Historic Performances All Around for National Athletes of the Week

Historic Performances All Around for National Athletes of the Week

NEW ORLEANS –  The women’s collegiate pole vault record may not have fallen for the third weekend in a row, but that didn’t stop a female pole vaulter from claiming National Athlete of the Week from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the Association announced Tuesday.

It certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying that the collegiate record didn’t fall to NCAA Division I women’s National Athlete of the Week Sandi Morris of Arkansas. The Razorback recorded the all-time best non-altitude jump by a collegian en route to three close attempts at the collegiate record – one centimeter higher than the current mark.

Joining her as the NCAA Division I men’s honoree Najee Glass of Florida, who won the season’s top 400-meter race of the season and moved into the top 10 all-time American collegians.

The women’s collegiate pole vault record was safe for at least one week, but that didn’t mean all records were safe. One centimeter was also the margin by which the NCAA DII women’s honoree Shanice McPherson of New Mexico Highlands surpassed the best all-time long jump mark in the USTFCCCA records. She was joined by men’s honoree Seun Ogunmodede of Colorado Mines.

NCAA Division III was represented by a pair of historic distance performers in men’s winner Charlie Marquardt of Haverford and women’s honoree Amy Regan of Stevens.

Taking the NJCAA awards this week were Jereem Richards of South Plains and Kelsey Shannon of New Mexico Junior College.

National Athlete of the Week is an award selected and presented by the USTFCCCA Communications Staff at the beginning of each week to eight (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions, plus the NJCAA) collegiate track & field athletes.

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.

NCAA DIVISION I MEN – Najee Glass, Florida

Junior | Woodbridge, New Jersey

In the season’s best 400-meter race of the season to this point, it wasn’t reigning national runner-up Vernon Norwood of LSU or two-time first-team All-American Christopher Giesting of Notre Dame who took the win. It was Florida’s Najee Glass, and he did so in spectacular fashion.

The junior ran a blazing 45.34 in a wire-to-wire performance to take down Norwood and Giesting in a race that produced five of the season’s seven fastest times. A lifetime career-best by more than a tenth of a second, Glass’ two-lap effort around the Randal Tyson Track Center put him within .01 of the all-time collegiate top 10 performers list, and at No. 7 on the list of American collegians.

Watch it here:

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Sandi Morris, Arkansas

Senior | Greenville, South Carolina

For the first time this season, Sandi Morris was second in line behind collegiate pole vault record holder Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin in the seemingly weekly queue to break said collegiate record. She made the most of it, clearing a career-best height of 15-3 (4.65m) on her first attempt and taking three very strong attempts at a new collegiate record of 4.76m.

With that clearance, Morris achieved the best-ever height by a collegian while not competing at altitude and the second-best overall in collegiate history. It is also the best clearance in collegiate history that did not result in a collegiate record.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Seun Ogunmodede, Colorado Mines

Senior | Castle Rock, Colorado

Already the NCAA Division II leader in the long jump, Seun Ogunmodede showed his prowess in not only the long jump, but also the triple jump and the high jump with a trio of wins at the CSM Division II Invite. He took his signature long jump event with a leap of 24-4¼ (7.42m) – better than all but two other DII athletes this year. He also claimed the high jump in a tiebreak with a near-career-best height of 6-10¼ (2.09m) and won the triple jumpat 47-4½ (14.44m).

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Shanice McPherson, New Mexico Highlands

Sophomore | Manchester, Jamaica

The USTFCCCA all-time records for NCAA Division II indoor Track & Field are incomplete, but the best mark in the database at the present is the 21-3¼ (6.48m) posted by Academy of Art’s Vashti Thomas in 2013. It is now one centimeter better, courtesy of Shanice McPherson’s 21-3½ (6.49m) at the CSM Division II Invite.

Sitting in third place entering her fifth attempt, McPherson catapulted herself into the pit with her all-time jump to take the lead by more than a foot. She now ranks No. 2 among all collegians in 2015.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Charlie Marquardt, Haverford

Junior | Pasadena, California

Not bad for his first time at 3000 meters in 2015. Racing at the Tufts Stampede, Charlie Marquardt destroyed the field by 20 seconds en route to a final time of 8:13.36 to move to No. 8 on the all-time NCAA Division III performers list. Not only was it an all-time great performance, it was also a significant personal best. He improved his career-best by five seconds from a year ago, a season that ended with an 11th-place NCAA finish in this event.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Amy Regan, Stevens

Junior | Green Brook, New Jersey

Picking where she left off in cross country season as the national champion, Amy Regan topped the mostly-Division I 5000-meters field at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in historic fashion. She ran 16:40.84 to defeat Missouri’s Kaitlyn Fischer by eight seconds, moving up to No. 5 on the all-time Division III performers list. The race was an 11-second indoor PR and a career-best overall by just a second.

Coincidentally, Francis Loeb of Johns Hopkins – the team champion at NCAA cross country – moved to No. 8 on the all-time list just two seconds behind on the same weekend.

NJCAA MEN – Jereem Richards, South Plains

Sophomore | Trinidad & Tobago

Even after adding about a tenth-of-a-second converting for altitude, Jereem Richards is far and away the NJCAA leader at 400 meters. Finishing a narrow runner-up by .01 of a second at the Texas Tech Masked Rider Open, Richards’ 46.49 (46.60 for altitude) is well clear of former National Athlete of the Week Stephan James of ASA College and his No. 2 time of 47.15.

NJCAA WOMEN – Kelsey Shannon, New Mexico Junior College

Freshman | Belleville, Illinois

Just two weekends ago, Kelsey Shannon cleared 5-3¼ (1.61m )in the high jump in her NMJC debut. This past weekend she took a share of the NJCAA lead in the event with a clearance of 5-9¼ (1.76m) en route to winning the Texas Tech Masked Rider Open. The woman with whom she shares the NJCAA lead? Defending indoor national champion Kaysee Pilgrim of Pima CC, who just last weekend achieved an identical career-best.

Watch her jump here: