Jenkins, Dendy, Scott, and Williams Voted Division I Indoor Athletes of the Year
NEW ORLEANS – Following the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Thursday the 2015 class of NCAA Division I National Athletes of the Year, as voted on by the coaches.
Eric Jenkins of Oregon and Dominique Scott of Arkansas were named the Men’s and Women’s Track Athletes of the Year, respectively, while Marquis Dendy of Florida and Kendell Williams of Georgia earned the Men’s and Women’s Field Athlete of the Year Awards.
Those four athletes combined for seven national titles in Fayetteville this past weekend.
Jenkins, a senior from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, claimed titles at both 3000 and 5000 meters – both events in which he finished the 2015 indoor season as the collegiate leader – to help his Ducks claim their second consecutive national team title. He won first at 5000 meters by just over a second against Arkansas’ Kemoy Campbell in 13:48.36, and followed that up the next night with a win at 3000 meters in 7:58.81 to spearhead a historic 1-2-3 sweep for Oregon in the event.
During the regular season, he ran the eighth-fastest 3000 meters in collegiate history in 7:44.91 to win the Millrose Games. He also ran the collegiate leader at 5000 meters in a 13:31.76 to win the Rod McCravy Memorial in January.
Jenkins was one of only two men to win multiple individual national titles this weekend. The other? Men’s Field Athlete of the Year Marquis Dendy.
The senior Gator horizontal jumper from Middletown, Delaware, became the first man since 2005 to sweep the indoor long jump and triple jump titles in the same NCAA Championships. He took the long jump Friday night in dramatic fashion, as his 27-2 (8.28m) leap was just one centimeter clear of runner-up Jarrion Lawson of Arkansas.
No one was even close to Dendy in Saturday’s triple jump, as the senior leapt a historic, world-leading 57-0 (17.37m) for the third-best jump in collegiate indoor history and the best since 1986. He won by more than half a meter over Donald Scott of Eastern Michigan.
Earlier in the season, he also swept the SEC long jump and triple jump titles.
Women’s Track Athlete of the Year Scott of Arkansas made history in several ways this weekend, most notably by winning at 3000 meters to tally the NCAA team title-clinching points and secure the first national team title in Arkansas women’s sports history.
The senior from Capetown, South Africa, ran 8:55.19 to beat Stanford’s Elise cranny by nearly four seconds, notching the ninth-fastest time in collegiate history and the fourth-fastest ever run at the NCAA Championships. The night prior she had run 4:28 on the 1600-meter anchor leg to pull away in the distance medley relay and come within less than two seconds of breaking the collegiate record in 10:51.89.
At the SEC Championships she won the mile – an event in which she finished the indoor season ranked No. 6 among collegians – and ran a leg of the winning DMR. Her regular season was highlighted by an 8:52.57 run at 3000 meters at the Washington Husky Classic to notch a share of the fifth-fastest all-conditions time in collegiate indoor history.
The most historic performance of all the National Athletes of the Year came from Women’s Field honoree Williams of Georgia. Just a sophomore from Marietta, Georgia, she won her second-straight NCAA pentathlon title with her second collegiate record – an impressive 4678 points to win by more than 100 points over 2013 champion and No. 2 all-time collegian Erica Bougard of Mississippi State.
That NCAA-winning, collegiate-record performance was her third pentathlon score of the 2015 season that ranked among the all-time top 10 collegiate scores list. She won the Rod McCravy Memorial event with 4609 points and took the SEC crown at 4519 points.
Williams was not only the top pentathlete, but she ranked among the top 10 collegians in a pair of open field events. At 21-5½ (6.54m) in the long jump she finished the indoor season No. 4 in the country, and her high jump clearance of 6-¾ (1.85m) ranked No. 10 among all collegians.