Record-Breaking Rollins Headlines First USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week Awards
NEW ORLEANS – Brianna Rollins of No. 1 Clemson, the new collegiate record holder in the 60 hurdles, highlights the inaugural six winners of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Week Award, announced Monday afternoon.
With her blistering 7.78 at Clemson’s Tiger Challenge, Rollins’ performance was the most exceptional among the outstanding performances turned in by all six award winners. She joins men’s winner Casimir Loxsom of Penn State as the Division I representatives.
Representing Division II are jumpers Johnny Carter of the Academy of Art and Angelo State’s Kearah Danvile, both of whom are not only DII leaders in their respective events, but also within the top five in all of the NCAA.
Division III’s awards go to Nick Baatz of UW-Oshkosh and his strong performances in both the shot put and the weight throw, and to Illinois Wesleyan’s Tara Clemens for her narrow runner-up finish in one of the most exciting 800 races of the season.
THE AWARD WINNERS
Division I Women – Brianna Rollins, Clemson (Junior)
Rollins (Miami, Fla.) posted the nation’s strongest performance –regardless of event, division or gender – of the young 2013 season when she blazed to a collegiate-record 7.78 in the 60 hurdles at Friday’s Tiger Challenge. She won the race by nearly half of a second over teammate and current DI No. 2 Jasmine Edgerson, dashing to the world’s 13th-fastest time in the event all-time. With two previous marks of 7.93, Rollins now owns three of the top 10 performances in collegiate women’s 60 hurdles history.
Honorable mention: Abbey D’Agostino, Dartmouth; Kelsey Margey, Villanova; LaQue Moen-Davis, Texas A&M
Division I Men – Casimir Loxsom, Penn State (Senior)
Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) sprinted to first sub-1:47 effort in the 800 meters on a non-oversized track since 2006 when he clocked a 1:46.98 to win the event at the Nittany Lion Challenge on Saturday. The time broke the indoor school record of 1:47.32 held by Ryan Foster since 2010 and his own facility record from 2011, 1:47.36. The collegiate leader’s performance puts him 10th among American collegians in collegiate indoor history.
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Honorable mention: Shawn Barber, Akron; Joe Morris, Colorado; Torian Ware, Clemson; James White, Nebraska
Division II Women – Kearah Danville, Angelo State (Junior)
Not only did Danville (Kingston, Jamaica) win the triple jump at the Texas Tech Open on Saturday by more than three-and-a-half feet with a mark of 41-11¼ (12.78m), she also surpassed the NCAA Division II Championships automatic qualifying mark. Her jump currently leads all of DII by a foot-and-a-half, and is the fifth-best jump in the nation, regardless of division. All three of her jumps during the meet exceeded the NCAA Division II auto-qualifying mark.
Division II Men – Johnny Carter, Academy of Art (Freshman)
Carter, a freshman from Bakersfield, Calif., made the most of his collegiate debut at Friday’s UAB Blazer Invitational by setting DII-leading marks in both the triple jump and the long jump, and reaching the DII auto-qualifying mark in the triple jump. His mark of 50-9¼ (15.47m) stands as a new school record and the fifth-best mark in the nation this season, regardless of division. His 24-7 (7.49m) in the long jump is the second-best in school history and the eighth-best among all collegians this season.
Honorable mention: Andrew Etheridge, Emporia State; Akino Ming, Johnson C. Smith University
Division III Women – Tara Clemens, Illinois Wesleyan (Senior)
Clemens (Bloomington, Ill.) finished runner-up in a tight and exciting 800 meters at the Rose-Hulman Terre Haute Double Dual on Saturday, running a DIII-leading and school-record time of 2:10.48. She led for all but the final stride of the race, when Indiana State’s Leeann Michl edged her with a time of 2:10.34. With her time from this weekend, Clemens is ranked fifth among collegians of all divisions in the 800. Her time is nearly six seconds faster than the next-best DIII time.
Honorable mention: Michelle Favre, Ramapo
Division III Men – Nick Baatz, UW-Oshkosh (Senior)
Baatz (Brownsville, Wis.) recorded an impressive season-opener at the Wisconsin Badger Classic on Saturday, winning the shot put with a DIII-leading and school-record mark of 60-½ (18.30m) and taking third in the weight throw with a distance of 62-8 (19.10m), the second-best in DIII so far this season. His mark in the shot put is the sixth-best among all NCAA student-athletes, regardless of division. The next-closest competitor in the shot put was more than five-and-a-half feet behind Baatz.
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.