NCAA & NJCAA Outdoor National Athletes of the Week (May 16)

NEW ORLEANS – Collegiate record books weren’t ready for this past weekend.

We saw an all-out assault on the overall collegiate record book, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III record books by athletes across the nation.

You may see a lot of familiar names as National Athletes of the Week and that’s because they’re doing major things.

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 – Christian Coleman, Tennessee

Junior | Sprints
Atlanta, Georgia

There was no shortage of incredible efforts this past weekend in NCAA Division I Men’s Outdoor Track & Field ranging from Lindon Victor bettering his collegiate record in the decathlon to Fred Kerley running the 2nd fastest time in collegiate history over 400 meters and everything in between that we didn’t see in Columbia, South Carolina, at the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Then there is what Christian Coleman did.

This past weekend at the SEC Championships, Coleman became just the 8th man in world history – and the 1st man in collegiate history – to go sub-10 seconds in the 100 and sub-20 seconds in the 200 in the same day.

Coleman opened things up with a wind-legal time of 9.97 in the 100 to beat LSU’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake by .02.

Not too long after, Coleman doubled back in the 200 and clocked a wind-legal time of 19.98. He beat his LSU rival once again, but this time by 11 one-hundredths of a second.

Both of those efforts might have left him *right* outside the all-time top-10, but rest assured he’ll have a few more chances to get his name written down in history.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Deajah Stevens, Oregon

Junior | Sprints
Westchester, New York

Since 1988, only one woman had run a wind-legal time of 22.17 or better over 200 meters – and that’s the collegiate record holder herself, Dawn Sowell. It was back in 1989 that Sowell clocked a time of 22.04A at the NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Well, Sowell has some company and might lose her collegiate record in the near future if Deajah Stevens has her say.

This past weekend at the Pac-12 Outdoor Championships, Stevens destroyed the competition in the 200 meters with a time of 22.09. Stevens became just the 2nd woman in collegiate history to go sub-22.10 in the 200 (3rd, if you’re counting wind-aided marks, which we’re not).

That was just one of the event titles for Stevens at Historic Hayward Field as she also captured 1st place in the 100 and helped the Ducks’ 4×100 team to Pac-12 glory.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Kai Miller, Pittsburg State

Sophomore | Pole Vault
Blue Springs, Missouri

There’s nothing like having an outstanding performance a last chance qualifier to guarantee your spot at the national meet. Just ask Pittsburg State’s Kai Miller.

Miller, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Missouri, tied for the top pole vault mark in NCAA Division II on the season, clearing 5.31m (17-5). His mark automatically qualifies him for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in just a few weeks, and was the 1st automatic qualifying mark by Miller on the year after only clearing 5.00m just twice on the season.

Should Miller be able to replicate this performance at the national meet in just a few short weeks, he could find himself on the podium when the dust settles.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Mel Herl, Chadron State

Senior | Throws
Eaton, Colorado

Mel Herl wrapped up her final regular season in grand fashion this past week.

Not only did she break RMAC Outdoor Championship meet records in all 3 of her throws early in the week, but she also became the 4th-best performer in NCAA Division II outdoor history in the hammer throw, recording a toss of 63.62m (208-9) that is good for the top spot on the descending order list.

The native of Eaton, Colorado, pulled double-duty on the week, too, as she also competed at the Concordia (Neb.) Last Chance Meet this past Friday. While there, Herl recorded the top shot put mark on the season in NCAA Division II at 16.92m (55-6¼), a mark that also makes her the 5th-best performer in the event in NCAA Division II outdoor history.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Ian LaMere, UW-Platteville

Senior | Distance
Green Bay, Wisconsin

The top-10 list at 5000 meters in the NCAA Division III record book had one notable absence for a while and that’s the name of Ian LaMere, who owned the top mark at 10000 meters.

That all changed this past weekend as LaMere threw down a time of 13:56.76 and moved up to 3rd on the NCAA DIII All-Time Top-10 behind Dan Henderson (13:50.0) and Dale Kramer (13:53.2) – both of whom ran their marks back in the late 1970s.

LaMere scorched the track at the Dr. Keeler Track & Field Invitational hosted by North Central (Ill.). Running in the fastest section, LaMere made quick work of the competition and won by nearly 24 seconds over Calvin’s Andrew Philipose.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Wadeline Jonathas, UMass Boston

Freshman | Sprints
Gonaives, Haiti

Maybe it’s time to take note of what Wadeline Jonathas is doing.

Jonathas, a freshman from Gonaives, Haiti, earned her third consecutive National Athlete of the Week honor following a standout performance at the NEICAAA Outdoor Championships.

Eight days after starring at the New England Outdoor Championships, Jonathas clocked NCAA DIII’s fastest time over 400 meters. Jonathas’ mark of 54.01 also stands as the 8th fastest mark in NCAA DIII history and fastest since Hulerie McGuffie ran 53.55 last year.

Take a look at the NCAA DIII Descending Order List and you’ll see Jonathas’ name atop the 100 (11.59w), 200 (23.67) and 400 (54.01). Another glance at the NCAA DIII record book and you’ll see Jonathas’ name 1st (200), 3rd (100) and 8th (400).

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Moses Dirane, Cloud County CC

Freshman | Distance
Pretoria, South Africa

It was quiet week in terms of NJCAA Division I outdoor track & field with the championships coming up this weekend. But that didn’t stop Moses Dirane from getting in another strong performance.

One week after winning the Region VI Outdoor Championships in the 1500 and 5000 meter races, in addition to finishing 2nd in the 10000 meters, the native of Pretoria, South Africa, took part in the Spire Twilight, posting the top steeplechase mark in all of NJCAA Division I at 9:19.61. His mark is a shade over 8 seconds better than anyone on the descending order list this season.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Kyelah Hodges, Highland CC

Sophomore | Sprints
Monticello, Arkansas

Kyelah Hodges had a very strong outing at the Region VI Outdoor Championships a week ago, placing 3rd in the 800 meter while helping the 4×800 relay squad claim 1st place. But that didn’t stop her from trying to improve in other events ahead of the NJCAA Division I Championships this weekend.

The sophomore from Monticello, Arkansas, competed at the Spire Twilight this past weekend, winning the event title in the 400 meters with a time of 55.88. In what was just her 2nd time competing in the event this outdoor season, Hodges time puts her at 20th on the NJCAA Division I Descending Order List.