NCAA & NJCAA Outdoor National Athletes of the Week (April 4)
NEW ORLEANS – Records are meant to be broken.
That’s what our National Athletes of the Week said this past weekend.
Standards fell at the Florida Relays and the Texas Relays and these athletes had their hand in them.
- NCAA Division I Men – Lindon Victor, Texas A&M
- NCAA Division I Women – Relay Teams, Oregon
- NCAA Division II Men – Josh Syrotchen, Harding
- NCAA Division II Women – Tia-Adana Belle, Saint Augustine’s
- NCAA Division III Men – Marquis Brown, Texas Lutheran
- NCAA Division III Women – Alexa Wandy, SUNY Geneseo
- NJCAA Division I Men – Akeem Sirleaf, Butler (Kan.) CC
- NJCAA Division I Women – Kaitlyn Shoemaker, Allen CC
- NJCAA Division III Men – Malik Hinds, Suffolk CC
- NJCAA Division III Women – Tatyana Mills, Kingsborough CC
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.
Senior | Combined Events
St. Georges, Grenada
The collegiate decathlon record nearly made it to 11 years.
That was until Lindon Victor had his say this past weekend at the Texas Relays.
Victor took down Trey Hardee’s old mark that had been the record since April 6, 2006. The Grenada native totaled 8472 points, topping Hardee’s former standard of 8465.
The Texas A&M senior is just the third man in the past 18 years to hold the collegiate decathlon record. Victor joins Hardee and former record holder Tom Pappas in that distinction.
It’s safe to say Victor rode quite the roller coaster on the final day of competition.
Victor started well ahead of Hardee’s record pace, but less-than-stellar marks in the 110 hurdles and pole vault left him no room for error. It’s a good thing Victor excelled in the discus throw and javelin throw to put him back on pace.
It all came down to the 1500. If Victor ran 4:50.02 or better, he’d break Hardee’s record. Victor crossed the finish line in 4:48.89 and that’s all she wrote.
It’s not often that an entire relay team is the National Athlete of the Week.
Well, it’s not often that a quartet does what the Oregon women did this past weekend at the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Florida.
The Ducks’ foursome of Makenzie Dumore, Deajah Stevens, Hannah Cunliffe and Ariana Washington set collegiate records in the 4×100 and 4×200 relay.
It all started in the 4×100 where Dunmore, Stevens, Cunliffe and Washington rolled to an easy victory in 42.34. That broke the previous collegiate record of 42.36, which was set 7 years earlier by Texas A&M at the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Less than two hours later, those same women took another record from the Aggies – this time being the 4×200 standard. Oregon clipped off a time of 1:28.78, which demolished the previous mark of 1:29.42 set by Texas A&M back in 2010.
If you’re counting at home, that’s four collegiate records for the Ducks in 2017 – indoor 60, indoor DMR, outdoor 4×100 and outdoor 4×200. Cunliffe owns one of those marks by herself (60) and offered her assistance in both the 4×100 and 4×200 efforts.
Senior | Throws
Shocked to see Josh Syrotchen as the USTFCCCA NCAA Division II Men’s Athlete of the Week for the second time in three weeks?
Don’t be. He’s that good.
The native of Spokane, Washington, once again hit an NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifying mark in the discus with a hurl of 59.53m (195-4) at the Drury Hotels Joey Haines Invite this past weekend, setting a new season-best mark in the process. While in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the senior won the event title over a slew of NCAA Division I competitors, as well as professionals. His throw was over 13 feet further than his nearest competitor’s.
Once again, Syrotchen measured up to NCAA Division I athletes on the week, as his top throw ranked 5th best by any collegiate athlete this past weekend, while one of his earlier throws during the meet of 58.75m (192-9) was good for 7th across all collegiate levels of track & field.
Junior | Hurdler
St. George, Barbados
Tia-Adana Belle owns 5 of the top-9 400 hurdles in the NCAA Division II record book, including the top-3. So, you know she’s capable of doing something special.
This last weekend was just that for Belle.
