NCAA & NJCAA National Athletes of the Week (May 10)
NEW ORLEANS — What do you get when you mix eight national leaders with two division records and a whole lot of action? The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athletes of the Week.
This past weekend saw athletes begin to fight for conference and region bragging rights and it brought the best out of them. Here are those eight NCAA and NJCAA athletes who stood out the most from this past weekend’s happenings.
- NCAA Division I Men — Rudy Winkler, Cornell
- NCAA Division I Women — Hannah Carson, Texas Tech
- NCAA Division II Men — Tanner McNutt, Pittsburg State
- NCAA Division II Women — Emiliy Oren, Hillsdale
- NCAA Division III Men — Luke Winder, North Central (Ill.)
- NCAA Division III Women — Maya Weigel, Pomona-Pitzer
- NJCAA Division I Men — Jah-Nhai Perinchief, Iowa Central
- NJCAA Division I Women — Varvara Klyuchnikova, Vincennes
Find out more about these athletes by clicking their names 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 | Throws
Sand Lake, New York
Rudy Winkler didn’t need the finals to prove he was the best hammer thrower in the Ivy League.
Winkler only required one throw — his first one, at that — but added two more huge ones to make his point.
On his first attempt, Winkler established a mark that no other thrower would touch. On his second, Winker nearly cracked the 75-meter barrier and on the third, well, he did just that.
Winkler’s third throw was a massive heave of 75.10 meters (246-5) and took over the national lead. This was the first time in his career that he surpassed 75 meters and it bettered his personal best by nearly nine feet (2.74m).
Senior | Throws
Doing something never before been done in collegiate history is a good strategy to win National Athlete of the Week honors, and that’s what precisely what Hannah Carson of Texas Tech did this weekend.
Already the national leader in the javelin at 60.42m (198-3) from two weeks ago, Carson heaved the discus 61.97m (203-4) at her home Texas Tech Masked Rider Open to move to No. 2 nationally in that event.
More importantly, the throw — which came on her sixth and final attempt — made her the first woman in college history to break the 60-meter barrier both in the javelin and the discus in the same NCAA career, let alone the same season.
She entered the weekend with a career-best of 54.98m (180-4) from a year ago. This weekend she surpassed that four times — her historic winning throw and marks of 57.56m (188-10), 58.30m (191-3), and 55.79m (183-0) — and came within two centimeters of it on a fifth attempt.
Carson also took her signature javelin event with a mark of 54.48m (178-9).
Sophomore | Combined Events
Tanner McNutt was a busy man at this weekend’s MIAA Championships. Between all the components of the decathlon event he won and individual/relay events, he was in competition 14 total times of the weekend — and he made the most of the opportunities.
He improved his career-best decathlon score by more than 300 points with a winning total of 7,315 — good for the 2016 NCAA DII national lead. Along the way he racked up career-bests in the 100, the 110-meter hurdles, the high jump, and the discus; and season’s bests in the 400, pole vault and shot put.
Beyond the decathlon, he ran legs of the Gorillas’ third-place 4×100 relay and their fourth-place 4×400 relay, and added another point with an eighth-place effort in the long jump with an all-conditions season-best of 7.09mw (23-3¼).
Senior | Distance
No one in the history of NCAA Division II track & field has any woman run the 3000-meter steeplechase faster than did Emily Oren at this weekend’s GLIAC Championships. The reigning NCAA Champ navigated the barriers and water pits in 9:50.54, taking the title over her sister Molly by 31 seconds and extending her national lead over Molly to nearly 24 seconds.
She bettered the previous record of 9:53.85 — set by Betsy Graney of GLIAC rival Grand Valley State in 2012 — by more than three seconds for her third career sub-10:00 performance, more than anyone else in DII history. It is her second such effort this season, matching Alicia Nelson of Adams State (2014) for the most in one season. Dating back to last season, Oren now owns five of the nine fastest times in DII history.
For good measure, she added 10 more points with a win over 5000 meters in 16:48.66 by nearly 14 seconds over reigning national 10,000-meter champion Amy Cymerman of Grand Valley State.
Sophomore | Pole Vault
Sorry, big brother. This one is all Luke’s.
This past weekend at the CCIW Outdoor Championships, Luke Winder vaulted 5.51 meters (18-1) on his first attempt at the bar to take sole possession of the regular-season DIII record. Before that jump, Winder had been tied with his brother and former Cardinal vaulter Jake Winder at 5.50m (18-½).
That marks the third time in his career that Winder has cleared 18 feet. Winder did it once in a winning effort at the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, then again at the Don Church Twilight and once more most recently at the CCIW Championships.
Junior | Mid-Distance
Los Altos, California
Entering this past weekend, Maya Weigel’s best time over 5000 meters was 17:07.69, set last year at the Bryan Clay Invitational.
It’s safe to say Weigel can put that time to bed now with what she ran this past weekend at the Oxy Invitational.
Weigel PR’d by 47 seconds and crossed the finish line in a division-leading 16:20.19. That also left her with the ninth best time ever run in DIII and as the sixth best performer.
The junior from Los Altos, California now has two strong times this season. In addition to that aforementioned division-leading time, she is ranked No. 2 at 1500 meters (4:23.56).
Freshman | Jumps
Already an NJCAA leader in one event, Jah-Nhai Perinchief decided to make it two this past weekend.
Perinchief starred at the NJCAA Region XI Championships. He won the high jump, triple jump and placed second in the long jump. His leap of 15.83 meters (51-11¼) is the outdoor leader in NJCAA and tied teammate Odaine Lewis’ mark from the indoor campaign.
As many know, Perinchief is still tied for the collegiate lead and owns the NJCAA lead in the high jump.
Freshman | Jumps
A small field wasn’t going to keep Varvara Klyuchinikova from standing out at the NJCAA Region 12 Championships.
With only four athletes entered in the high jump, Klyuchinikova cleared 1.80 meters (5-10¾) and moved into a tie for 16th collegiate and is now ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA.
Prior to winning the high jump, Klyuchinikova took the win in the long jump.