Season’s First National Athletes of the Week Feature Fast Women’s Distance and Men’s Hurdles

Season’s First National Athletes of the Week Feature Fast Women’s Distance and Men’s Hurdles

NEW ORLEANS— Track is back. This weekend’s surprisingly spicy action gave us the first National Athletes of the Week for the 2014-15 track & field season. The weekly honors were announced Monday afternoon by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Three female distance runners were recognized for posting historically fast times, while three men who spend a good chunk of their events in the air won awards. Kyle Landon of Southern Illinois won the Division I men’s award; Sarah Disanza of Wisconsin won for DI women; Myles Hunter of Minnesota State won for DII men; Ewa Zaborowska of Harding won for DII women; Terrence Gibson of Worcester State won for DIII men; and Sarah Quinn of MIT won for DIII women. Each of them posted the #1 mark in the country for their respective event and division.

Click each of the student-athletes’ names above or keep scrolling below to read about the exploits that made all six worthy.

The awards will go on hiatus until January.

National Athlete of the Week is an award selected and presented by the USTFCCCA Communications Staff at the beginning of each week to six collegiate cross country athletes (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions).

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.

DIVISION I MEN – Kyle Landon, Southern Illinois

Sophomore | Chester, Illinois

Landing on his home mat, Landon cleared 2.20m (7-2.5) to post the top high jump mark of the weekend, and thus, in the nation so far. He tied his outdoor PB and beat last year’s indoor best by three centimeters. The sophomore also finished second in the long jump with a leap of 7.25m (23-9.5), which ties him with teammate Franklin Adams for the fourth best jump in the NCAA. While that LJ mark will take a serious tumble down the lists, only 12 jumpers beat 2.20m in the entire 2013-14 season. Landon’s year is off to a promising start.

Honorable mention: Matthias Tayala, Kent State

DIVISION I WOMEN – Sarah Disanza, Wisconsin

RS Freshman | Wantage, New Jersey

Electing to use their residual fitness from cross rather than resting, many of the nation’s best women took an early trip to Boston in search of fast times. Those came in spades, as Disanza and Providence’s Emily Sisson (a former Badger) ran the two fastest times ever by an American collegiate woman on a regulation-sized track. Check out the race video. Sisson and Disanza trade laps in the early going before Disanza takes over the pace in the second half, but Sisson sticks with her. They both throw down final kilometers under 3:00. Ultimately, Disanza wins in 15:20.57 and Sisson finishes seven tenths behind her.

Jenny Simpson ran 15:01 on an oversized track, and Kiwi Kim Smith (who trains under Providence coach Ray Treacy), Irishwoman Sonia O’Sullivan, and Kenyan Sally Kipyego have run between 15:14 and 15:20. That’s the complete list of collegiate women who have ever run faster indoors than Disanza did this weekend. Not bad company to be in.

Honorable mention: Emily Sisson, Providence

DIVISION II MEN – Myles Hunter, Minnesota State

Sophomore | Conyers, Georgia

Running on his home track, Hunter blazed to a time of 7.76 seconds in the 60 meter hurdles, automatically qualifying for nationals. The sophomore ran 7.91 in the prelims to edge out his old PR by four hundredths of a second before destroying his old best (and the rest of the field–Hunter won by half a second) in the final. According to the USTFCCCA archives, only eight Division II men have broken 7.80 in the indoor hurdles since 1999, and two of them did it at altitude.

Hunter twice broke a decade-old school record and marked himself as one of the fastest DII hurdlers of the last decade. He’s off for a month before the MSU Alumni Open on his home track on January 10.

Honorable mention: Cole Phillips, Central Missouri

DIVISION II WOMEN – Ewa Zaborowska, Harding

Senior | Wejherowo, Poland

After only racing once during cross country season, Zaborowska showed that she’s going to be a serious national player this winter. Racing at the Birmingham Crossplex (the same track that will host NCAAs in March) on Friday night, the Polish senior broke her own school and conference records in the 3k, running 9:30.66 for the 15-second win and #1 time in DII. It would be the #2 time in Division I.

We can only locate one DII woman who’s run faster than Zaborowska in the last 30 years: Nancy Dietman of then-DII North Dakota State ran 9:30.34 in 1985. (Email us with any info) It’s certainly the fastest time in the last three years.

Honorable mention: Jennifer Foster, Ashland

DIVISION III MEN – Terrence Gibson, Worcester State

Senior | Rockland, Massachusetts

Gibson is already the second fastest indoor hurdler in DIII history, so his incredibly impressive 8.01 60mH race from this weekend doesn’t impact the all-time list. If it did, it would be tie him for the eighth-best performer in DIII history. Gibson raced hard at the UMass Boston Indoor Opener this weekend; he did two rounds each of the 60 hurdles and flat 60, and finished his day with the 200.

His hurdles mark is #1 in the country, and 6.93 in the flat race is tied for second in DIII. Last winter, he finished second at NCAAs in the hurdles.

Honorable mention: Kevin Wagner, St. Scholastica

DIVISION III WOMEN – Sarah Quinn, MIT

Junior | Watchung, New Jersey

Like Disanza and Sisson, Quinn made the trip to Boston University’s notoriously fast track ready to post a quick time early in the season. Her trip from about two miles down the road in Cambridge was just a little shorter. Quinn’s 9:42.74 won the race by six and a half seconds, and is just five seconds shy of the DIII all-time top ten. It’s the fastest time in DIII this winter and a new MIT school record. It’s also a huge PR for the sophomore, who came into the track season with a 9:56.01 career best in the 3k.

Honorable mention: Laura Pumphrey, WPI