National Athletes of the Week in Championship Form Early in 2014
NEW ORLEANS – Though the 2014 collegiate indoor track & field season is still very young, a slew of national contenders throughout all NCAA divisions showed they are already in championship form to earn National Athlete of the Week honors.
Prezel Hardy, Jr., of Texas A&M set collegiate leaders at both 60 and 200 meters to earn the Division I men’s award, while Dominique Scott of Arkansas posted the top mile and ran anchor on the fastest distance medley relay to help her Arkansas Razorbacks take down No. 1 Texas in a dual for Division I women’s honors.
Minnesota State’s Christopher Reed heaved his way into the all-time Division II shot put top-10 list for the DII men’s award, while Livingstone’s Quanera Hayes continued to stake her claim as the Division’s top 200/400 runer for the women’s award in DII.
Sean Enos of Bates earned the men’s award in Division III after taking the top spot on the shot put national descending order list, while Maggie Shelton of Johns Hopkins earned the women’s honor after taking down a Division I field over 800 meters at Maryland.
More information on each of the winners can be found below.
National Athletes of the Week are announced each Monday throughout the season, with male and female awards for all three NCAA Divisions. Nominations are open to the public and can be completed here.
Prezel Hardy, Jr., Texas A&M
Prezel Hardy, Jr., was ill throughout Saturday’s Texas A&M 10-Team Invitational, but that didn’t stop him from posting some sick nation-leading times at 60 and 200 meters in leading the No. 5 Aggies to a dominant team victory.
With a winning 6.56 in the 60 meters final, Hardy set not only a personal record but a Texas A&M school record, knocking off the previous mark of 6.59 set by Gerald Phiri four time between 2009 and 2011. The time ties him atop the national descending order list with Arizona State’s Ryan Milus. He also ran a 6.63q in the preliminaries.
His day didn’t end at 60 meters, as he won the meet’s 200 meters race in a nation-best 20.70 for a new indoor personal record and a tenth-of-a-second edge over Arman Hall of Florida on the national descending order list.
Chukwuebuka Enekwichi, Purdue – Last week’s National Athlete of the Week improved his collegiate-leading weight throw mark by nearly a meter to 76-5¾ (23.31m) and set a new shot put personal best 62-9½ (19.14m) in leading Purdue to a dual-meet win over rival Indiana.
Dominique Scott, Arkansas
Dominique Scott was a big part of the No. 7 Razorbacks’ dual-meet victory over No. 1 Texas, winning the mile in 2014 collegiate-leading fashion and then — quite literally — going the extra mile in anchoring the 1600-meter leg of the Razorbacks’ nation-leading distance medley relay team.
Coming in with an indoor mile PR of 4:44.78, Scott finished the day with a 4:38.49 win for the 2014 collegiate lead by more than two seconds over The Bowerman Watch List member Laura Roesler of Oregon. Her time is the fifth-fastest in school history.
Fewer than two hours later she took the baton on the final leg of the Razorbacks’ distance medley relay team, which finished in a collegiate-leading 11:25.58 — more than a minute faster than Texas’ squad.
Dezerea Bryant, Kentucky – Making her UK debut, Bryant toppled the Wildcats’ school records at 60 meters in a nation-leading 7.19 and at 200 meters in 23.04 for the nation’s second-fastest time.
Dani Bunch, Purdue – Honorable mention for the second consecutive weekend after improving her 2014 collegiate-leading weight throw mark by more than two feet with a winning mark of 73-4 (22.35m) and setting an indoor PR in the shot put with a winning mark of 55-6½ (16.93m) in a dual-meet victory over rival Indiana.
Christopher Reed, Minnesota State
Just three meets into his 2014 campaign, Reed has already surpassed the indoor marks that earned him national runner-up honors in the shot put and a fourth-place national finish in the weight throw at the 2013 NCAA Division II Indoor Championships.
