exceptional finishes over Division I competition.
Melissa Norville of Illinois College had a career-weekend in the hurdles and jumps to headline the DIII awards, while Marcus Smith of UW-Whitewater added to an impressive list of performances to claim the men’s DIII award.
THE AWARD WINNERS
Division I Men – Deon Lendore, Texas A&M (Sophomore)
Lendore (Arima, Trinidad & Tobago) sprinted to the fastest time at 400 meters in the world of the young 2013 season with a 45.91 at the Texas A&M Triangular on Saturday. The time is the first sub-46 of the collegiate season and Lendore now leads all collegians by more than three-quarters of a second. His effort is the fourth-best all-time in the world in the month of January. Lendore also anchored the 4×400 relay at the conclusion of the meet with a split of 45.90, bringing home an event win with a time of 3:07.21 and a meet win for the No. 4 Aggies over No. 1 Arkansas and No. 10 LSU by a score of 128.5 – 99 – 82.5.
Honorable mention: Anthony Rotich, UTEP; Erik Kynard, Kansas State; Andre Dorsey, Kennesaw State
Division I Women – Tia Brooks, Oklahoma (Senior)
The defending national champion in the indoor and outdoor shot put, Brooks (Grand Rapids, Mich.) has now won five straight shot put events as she dominated the shot put field at the J.D. Martin Invitational this weekend with a collegiate-leading mark of 61-6¾ (18.76m) to win the event by nearly 12½ feet, giving her the third-best mark in the world for 2013. Hers in the first collegiate throw farther than 60 feet this season, and she leads the country by more than four feet. Her non-winning throw of 57-9¾ still would have been enough to lead the country. The mark was both a J.D. Martin Invitational and Mosier track record.
Honorable mention: Octavious Freeman, UCF; Kimberlyn Duncan, LSU; Jillian King, Boston College
Division II Men – Dario Horvat, Grand Canyon (Freshman)
Horvat, a freshman from Croatia, claimed victory in the 60 meters at the New Mexico Cherry & Silver Invitational this weekend against DI and top DII competition with a time of 6.69. The mark, which adjusts to 6.71 for qualification purposes due to altitude, is the top mark in DII, making him one of just two men to have qualified automatically for the DII Indoor National Championships. With the conversion he is tied for 18th nationally between all divisions, and is the fourth-fastest freshman.
Honorable mention: Tabor Stevens, Adams State; Jordan Yamoah, TAMU-Kingsville
Division II Women – Kayla Caldwell, Hillsdale (Senior)
Caldwell (Tuscarawas, Ohio) not only won the women’s pole vault against DI competition at Indiana’s Gladstein Invitational, she won the competition by a foot with a tie for the second-best mark all-time in DII history and a school-record mark of 13-9¼ (14.20m), topping her own record. While her final competitors went out at 12-9½ (4.00m), Caldwell cleared the bar in one attempt. She raised the bar three more times before going out at 13-11¼ (4.25m). She is the top-ranked vaulter in DII by three inches and is tied for fifth in the country among all divisions. She has yet to finish a meet below 13-1½ (4.00m) this season.
Honorable mention: Danielle Williams, Johnson C. Smith; Barbara Szabo, Western State
Division III Men – Marcus Smith, UW-Whitewater (Senior)
Smith (West Allis, Wis.), who one week ago set the top triple jump mark in DIII at 49-7 (15.11m), followed up this weekend by tying the top DIII time in the 60 hurdles at 8.15 at the Karl Schlender Invitational. His time was just .02 away from tying the school record in the event.
Honorable mention: Dan Sullivan, UW-Stevens Point; Peter Geraghty, North Central (Ill.)
Division III Women – Melissa Norville, Illinois College (Senior)
Norville had a career-weekend for Illinois College at its home Snow Bird Open on Saturday, as she set DIII-leading marks in the 60 hurdles and the long jump, and posted DIII’s second-best triple jump. Her mark of 19-8 (5.99m) places her third on the all-time DIII indoor top-ten list, and her 8.71 in the 60 hurdles would have made her the seventh-best all-time in DIII history, if she didn’t already own the No. 5 spot (8.65). Her performance in the long jump is good for 20th among all divisions. She also turned in a strong showing in the triple jump with a mark of 39-10½.
Honorable mention: Tanasia Hoffler, Williams; Breanna Strupp, UW-Oshkosh
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ATHLETE OF THE WEEK AWARD
Awarded to six collegiate track and field and cross country athletes (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions) each Monday by the USTFCCCA office, the National Athlete of the Week Award will spotlight exceptional performances by student-athletes from around the nation.
Nominations are open to the public. Coaches and sports information directors are encouraged to nominate their student-athletes; as are student-athletes, their families and friends, and fans of their programs.
The award seeks to highlight not only the very best times, marks and scores on a week-to-week basis, but also performances that were significant on the national landscape and/or the latest in a series of strong outings. Quality of competition, suspenseful finishes and other factors will also play a role in the decision.
Nominations should provide qualitative detail to explain the noteworthiness of the student-athlete’s performance. The manner in which his or her event(s) was won or nearly won; any records (school, conference, collegiate, etc.) broken as a result; the national significance of the time, mark or score; and the credentials of the competition are all pertinent details for quality nominations.
Photos, videos and interviews are also encouraged.
Nominations, which can be competed here, are due each Monday by 12 p.m. EST, and winners will be announced by 4 p.m. EST.