Kynard, D’Agostino Claim National Athlete of the Week Awards for Mt. SAC Performances
NEW ORLEANS – A trio of distance runners, a pair of all-time great DII throwers and the victor of an epic high jump competition headline this week’s National Athlete of the Week awards, selected from one of the deepest pools of top-flight nominees seen this season.
Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino made a statement in her 2013 outdoor debut at Mt. SAC to claim the DI women’s award, while Kansas State’s Erik Kynard defeated former high jump world champion Jesse Williams at the same meet to claim the men’s honor.
Two Division II throws records were surpassed this weekend as McMurry’s Paul Davis took the collegiate — not just the DII — lead in the shot put and Grand Valley State’s Sam Lockhart earned the award for the second straight week with the all-time DII discus record.
A pair of distance runners earned the DIII awards as Jack Davies of Middlebury won the 3000 steeplechase at the Princeton Larry Ellis Invitational and St. Thomas (Minn.)’s Taylor Berg ran a pair of top-five DIII times at 5000 and 1500 meters.
Erik Kynard, Kansas State
Senior – High Jump
Kynard (Toledo, Ohio) turned in a world-class high jump performance against a world-class field at this weekend’s Mt. SAC Relays, taking down 2011 IAAF World Champ Jesse Williams and Canada’s Michael Mason with a world-leading clearance of 7-8 (2.34m). The two-time NCAA Champ and 2012 Olympic silver medalist looked as strong as ever, clearing his first five heights on the first attempt before jumping 7-8 on his third attempt. Williams and Mason made it only as far as 7-7 (2.31m). He matched his career-best mark with the performance, which also stands as the school record and the No. 5 in-season clearance in outdoor collegiate history.
Isiah Young, Ole Miss – Won the 100 (10.09) and 200 (20.39) and ran legs of the winning 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams at the Mississippi Open.
Dentarius Locke, Florida State – Most Outstanding Performer of the ACC Championships, leading FSU to a team championship with wins at 100 meters in 10.12 and in the 4×100, in addition to a runner-up finish at 200 meters in 20.73.
Deon Lendore, Texas A&M – Won his 2013 outdoor debut at 400 meters in a collegiate-leading 45.00.
Elijah Greer, Oregon – Won the 800 in the Oregon-Arkansas dual in 1:46.20 — the fastest time ever recorded in a dual meet.
Michael Stigler, Kansas – Finished runner-up in the 400 hurdles invitational section in a collegiate-leading 49.42 against a slew of former Olympians and a world champion.
Division I Women
Abbey D’Agostino, Dartmouth
Junior – Distance
Expectations in the 2013 outdoor season are high for D’Agostino (Toppsfield, Mass.), who currently holds both the indoor and outdoor NCAA 5000 meter titles, and she didn’t disappoint in her outdoor debut. D’Agostino led most of the way at Mt. SAC en route to a 15:11.35, making her the No. 3 in-season collegiate performer all-time. The junior maintained a steady pace throughout much of the race to pull away from a field that included Neely Spence, the top American finisher at the recent IAAF World Cross Country Championships, for a nearly 10 second victory.
English Gardner, Oregon – Won the 100 meters invitational elite section at the Mt. SAC Relays in 11.00 — the fastest collegiate time of 2013 and No. 7 on the all-time in-season collegiate list. She is now the sixth-fastest in-season collegian of all time.
Natoya Goule, LSU – Broke the 800 meters LSU school record for the third consecutive race with a 2:00.76 at the LSU Alumni Gold meet. Her mark is the current world-leader and No. 10 on the all-time collegiate in-season list.
Brianna Bain, Stanford – Won the javelin with a throw of 183-10 (56.03m) at the 119th Big Meet dual between Stanford and Cal. The mark is the collegiate leader and No. 2 among Americans this season.
Division II Men
Paul Davis, McMurry
Junior – Throws
Competing in the inaugural Heartland/McMurry Invitational, Davis (Lubbock, Texas) made sure the meet was one for the record books, winning the shot put with a collegiate-leading throw of 67-4½ (20.53m). The mark surpasses the existing Division II record of 66-1 (20.14m) by more than a foot, and is the 2013 collegiate leader by nearly four inches over Ryan Crouser of Texas at 67-½ (20.43m). The mark is a career-best for Davis by nearly 3½ feet, surpassing his previous best of 63-10¼ (19.46m). This is the fourth time he has broken the McMurry shot put record this season.
