U.S. Indoor Champ, DIII Record Holders Among National Athletes of the Week

Courtesy: Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

March 4, 2013   

NEW ORLEANS – For student-athletes and teams around the nation, this pastweekend was all about one thing: making sure they get into the DI and DIII NCAA Championships. This week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) National Athletes of the Week did that and so much more.

DI was headlined by a U.S. Indoor Champion and a top-ten all-time collegiate pole vaulter in Mississippi State’s D’Angelo Cherry and Arkansas’ Sandi Morris, respectively.

Two winners with Division III records split the DIII women’s award in Ramapo pole vaulter Michelle Favre and the Middlebury distance medley relay team. Justin Turner of Gwynedd Mercy earned the DIII men’s award after becoming the first in the division to clear 7-0 in the high jump this season.

The Award Winners

DI Men – D’Angelo Cherry, Mississippi State (Senior)

Though it may not have counted for NCAA Championships qualifying, Cherry (Jonesboro, Ga.) won the U.S. Indoor title at 60 meters in a 2013 collegiate-best 6.49 at the USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. The time is the sixth-fastest in collegiate history, and it places him fourth on the all-time collegiate performer list. Cherry’s time marks the fastest by a collegian since Leonard Scott of Tennessee clocked a 6.48 at the SEC Championships in 2001.

Honorable Mention:
Austin Mudd, Wisconsin
Leoman Momoh, Arkansas

DI Women – Sandi Morris, Arkansas (Junior)

Morris (Greenville, S.C.) vaulted from the middle of the NCAA qualifying field in the pole vault to No. 3 with her career-best clearance of 14-6¼ (4.43m) at the Arkansas Qualifier. The mark not only puts her near the top of the 2013 NCAA qualifying field, but also among the best pole vaulters in collegiate history; she enters championship weekend in a tie for 10th on the all-time list with Kansas’ Natalia Bartnovskaya. Morris is part of a quartet of 2013 vaulters who are all ranked among the top 10 performers in collegiate history.

Honorable Mention:
Michigan Distance Medley Relay Team
Rebecca Tracy, Notre Dame
Brittany Funk, Akron

DIII Men – Justin Turner, Gwynedd Mercy (Senior)

Turner (Marlton, N.J.) became the first DIII high jumper this season to break the seven-foot barrier, clearing 7-¼ (2.14m) at the ECAC DIII Championships. The mark places him just outside the all-time DIII top 10 in the indoor high jump . The mark is a PR for Turner, both indoors and outdoors, surpassing his previous best of 6-10¼ (2.09m) in 2012.

Honorable Mention:
Robert Willett, Birmingham-Southern
Bryan Marsh, Wesleyan

DIII Women #1 – Michelle Favre, Ramapo (Junior)

Favre (Saddle Brook, N.J.) this weekend became the latest DIII student-athlete to break an all-time DIII indoor record, claiming the indoor pole vault record by a ½ inch with a clearance of 13-9¾ (4.21m) at the ECAC DIII Championships. The career-best by 2½ inches surpassed Catherine Street of Linfield’s 13-9¼ (4.20m) record set a year ago, and she now ranks third in comprehensive DIII history in the event. She currently ranks 24th among all collegians.

DIII Women #2 – Middlebury Distance Medley Relay Team

Finishing runner-up in the DMR at the NEICAAA Championships in a DIII-record 11:32.54, the Middlebury DMR team emerged first among DIII teams in arguably the fastest DMR race in DIII history. The squad of Sarah O’Brien, Alexandra Morris, Juliet Ryan-Davis and Addie Tousley edged out runner-up MIT by a little less than two seconds – and MIT ran the second-fastest time in DIII DMR history. Finishing third was Amherst in 11:39.51, the sixth-fastest time in DIII history. The Middlebury squad very nearly defeated a team from Providence that ran 11:30.75, and the Panthers became the 41st-fastest team in the collegiate ranks this season, regardless of division.

Honorable Mention:
Ashante Little, Wheaton (Mass.)
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.