NCAA & NJCAA Outdoor National Athletes of the Week (March 28)

NEW ORLEANS – The outdoor track & field season is picking up steam.

This past weekend there were several big meets, notably the Raleigh Relays hosted by NC State.

And what would you know: Two of our National Athletes of the Week for this week starred down in North Carolina.

Without further ado, here are the 10 National Athletes of the Week in collegiate track & field.

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 the two in NJCAA).

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 – Alex Young, Southeastern Louisiana

Grad Student | Throws
Nashville, Tennessee

After only competing once during the indoor season, Alex Young is making up for lost time now that the temperatures warmed up and we’re in the outdoor circuit.

Young won the hammer throw this past weekend at the Miami Hurricane Collegiate Invitational and knocked off Virginia’s Jordan Young, who was 3rd at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in the weight throw. Alex Young’s 6th and final throw gave him a massive PR of 71.24m (233-9) and more than an 8-foot lead in the nation at the moment.

During the meet, Alex Young recorded five of the top-6 marks of the week in the hammer throw.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Allie Buchalski, Furman

Senior | Distance
Johns Creek, Georgia

Two weeks after doubling up on All-America honors at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, Allie Buchalski opened up her outdoor season in thrilling fashion at the Raleigh Relays this past weekend.

Buchalski dominated in the 5000 with a winning time of 15:35.55. That was a 33-second PR from her previous outdoor best in the event and shattered both the meet and school records in the process. Buchalski beat former North Dakota State standout Erin Teschuk – who is now competing as a member of Furman Elite – by 15 seconds.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Myles Pringle, Ashland

Sophomore | Sprints
Cincinnati, Ohio

Only one word can truly describe Myles Pringle’s performance from this past weekend: dominant.

The sophomore from Cincinnati won the 400 meters at the Raleigh Relays, posting a time of 45.99 that was the fastest collegiate mark in the country on any level this past weekend. Pringle bested 52 other runners in the race, including 40+ who compete at the Division I level.

Not only is Pringle’s mark the fastest in Division II on the season, but it is the top 400 meter collegiate mark in the entire nation, coming in at 0.18 seconds faster than NCAA Division I leaders Rai Benjamin (UCLA) and Robert Grant (Texas A&M), who both sit at 46.17 so far this year.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – McKenzie Warren, Concordia (Ore.)

Senior | Throws
Boring, Oregon

There were some outstanding throws at the NCAA Division II level this week. But, none were better than McKenzie Warren’s shot put marks.

The senior recorded a mark of 17.26m (56-7½) this past week at the Willamette Invitational, winning the event title by more than 9 feet. That toss ranked 6th on the Top-10 Collegiate Marks list from this past week, while one of her opening throw of 16.82m (55-2¼) was good for 9th on the week.

The native of Boring, Oregon, saw her mark rise to the top of the NCAA Division II descending order lists, but even more impressive is the fact that her throw ranks 6th in NCAA Division II history. Warren is now the 2nd-best performer in the event in NCAA Division II history, coming in behind Adriane Blewett, who notched the 1st-5th best throws in the record books back in 2003.  

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Tobias Muellers, Williams

Junior | Combined Events
Burlington, Vermont

Last year it took Tobias Muellers until the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships to PR in the decathlon. And it wasn’t a bad time to do so as Muellers earned All-America status for his effort.

This year he narrowly missed that PR in a season-opening outing at the UC Riverside Spring Track Classic.

Muellers scored a total of 6547 points, 20 shy of his PR, this past weekend. The junior from Williams placed 6th in the event behind five NCAA DI athletes.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Emily Richards, Ohio Northern

Junior | Mid-Distance
Delaware, Ohio

Emily Richards had quite a meet at the Raleigh Relays this past weekend.

Richards, who won the indoor 800 and mile crowns earlier this month, posted the 10th fastest time in NCAA DIII history over 1500 meters on Friday. She crossed the finish line in 4:23.21, which edged the previous mark in 10th set by St. Thomas’ Emily Gapinski last year. If she lowers her time by two seconds, Richards will move into 6th all-time.

Then on Saturday, Richards was the fastest female collegian at the meet over 800 meters (2:06.06). It also turned out to be the fastest time across all collegiate divisions this week.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Shivnarine Smalling, Western Texas College

Freshman | Sprints
Kingston, Jamaica

You could make a case that Shivnarine Smalling was the fastest man in college this past weekend.

Smalling, a freshman from Jamaica, ran the fastest time across all levels of collegiate track and field in the 100 meters this past weekend, posting a time of 10.30 (+2.0 wind). Smalling’s mark earned him the event title at the Wes Kittley Invitational.

Looking across all levels of collegiate track and field, only six 100 meter times rank higher than Smalling’s on the year.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Natassha McDonald, South Plains

Freshman | Sprints
Toronto, Canada

It hasn’t taken long for Natassha McDonald to make a splash for South Plains’ track and field squad.

The 2016 IAF World Junior Championship competitor for Team Canada, McDonald ran a time of 53.60 in the 400 meters over the weekend at the UTEP Springtime meet, good for the 9th-fastest time on the track across the nation this past weekend.

The freshman wasn’t done, however, as she also teamed up with three of her teammates to run a time of 46.37 in the 4×100 relay, the 2nd-fasest time in NJCAA Division I on the year.

NJCAA DIVISION III MEN – Daniel Usher, Howard CC

Sophomore | Throws
Laurel, Maryland

For the 2nd-consecutive week, a men’s track and field athlete from Howard CC has been named the NJCAA Division III Men’s Athlete of the Week.

Daniel Usher recorded the top marks in NJCAA Division III on the season in the shot put and discus at the Ursinius Collegiate Invitational meet this past weekend. The sophomore from Laurel, Maryland, posted a shot put mark of 15.22m (49-11¼), outdistancing his nearest opponent by over 2½ feet. Usher was the top collegiate athlete in the discus at the meet with a mark of 44.14m (144-10). 

NJCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Tatyana Mills, Kingsborough CC

Sophomore | Sprints
Kingston, Jamaica

Tatyana Mills was all over the place for Kingsborough CC at the Winthrop ADIDAS Invitational this past weekend.

The sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica, competed in three events, coming up big in each of them. She ran a 24.67 in the 200 meters and a 55.44 in the 400 meters, placing 3rd and 2nd, respectively at the meet. On the season, no NJCAA Division III woman has run a faster time in either event. Additionally, Mills competed in the 4×400 relay, helping her squad run a time of 3:58.05, a mark that stands as the fastest at the NJCAA Division III level this year.