He won the shot put at Minnesota’s Northwest Open Saturday with an indoor PR of 62-10 (19.15m) by nearly six feet over Division I competition, making him the seventh-best collegiate thrower in the nation — all divisions — in 2014 and the seventh-farthest thrower in Division II history. This marks the third consecutive meet in which he has posted a winning mark better than his 60-5 (18.41m) throw to finish runner-up at NCAAs last year — which was then a personal-best.
He also finished third at the Northwest Open in the weight throw with a personal-best mark of 64-10 (19.76m) to place him fourth on the Division II descending order list for 2014. The throw bettered his previous PR of 64-8½ (19.72m) set at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Carlton Lavong, Adams State – Posted the Division’s top marks in both the long jump at 25-¾ (7.64m) and the triple jump 50-11½ (15.53m) at the Adams State Open.
Nick Lebron, Southern Connecticut – Posted a 5496 heptathlon score at Rhode Island for the Division’s top heptathlon mark of 2014 and the fifth-best score in Division II history, giving him two of the top five all-time best scores in Division II history behind his No. 3 score.
Quanera Hayes, Livingstone
Already at the top of the Division II qualifying list for the indoor 400 meters, Quanera Hayes solidified her position as one of the Division’s top sprinters with a combined three wins at not one but two separate meets over the weekend and the top qualifying time at 200 meters.
Hayes’ weekend started at the slightly oversized track (280 meters) at Eastern Tennessee State Niswonger Invitational on Friday and Saturday, where she won the 200 in 23.99 and the 400 in 54.27. Her 400 meters performance is second among Division II times in 2014 only to her season debut. The times were adjusted for qualification purposes due to the track size.
On Sunday at the Winston-Salem Invitational in North Carolina, she posted the Division’s fastest qualifying time at 200 meters in 24.24 to win by nearly half a second.
Kristen Hixson, Grand Valley State – Vaulted 13-7¼ (4.15m) in her 2014 debut at the GVSU Mike Lints Open, equaling the mark that won her the 2012 NCAA DII outdoor title and surpassing her mark from her 2012 NCAA DII indoor title.
Sean Enos, Bates
Sean Enos won the shot put at the Bates College Indoor Invitational with a Division III-leading mark of 55-11 (17.04m) and continued a strong season in the weight throw with another win.
His mark in the shot put was good for second behind a thrower from Division I Maine and was more than eight feet clear of the next-closest Division III competitor. The toss was, however, far enough to vault him atop the Division III national descending order list in the event, 10 inches ahead of Colt Feltes of Wartburg.
Though his winning mark of 61-4¾ (18.71m) was just shy of his personal best from last weekend, it established him as the only man in DIII this year who has thrown farther than 61 feet at two separate meets. He is ranked No. 2 in the event.
Mike LeDuc, Connecticut College – Won the 3000 meters at the Tufts Invitational in a personal best 8:23.56 for the top spot on the Division III national qualifying list after conversion for track size.
Maggie Shelton, Johns Hopkins
In an 800 meters field at the Maryland Terrapin Invitational loaded with Division I runners, it was Maggie Shelton of Division III Johns Hopkins who emerged victorious.
Shelton crossed the line in 2:16.67 to win by nearly two seconds, breaking her indoor personal record for the event along the way. The time is not only an improvement of her former indoor PR of 1:17.42 set in mid-February last year, but also a six second improvement from just last weekend. She also ran a leg of the 4×400 relay team that finished seventh of 17 as the only DIII program in the race.
She is currently No. 2 on the Division III national qualifying list.
Ashante Little, Wheaton (Mass.) – Won the 60-meter hurdles at the Ramapo College Indoor Select in 8.85 after running 8.97 in the preliminaries, making her the only Division III sub-9 hurdler this season.
Emily Cousens, NYU – Won the 3000 meters at the NYU Saturday Night Shootout by 20 seconds in a Division III-leading 9:41.11, narrowly missing the all-time top 10 for Division III by just four seconds.