First Outdoor National Athletes of the Week Announced

First Outdoor National Athletes of the Week Announced

NEW ORLEANS – The focus of collegiate track & field has now turned to the young outdoor season, where a number of student-athletes showed mid-season form in garnering the first National Athlete of the Week awards of the outdoor season.

More Info: Previous Winners

Texas A&M throwers had quite the weekend in the desert at Arizona State’s Baldy Castillo Invitational, as javelin thrower Sam Humphreys and discus thrower Shelbi Vaughan claimed the male and female DI National Athlete of the Week honors, respectively, marking the first time a pair of teammates have claimed the award for both genders. Humphreys moved into the collegiate top 10 in the javelin with a heave of 267-1 (81-40m), while Vaughan made the most of her collegiate debut with six throws that surpassed the previous Aggie discus record, including a collegiate-leading 185-0 (56.40m).

Jumper Kearah Danville of Angelo State earned the women’s DII award after becoming not just the division leader but the collegiate leader in both the long jump and triple jump. She also won the award for the first week of the indoor season. Thrower Derrick Vicars of Findlay claimed the DII men’s award with the collegiate-leading shot put mark and DII-leading marks in the discus and hammer.

Beth Stam of George Fox not only posted the top DIII heptathlon score of the early season by about 250 points, but she also recorded the second-best javelin mark in DIII to claim the women’s award for the division. Bennett Naden of Claremont Mudd-Scripps ran away at 1500 meters to claim the division’s fastest time in the event by more than five seconds and the DIII male award.

The Award Winners

Division I Men – Sam Humphreys, Texas A&M (Senior)

Humphreys (Laredo, Texas) moved into the 10th spot in collegiate history in the javelin with an impressive 267-1 (81.40m) heave to open his season. The mark was a meet record by more than 11 feet and leads all collegians by nearly 20 feet. In addition to his winning throw, his series also included marks of 266-11 (81.37m), 265-0 (80.79m) and 262-9 (80.09m). The mark is just half a foot shy of his school-record mark of 268-7, which he set last summer en route to winning the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Honorable Mention:
Josh MacDonald, Liberty
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon

Division I Women – Shelbi Vaughan, Texas A&M (Freshman)

Vaughan (Mansfield, Texas) needed just one throw in the discus to rewrite the Texas A&M record books as her first collegiate attempt in the discus resulted in a school record and 2013 American-best 185-0 (56.39m) – which she improved by a centimeter to 56.40m later in the series – breaking the previous school-record mark of 176-10 (53.91m) from 2003 by more than eight feet.  Each of her six attempts could have broken the school record and given her the collegiate lead, which she currently holds by nearly nine feet. Her series included marks of 185-0 (56.39m), 177-1 (53.97m), 182-6 (55.64m), 185-0 (56.40m), 183-3 (55.85m) and 181-10 (55.44m). Vaughan was Track & Field News’ National High School Athlete of the Year and the Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year for Girls Track & Field last season, and she also plays outside hitter for the Aggies’ volleyball team.

Honorable Mention:
Nicole Oudenaarden, San Diego State

Division II Men – Derrick Vicars, Findlay (Senior)

Vicars (Genoa, Ohio) made a big early season statement in three different throwing events at the Wake Forest Open, winning both the discus and the hammer and finishing runner-up in the shot put. Though he finished runner-up in the shot put this week (62-1/18.92m), Vicars threw 63-9½ (19.44m) a week ago, which remains the top throw among all collegians so far this season. He followed that up this week with DII-leading marks in both the discus (181-7/55.36m) and hammer (194-7/59.30m). He won the discus by more than 15 feet, giving him the No. 10 mark among collegians, and he also ranks No. 12 among all collegians in the hammer.

Honorable Mention:
Franz Burghagen, Alaska Anchorage
Elhadji Mbow, Saint Augustine’s

Division II Women – Kearah Danville, Angelo State (Junior)

Danville (Kingston, Jamaica) finished the weekend as the all-divisions leader and DII Championships auto qualifier in two events following a collegiate-leading jump of 20-5 (6.22m) at the Cactus Cup at Texas A&M-Kingsville. She previously jumped a collegiate-leading 43-5 (13.23m) in the triple jump on March 1 at the UIW Cardinal Invitational prior to her title at the DII Indoor Championships. This past weekend she claimed both the long jump and triple jump (41-11½/12.79m). She is the only DII long jumper to surpass 20 feet so far this season, and she leads the triple jump by more than a foot-and-a-half.

Honorable Mention:
Danielle Williams, Johnson C. Smith

Division III Men – Bennett Naden, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps

Naden (Middleton, Wis.) had a career day at this weekend’s Occidental Distance Carnival, setting career-best marks at both 1500 and 5000 meters, including a DIII-leading time in the former. He ran a 3:50.92 over 1500 meters to finish seventh overall and first among DIII runners, g iving him the No. 19 time among all collegians. The next-fastest DIII runner in the race – who also happens to be No. 2 in the division – was about 5½ seconds back. Two-and-a-half hours later he was back on the track for a career-best 14:57.68 time at 5000 meters – an improvement of 34 seconds and the No. 9 time in the division this season.

Honorable Mention:
Luke Campbell, Salisbury
Demetrius Rooks, Rowan

Division III Women – Beth Stam, George Fox (Senior)

Stam (Siletz, Ore.) kicked off her 2013 outdoor campaign with a bang, posting the division’s best heptathlon score (4,815), which included the No. 2 javelin mark (145-2/44.24m) in the division this season. Her heptathlon win at the Boxer Combined Events was her best score in the heptathlon by nearly 300 points and included career-best marks in the 100 hurdles (16.05) and high jump (5-4½/1.64m). She also added a win in the shot put (42-4/12.90m).

Honorable Mention:
Janey Fugate, Washington & Lee
Kerry Wright, Whitworth


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.