National Athlete of the Week Awards Announced
NEW ORLEANS – The Texas Relays and Stanford Invitational did not disappoint as Meets of the Week, producing five of this week’s seven National Athletes of the Week, as named by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.
More Info: Previous Award Winners
Iowa State distance runner Betsy Saina and Clemson hurdler Brianna Rollins had historic weekends at Stanford and Texas, respectively, to claim co-honors for Division I women, while sprinter Ameer Webb of Texas A&M excelled in Austin to take the honor for Division I men.
Steeplechaser Alicia Nelson of Adams State kicked off her season in a big way at Stanford, while Remontay McClain of Azusa Pacific dashed to the fastest collegiate outdoor 200 of 2013 at the Cal-Nevada Championships to represent Division II.
The Division III awards went to John Crain of North Central (Ill.) for his 1500/10,000 double victory and Johns Hopkins’ Annie Monagle for impressive 1500 and 800 meter performances at Stanford.
The Award Winners
Division I Men – Ameer Webb, Texas A&M (Senior)
Webb (Tustin, Calif.) was named the Most Outstanding performer of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays as part of a trio of Texas A&M victories on Saturday at 100 meters and as a leg of both the 4×100 and 4×200 relays. He started the day by anchoring the 4×200 relay to a 1:20.78 for the win, and then led off the winning 4×100 team en route to a 38.64 – both collegiate leaders. For his final act he claimed a victory at 100 meters with a time of 10.14 (+1.6 m/s), the fastest wind-legal performance in the world for 2013. The two-time indoor 200 meter champ edged out LSU’s Aaron Ernest (10.18) to claim the victory.
Julius Wruck, UCLA – No. 6 all-time in-season collegiate mark in the discus at 216-7 (66.01m) at the Texas Relays
Sam Kendricks, Mississippi – First collegiate pole vaulter over 19 feet in 2013 with a clearance of 19-¾ (5.81m) at the Texas Relays. Makes him No. 5 in-season collegiate pole vaulter of all-time with the eighth-best mark.
Division I Women – Betsy Saina, Iowa State (Sr.) and Brianna Rollins, Clemson (Jr.)
Saina (Eldoret, Kenya), the 2012 cross country champion, made an early-season statement to collegiate and professional distance runners across the country with a 15:12.05 performance at 5000 meters at the Stanford Invitational. She finished runner-up to BRC/adidas professional Alisha Williams in a time that ranks fourth-fastest all-time among in-season collegiate performances, and eighth-best when non-season performances are included. Hers is the fastest in-season collegiate 5000 recorded since Colorado’s Jenny Barringer (Simpson) set the in-season collegiate record of 15:07.64 on the very same track in 2009, and the fastest overall collegiate 5k since former teammate Lisa Koll’s all-time collegate record 14:55.74 in 2010. The nearest collegiate competitor was Wichita State’s Alphine Tuliamuk-Bolton who herself clocked a blistering 15:18.86, good for the eighth-fastest in-season collegiate performance of all-time.
Rollins (Miami, Fla.) picked right back up where she left off at the end of her dominant indoor season, winning the Texas Relays 100m hurdles in an all-conditions world-leading 12.54w (+2.1 m/s), the No. 4 all-conditions in-season collegiate mark of all-time. Racing her first hurdles event of the 2013 outdoor season, she blazed past the No. 2 collegian this season in Academy of Art’s Vashti Thomas (12.70) and the No. 2 DI hurdler in Jasmin Stowers of LSU (12.88) to claim the title. No collegian has run as fast since 2010 Bowerman winner Queen Harrison of Virginia Tech ran a 12.46w at the 2010 Drake Relays. She has not been defeated in a hurdles race – prelim or final – in 10 races dating back to the beginning of the indoor season, including an NCAA title in the 60 hurdles and a collegiate 60 hurdles record.
Division II Men – Remontay McClain, Azusa Pacific (Sophomore)
McClain (Victorville, Calif.) obliterated the field in the 200 meters at the Cal-Nevada State Championships this past weekend, running a collegiate-best 20.71 (0.7 m/s) to defeate the nearest competitor by more than three-quarters of a second. His time ties him atop the collegiate leaderboard with DI National Athlete of the Week and two-time NCAA indoor 200 champ Ameer Webb of Texas A&M. His time is tied with Webb at No. 5 on the IAAF performance list for 2013 among wind-legal marks.
Kevin Batt – Finished third in section 1 of the 1500 at the Stanford Invitational in 3:42.78, giving him the No. 3 time among all collegians this season.
Baptitste Kerjean, Abilene Christian – Ranked No. 7 among all collegians in the hammer throw with a mark of 213-8 (65.13m) at the Texas Relays.
Brent Vogel, Central Missouri – Scored 7,274 in the decathlon, the best DII score and No. 9 collegiate score of the season, at the Bobcat Invitational.
Division II Women – Alicia Nelson, Adams State (Senior)
Nelson (Craig, Colo.), the 2011 NCAA DII 3000 steeplechase champion, began the quest to reclaim her title in a big way with a season-opening 10:09.62 at the Stanford Invitational – the third-fastest performance in DII history and the fourth-fastest among collegians this season. In her first race since claiming the NCAA DII indoor 3000 title, she finished fourth overall in a race that included collegiate-leading Rachel Sorna of Cornell and first among DII student-athletes. The 2012 cross country champ improved upon her previous career-best of 10:10.89, which had stood as the third-best time in DII history entering the race.
Vashti Thomas, Academy of Art – Finished runner-up to DI National Athlete of the Week Brianna Rollins in the 100 hurdles at the Texas Relay in 12.70w (2.1 m/s), and posted the fastest collegiate wind-legal mark of the season at 12.94 (1.8 m/s) in the prelims.
Division III Men – John Crain, North Central (Ill.) (Junior)
Crain (Dunlap, Ill.) opened up his outdoor campaign at North Central’s home-opening NCC First Chance Invitational with a 1500/10,000 double, winning both events. The indoor NCAA DIII 5000 runner-up claimed the 10,000 race in a DIII-leading 29:55.49 by more than half a minute over runner-up and teammate Roger Klein, who is No. 2 in the division this season. The time is a career best by a minute. He also claimed the 1500 in 3:57.28, earning him the fourth-fastest time in the division so far in 2013.
Division III Women – Annie Monagle, Johns Hopkins (Senior)
Monagle (Rumford, R.I.) defeated a field of DI runners from the Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC, among others, to claim the top spot in section six of the 1500 at the Stanford Invitational and the top time in the division at 4:25.49, in addition to the third-best time at 800 meters in a separate race. She claimed the 1500 race by just over a half second over Sarah Yingling of BYU and nearly three seconds over the third-place finisher, giving her both the Johns Hopkins and Centennial Conference records in the event. The following day she finished 10th overall in the 800 "B" section out of 40 runners – mostly DI – and first among DIII student-athletes in 2:12.54.
Melissa Norville, Illinois College – Posted DIII-leading marks in the 100 hurdles (14.19) and the long jump (19-2½/5.85m), and the No. 2 mark in the triple jump (39-8½/12.10m) at the Washington (Mo.) WUSTL Invitational.
Mary Mahoney, Mount Union – Posted the fastest DIII time at 400 meters (55.98) at the OAC East Split just one week after running a DIII-leading 24.28 at 200 meters at the Wake Forest Open.
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.