NCAA & NJCAA National Athletes of the Week (May 3)

NCAA & NJCAA National Athletes of the Week (May 3)

NEW ORLEANS — This past weekend was filled to the brim with action across the nation.

Collegiate track & field athletes took their shot at the Drake Relays, Penn Relays, LSU Invitational, Payton Jordan Invitational and more as the season hits the home stretch.

There were 10 athletes who stood out the most, though, and they were named National Athletes of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Tuesday.

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.

NCAA DIVISION I MEN — Brandon McBride, Mississippi State

Junior | Mid-Distance
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Have a race, Brandon McBride!

This past weekend on his home track at the Jace Lacoste Invitational, McBride ran the world’s fastest 800-meter time of the season. Needless to say, it also stands as the top mark in the NCAA and sits very, very high on the all-time collegiate chart.

McBride churned out a 1:44.63 on Saturday and won his section by nine seconds.

That mark stands as fastest time run by a collegian in April and is now third all-time behind Jim Ryun’s hand-timed 1:44.3 (converted from 800 yards) and former George Mason standout Julius Achon’s 1:44.55 clocked 20 years ago tomorrow.

Don’t forget: McBride won the 800-meter title at the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN — Courtney Frerichs, New Mexico

Senior | Distance
Nixa, Missouri

It may be a new season and she may be wearing a new uniform, but Courtney Frerichs is picking up right where she left off in the steeplechase. The transfer from UMKC became just the fourth woman in collegiate history to run faster than 9:30 at or before the NCAA Championships, clocking 9:29.31 to win the Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday.

Making both her New Mexico and 2016 debut in the event, she ended up checking in with the fifth-fastest time in college history and moved up to No. 3 on the performers list – just .01 ahead of Colleen Quigley of Florida State, who beat her at NCAAs last season. It’s also the second-fastest season debut in college history, falling just short of Emma Coburn’s 9:28.26 from this meet two seasons ago.

She easily outclassed the assembled field of professionals and collegians in Stanford, winning over Genevieve Lalonde by nine seconds and beating the nearest collegian, Ingeborg Loevnes of Oklahoma State, by 21 seconds.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN — Garrett Appier, Pittsburg State

Senior | Throws
Paola, Kansas

Garrett Appier is on a roll unlike anything ever witnessed in the NCAA Division II shot put. One weekend after breaking the DII record, he one-upped himself at the Missouri Southern Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invitational with a 2016 collegiate-leading heave of 20.79m (68-2½).

And he wasn’t done there. By the time the dust had settled, he had posted the DII record and the second-, fourth- and fifth-farthest marks in Division history. He capped his day with a 20.70m (67-11) effort and also went for 20.51 (67-3½) and 20.32m (66-8) on the afternoon. Each of those throws would have topped the old collegiate record from two weeks ago (20.14m / 66-1).

From this season alone, he now owns nine of the top 12 throws in Division II history.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN — Carsyn Koch, Cedarville

Sophomore | Mid-Distance
Washburn, Maine

Carsyn Koch is quickly becoming one of the fastest college women in the nation at 800 meters, and as of this weekend, she can officially call herself the fastest-ever in NCAA Division II.

Just a sophomore, the reigning NCAA Indoor champ and outdoor national runner-up ran 2:02.39 Sunday night at the Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational to finish fourth in her section of professionals. She topped by less than a tenth of a second the long-standing DII record of 2:02.48 set way back at the 1990 NCAA DII Championships by Cal Poly’s Teena Colebrook.

No one in her section closed the final lap faster than Koch. After coming through the bell at the back of the pack, she ran 1:02.81 over the final quarter mile to move up from ninth to fourth.

The surge assured Koch her status as just the third woman in DII history to break the 2:03 barrier during the collegiate season, and the first to do so prior to the NCAA Championships.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN — Tyler Orewiler, Mount Union

Senior | Pole Vault
Bucyrus, Ohio

Tyler Orewiler is making sure Luke Winder won’t get too far away.

A few weeks after Winder left his mark on the record books, Orewiler added his name among the DIII greats with his vault this past weekend at the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Championships.

Orewiler cleared 5.31 meters (17-5) on his final attempt and is now tied for the eighth best mark in DIII history. It also set a career best for Orewiler, who previously vaulted 5.22m (17-1½) during the indoor season.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN — Katherine Pitman, Ithaca

Junior | Pole Vault
Swampscott, Massachusetts

Proximity proved to be a blessing for Katherine Pitman.

This past week Pitman competed in two meets: the Penn Relays on Thursday and then Cornell’s Big Red Invitational on Sunday.

In Philadelphia, Pitman was the only DIII athlete accepted to the championships section and finished third behind two talented vaulters from Duke (Megan Clark and Madison Heath). Pitman improved her career best to 3.90 meters (12-9½).

She was just getting started.

On Sunday, Pitman cleared 4.10m (13-5¼) to move into sole possession of second place nationally and into a tie for sixth on the all-time performer’s list in DIII.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN — Eli Hall-Thompson, Butler CC

Sophomore | Sprints
Katy, Texas

Eli Hall-Thompson had quite the weekend at the Region VI Championships.

Hall-Thompson started the meet with a victory at 100 meters and his time of 10.15 tied him for the national lead with 15 days remaining until the national championships.

He followed that up with a victory at 200 meters (wind-assisted 20.69) and offered a hand to the Grizzlies’ winning 4×100-meter relay.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN — Janeah Stewart, Iowa Central CC

Sophomore | Throws
Calumet City, Illinois

As one of two NJCAA athletes in a field of 27 at the Drake Relays, Janeah Stewart knew she had to leave her mark. That’s exactly what Stewart did.

Stewart dominated the championship section of the shot put and won going away with a heave of 16.31 meters (53-6¼). Not bad, considering it came on Stewart’s first throw.

That heave also further cemented Stewart as the NJCAA outdoor leader in the event.

NJCAA DIVISION III MEN — Jerrett Laskett, Finger Lakes CC

Freshman | Hurdles

With less than one week remaining until the NJCAA DIII Championships, Jerrett Laskett made sure he’d be on the national radar.

Laskett clocked an impressive 55.81 in the 400 hurdles at the USCAA National Invitational. That mark was good enough for him to place second in a tough field.

NJCAA DIVISION III WOMEN — Anna Roberts, Mohawk Valley CC

Sophomore | Distance
Remsen, Iowa

What does a 42-second personal best get you these days?

A national lead and a National Athlete of the Week honor.

This past weekend at the USCAA National Invitational, Roberts won the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 12:08.74. That put her atop the NJCAA DIII leaderboard with the national championships coming up this week.

Roberts also won the 1500 and helped win the 4×800.