Jeffrey Henderson, Stillman – SIAC Champ in the 100 (10.25), 200 (20.87) and long jump (23-4/7.11m)
Gabriel Proctor, Western State – Won the 10,000 elite invitational section at the Mt. SAC Relays in 28:58.92
Cody Parker, Alaska Anchorage – Won the javelin at the Beach Invitational in 234-4 (71.43m), the No. 7 mark in DII history.
Justin Balczak, Lake Superior State – Scored a DII-leading 7,282 at the Mt. SAC Relays decathlon.
Division II Women
Sam Lockhart, Grand Valley State
Senior – Throws
It’s not often a student-athlete wins National Athlete of the Week two weeks in a row, but Lockhart (Lansing, Mich.) could not be overlooked after setting the DII record in the discus with a mark of 192-9 (58.75m) at the GVSU Al Owens Classic — in sub-35 degree weather, no less. She moved into second all-time with an opening mark of 190-2 (57-97m) on her first throw before claiming the all-time record on the third throw. She also threw another at 187-9 (57.23m). She is currently No. 3 in the country among all collegians, and is one of just three who have surpassed 190 feet. She also won the shot put and finished third in the hammer throw.
Alicia Nelson, Adams State – Won the 3000 steeplechase elite invitational section at the Mt. SAC Relays in 10:03.70, No. 2 in DII history.
Vashti Thomas, Academy of Art – Finished runner-up in the 100 hurdles elite invitational section at the Mt. SAC Relays in 12.56w (+2.7m/s), fourth at 200 meters invitational elite (23.33), and ran legs of the winning 100 shuttle hurdle relay (54.04) and 4×100 elite (44.84m).
Helen Crofts, Simon-Fraser – Finished sixth in the 800 elite invitational at the Mt. SAC Relays in 2:04.53, the No. 6 time in DII history.
Danielle Williams, Johnson C. Smith – Won the 100 (11.43) and 200 (23.56), ran a leg of the winning 4×100 and finished runner up in the 100 hurdles (13.65) en route to leading her team to a CIAA Championship.
Susan Tanui, Alaska Anchorage – Finished sixth in the 10,000 elite invitational at the Mt. SAC Relays in 34:19.08.
Division III Men
Jack Davies, Middlebury
Senior – Distance
Davies (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) won the Princeton Larry Ellis Invitational 3000 steeplechase, primarily against DI and DII competition, in 8:52.12 — the 10th fastest time in Division III history. His time is a new school record at Middlebury and a 2½ second improvement over his previous career best that earned him runner-up honors at the NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships. He won this weekend’s race by nearly seven seconds en route to the 21st fastest time among all collegians this season.
Josh Winder, North Central – Became the first DIII pole vaulter over 17 feet this outdoor season with a mark of 17-¾ at the Don Church Wheaton Twilight, giving him a lead of nearly a foot over his nearest DIII competition.
Eli Horton, Central (Iowa) – Ran a DIII-leading 14:12.40 over 5000 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays en route to the second-fastest time in the open division.
Division III Women
Taylor Berg, St. Thomas (Minn.)
Senior – Distance
Berg (Eagan, Minn.) travelled from chilly Minnesota to the sunshine of California for the Mt. SAC Relays and came back with a pair of blazing times, including the DIII-leading 5000 time of 16:34.51 and the No. 5 1500 time at 4:28.49. Having never before competed at 5000 meters in an outdoor track & field setting, Berg won her section of the event against a field of 35 DI and DII student-athletes to claim the win. She ran with the pack through 4600 meters before pulling away for the win on the final lap with a 65.7 split. The day before she finished second at 1500 meters — again against all DI and DII competition — with a strong second half of the race to set a new school record.
Christy Cazzola, UW-Oshkosh – Ran the second-fastest DIII time at 1500 meters in 4:18.22, finishing 14th in the elite invitational section at the Mt. SAC Relays.
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.