NCAA & NJCAA National Athletes of the Week (April 19)
NEW ORLEANS — Some revisions had to be made to the collegiate track & field record books after the action this past weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays and various other meets.
Several of the National Athletes of the Week, that were announced Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), had a hand in making that happen.
Without further ado, here are the 10 athletes who stood out in NCAA and NJCAA track & field.
- NCAA Division I Men — Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, LSU
- NCAA Division I Women — Kaela Edwards, Oklahoma State
- NCAA Division II Men — Sydney Gidabuday, Adams State
- NCAA Division II Women — Carsyn Koch, Cedarville
- NCAA Division III Men — Luke Winder, North Central (Ill.)
- NCAA Division III Women — Amber Williams, UW-Platteville
- NJCAA Division I Men — Jah-Nhai Perinchief, Iowa Central
- NJCAA Division I Women — Leanne Pompeani, Iowa Central
- NJCAA Division III Men — Glenn Abbott, RC-Gloucester
- NJCAA Division III Women — Josephina Koomson, RC-Gloucester
Find out more about these athletes by either clicking their name or scrolling below.
National Athlete of the Week is an award selected and presented by the USTFCCCA Communications Staff at the beginning of each week to 10 collegiate outdoor track & field athletes (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions and both NJCAA 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.
Junior | Sprints
While most of the nation’s eyes were focused out west at the Mt. SAC Relays, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and his teammates stood out at the Texas Invitational.
Mitchell-Blake started the day with a huge career best of 10.09 in the 100 (His previous low mark was 10.42). That time of 10.09 also stands as the fastest wind-legal mark of the season since each of the three marks ahead of it were aided by winds of greater than 2.0 meters per second.
Later in the same meet, Mitchell-Blake joined forces with Tinashe Mutanga, Jaron Flournoy and Tremayne Acy to run the fastest 4×100 time of the season. The Tigers, with Mitchell-Blake anchoring, ran 38.95 to dust the field by a considerable margin.
Senior | Mid-Distance
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
While making her 2016 outdoor debut at the Mt. SAC Relays, Kaela Edwards also made a big statement. A day after running a career-best 4:17.07 over 1500 meters, the NCAA Indoor mile champion stepped back on the track at 800 meters and took down reigning indoor/outdoor national champion Raevyn Rogers of Oregon.
Edwards ran a career-best 2:01.97 to take second overall behind now-professional 2014 Bowerman Trophy winner Laura Roesler – nearly a second ahead of Rogers in 2:02.81.
Her time over two laps stands as the 2016 collegiate leader, while her performance at 1500 meters ranks No. 11.
Freshman | Distance
In a race featuring a “who’s who” of NCAA Division I All-Americans — including Pierce Murphy of Colorado, Mason Ferlic of Michigan, Patrick Corona of Air Force and Erik Peterson of Butler — it was Gidabuday who came out atop the field in Friday’s Mt. SAC Relays 5000.
The freshman ran 13:36.83 — the fourth-fastest time in NCAA DII history — to edge out Corona by less than half a second, with Ferlic and professional Abbabiya Simbassa also within just over a second behind. That time stands as the 2016 collegiate leader.
One day later on Saturday, he was back on the track at the Long Beach State Beach Invitational for a go at 1500 meters. He finished second there in a career-best 3:48.80.
Sophomore | Mid-Distance
If any doubt remained that NCAA DII indoor 800-meter national champ Carsyn Koch was the frontrunner for the national title outdoors, she officially eliminated it at the Mt. SAC Relays this weekend. Running in a separate section of the Invitational 800 from DI honoree Kaela Edwards, Koch blasted a career-best 2:03.58 to beat Oregon’s Annie Leblanc by a third of a second for the win.
That time is seventh among all collegians so far this season, and good for the third-fastest time in NCAA DII history. No DII woman had ever run sub-2:04 prior to the NCAA Championships — and still only four DII women (including Koch) have ever run faster than 2:04, period.
Sophomore | Pole Vault
Luke Winder made sure to cement his place among the best vaulters in DIII history this past weekend at the Don Church Twilight, hosted by Wheaton.
Already the owner of the fourth best vault in DIII history at 5.45 meters (17-10 ½), Winder improved on that by two inches and jumped two spots on the all-time chart to No. 2. Winder’s vault of 5.50m (18-½) came on his second attempt at the height.
The sophomore chose to raise the bar to 5.60m (18-4 ½) to go for the DIII record, but fouled on all three attempts.
Junior | Horizontal Jumps
Amber Williams had already been one of the top triple jumpers in DIII based on her leap two weeks ago at the Ashton May Invitational.
Williams added the long jump to that this past weekend and is now not only the best in the nation, but one of the best all-time.
At the UW-Platteville Invitational, Williams soared 6.08 meters (19-11 ¼) to win the competition going away. That mark also tied Williams for the ninth best leap in DIII history with Casey Taylor and Molly Urquhart. If you removed wind-aided marks that the DIII list includes, Williams moves up to sixth all-time.
Freshman | Jumps
Move over Trey Culver and Jeron Robinson: You have company.
Jah-Nhai Perinchief joined Culver and Robinson atop the collegiate leaderboard this past weekend in the high jump with his effort at the KT Woodman Classic hosted by Wichita State. Perinchief cleared 2.26 meters (7-5) on his second attempt at the height. That came after Perinchief went over the bar at 2.14m and 2.20m on his first.
Freshman | Distance
She’s back at it again.
Leanne Pompeani continued her incredible freshman year with an incredible run at the KT Woodman Classic this past weekend. Pompeani won the 10000 meters by more than 28 seconds in a time of 35:03.44.
That mark is also the fastest time in NJCAA DI this season by 2 minutes, 21 seconds.
Pompeani is also ranked No. 1 at 5000 meters (16:42.07) and fourth at 1500 (4:39.79).
Freshman | Hurdles
Deptford, New Jersey
Glenn Abbott made the Mason-Dixon Invitational count this past weekend.
Abbott raced to the top of the NJCAA DIII descending order list in the 110 hurdles and moved up to third on the 400 hurdles chart. His time in the 110 hurdles was 15.05, beating the runner-up by a healthy margin (15.77). Then Abbott clocked a 57.47 in the longer race, which narrowly missed another national lead.
Freshman | Sprints & Jumps
Pittsgrove, New Jersey
The Mason-Dixon Invitational was The Josephina Koomson Show.
Koomson recorded NJCAA DIII’s best triple jump (10.38m/34-0 ¾), the fourth best time in the 100 hurdles (16.21) and the 16th best mark at 100 meters (13.26). She owns the national lead in the triple jump by more than one foot.