While her 400 hurdles time of 57.28 – an NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifying Mark – at the Florida Relays didn’t quite crack the record book, it currently stands as the top mark in NCAA Division II this year. Running against some of the top talent in the south, Belle finished 3rd in the event behind runners from South Carolina and Florida, and her time was the 7th fastest in the nation across all levels this past weekend.
Belle also teamed up with fellow Falcons to post the 4th-best 4×400 relay time in NCAA Division II (3:43.46) an 8th-fastest 4×100 relay time in NCAA Division II (46.39) at the Florida Relays.
Junior | Sprints
After this past weekend, Marquis Brown is the national leader in two events – and did so at the expense of a former National Athlete of the Week in Jake Mihelich.
Brown took over the NCAA DIII lead in the 200 from Mihelich two weeks ago at the Warhawk Classic. The junior from Refugio, Texas, ran a barely wind-aided mark of 21.52, which was 17 one-hundredths of a second faster than Mihelich earlier this season.
Then it was at the Texas State Bobcat Invitational this past weekend where Brown finished 4th overall in the 400 behind two NCAA DI runners, among others, and ran a PR of 47.57. That also knocked Mihelich off the top of the chart.
Brown won the indoor 400-meter title and will be looking to fare better outdoors this year than last year where he finished 11th in the event.
Senior | Horizontal Jumps
La Grangeville, New York
There is something about the Early Season Invitational that sits well with Alexa Wandy.
The SUNY Geneseo senior uncorked a stellar – albeit windy – mark this past weekend before the calendar turned too far into April.
Wandy bounded 12.72m (41-8¾) at the Early Season Invitational hosted by SUNY Geneseo and set a huge PR. That mark is good enough for 6th on the all-time NCAA DIII chart when taking all conditions into account. It’s also the NCAA DIII leader by nearly 1 foot, 9 inches.
This past weekend was the season opener for Wandy, who swept the horizontal jump titles at the 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Naperville, Illinois.
Sophomore | Sprints
St. Paul, Minnesota
Akeem Sirleaf has already made his presence known in his 2nd season at Butler CC.
The native of St. Paul, Minnesota, ran the 200 meters at the Cowley Tiger Invite last weekend, posting an NJCAA Division I leading time of 20.90. As a matter of fact, only one runner in the entire nation ran a faster time in the 200 meters this past weekend.
Sirleaf didn’t stop there, though, as he also helped lead his squad to an event title in the 4×100 relay, where the quartet recorded a time of 40.31.
Sophomore | Distance
Silver Lake, Kansas
Kaitlyn Shoemaker had a very strong showing at the Florida Relays this past weekend, where she set the NJCAA Division I leading mark in the 5000 meters.
The NJCAA Indoor Champion in the event just a month ago, the native of Silver Lake, Kansas, ran a time of 17:12.71 against mostly NCAA Division I athletes. She finished 9th out of 50-plus runners in what was her outdoor season debut.
With that mark, Shoemaker now leads the NJCAA Division I Descending Order List in the event by almost 24 seconds, a highly impressive note considering she had not competed in almost a month.
Sophomore | Jumps, Hurdles
Bay Shore, New York
Malik Hinds got it done on the track and on the field this weekend.
The sophomore from Suffolk CC competed at the Ramapo College Track & Field Invitational, posting two top-2 marks in NJCAA Division III. Hinds ran a 15.42 for the top mark in the 110 hurdles in all of NJCAA Division III.
Additionally, the Bay Shore, New York, native notched a triple jump leap of 13.38m (43-10¾) for the 2nd-best mark at his level of competition.
Sophomore | Sprints
For the second consecutive week, Tatyana Mills has found herself at the top of her game.
The sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica, finished the 400 meters at the Florida Relays this past weekend with a time of 54.09, good enough to lead all of NJCAA Division III.
She and her team were not done, however, Mills helped guide the Wave to the top spot in NJCAA Division III in the 4×100 relay (49.54) and the 4×400 relay (3:50.91).