NCAA & NJCAA Outdoor National Athletes of the Week (May 2)

NEW ORLEANS – Collegiate records were shaking in their boots this past weekend.

That’s because a trio of athletes took aim at them and fell just short of the lofty marks.

Nonetheless, two of the National Athletes of the Week honored Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) notched marks that were No. 2 in collegiate history: Emmanuel Korir in the 800 and Aleia Hobbs in the 100.

Here are the 10 athletes honored by the USTFCCCA, which include Hobbs and Korir.

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 – Emmanuel Korir, UTEP

Freshman | Mid-Distance
Iten, Kenya

Stop us if you heard this before: Emmanuel Korir is fast.

One week after he ripped off a sub-45 second open 400 (44.67), Korir returned to the track at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge in Berkeley, California, and nearly rewrote collegiate history.

Korir clocked a time of 1:43.73 over 800 meters, narrowly missing Donavan Brazier’s collegiate record of 1:43.55 that he set last year at the NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships. It’s even more impressive considering Korir won by eight seconds and negative split the race in the process (52.5, 51.23).

How crazy would that be if Brazier’s record doesn’t even last a full year, especially knowing that it took someone (Brazier) 50 years to eclipse Jim Ryun’s previous all-time mark?

If you want to know how special Korir is, take one look at the NCAA DI Descending Order List. It’s there that you’ll find him ranked 1st at 800 meters and 3rd at 400 meters as one of three men this season to go sub-45 seconds during the collegiate season (Fred Kerley and Michael Cherry).

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Aleia Hobbs, LSU

Junior | Sprints
New Orleans, Louisiana

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a woman who had a better weekend than Aleia Hobbs.

Hobbs started things off by anchoring LSU’s 4×100 relay team to a collegiate record-tying time of 42.12. It wasn’t an easy run for Hobbs in the slightest as she ran into a stiff headwind on the home stretch at Bernie Moore Track Stadium. When she crossed the finish line, however, it was clear Oregon’s women have company on the 4×100 landscape.

Less than two hours later, Hobbs returned to the track for the open 100 and dazzled. Hobbs ran 10.85, the fastest low-altitude time in collegiate history and the 2nd fastest time in collegiate history regardless of conditions. No one has come closer than Hobbs to breaking Dawn Sowell’s collegiate record of 10.78A in the event, which was set back in 1989.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Jordan Crayon, Ashland

Senior | Throws
Toledo, Ohio

Jordan Crayon added his name to the NCAA Division II outdoor collegiate record book over the weekend with his solid outing in the hammer throw at the Ashland Alumni Open.

The senior from Toledo, Ohio, posted the top hammer throw in NCAA Division II this year at 69.87m (229-3), a mark that was the 5th-best on the week behind only 4 throws from Cornell’s Rudy Winkler. Better than that though was the fact that Crayon’s throw makes him the 6th-best performer in the history of the event during the NCAA Division II outdoor season.

After placing 3rd at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships a year ago, Crayon could be on his way to his first hammer throw national championship.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Stachia Reuwsaat, Chadron State

Senior | Sprints/Jumps
Black Hawk, South Dakota

What a week for NCAA Division II women’s track & field athletes. There were some superb performances, including Tia-Adana Belle’s win in the 400 hurdles at the Penn Relays and Mel Hurl’s annihilation of the competition in the shot put at the adidas/Steve Scott Invitational.

But historically, none lived up to Stachia Reuwsaat’s outing in the long jump at the adidas/Steve Scott Invitational. The senior from Black Hawk, South Dakota, recorded the top mark in NCAA Division II this year in the event, leaping 6.61m (21-8¼) to etch her name in 3rd in the NCAA Division II outdoor collegiate record book.

In Irvine, California, over the weekend, Reuwsaat defeated the 2017 Mountain West Indoor Champion, Ayana Gales of UNLV, and 2017 WAC Indoor Champion, Kayla Wilson of Grand Canyon, as well as 24 other NCAA Division I athletes. In all of collegiate outdoor track & field this year, only 4 NCAA Division I athletes have posted further leaps in 2017.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Luke Winder, North Central (Ill.)

Junior | Pole Vault
Joilet, Illinois

No man has vaulted higher than Luke Winder during an NCAA Division III outdoor season.

Winder made sure of that this past weekend at the Drake Relays.

Competing in the Division I section against a number of other talented vaulters, Winder was the last man standing once the bar went up to 5.35m (17-6½). Winder went over that bar on his first try, while Sioux Falls’ Scott Greenman fouled on all three of his attempts.

Once he had the event title square in his pocket, Winder pushed the bar up to 5.53m (18-1¾). It was on his 3rd attempt that he got over and set a PR and the NCAA DIII season-long record in the process (Allegheny’s Jeremy Scott notched a best of 5.55m (18-2½) at the 2002 NACAC Championships).

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Wadeline Jonathas, UMass Boston

Freshman | Sprints
Gonaives, Haiti

Only five women in NCAA Division III history have gone sub-23.80 in the 200.

Only two of those didn’t have a strong wind at their back.

One of them is NCAA DIII record holder Rhondale Jones. The other is Wadeline Jonathas after this past weekend’s action at the NEAC Championships.

Jonathas clocked a wind-legal 23.79 in a winning effort to move up to 5th on the NCAA DIII all-time chart in the event. The native of Gonaives, Haiti, now trails Jones (23.72), Denise Shotwell (23.73w), Amber James (23.73w) and Musu Jackson-Buckner (23.75w).

We could see an incredible race between Jonathas and several others at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships later this month.

Strong consideration for National Athlete of the Week was also given to Maya Weigel of Pomona-Pitzer. Weigel ran the 10th fastest time in NCAA DIII history over 1500 meters (4:22.83) and moved up to 2nd on the NCAA DIII Descending Order List. She is also No. 1 on the NCAA DIII DOL at 5000 meters.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Keitavious Walter, Hinds CC

Freshman | Sprints
Ruston, Louisiana

No one in the country was faster than Keitavious Walter in the 200 meters this past weekend. Nobody.

Walter, a freshman at Hinds CC, notched a wind-legal time of 20.43 in the 200 meters at the Southern Miss Open, topping this week’s top-10 collegiate marks list. Additionally, his time is faster than any NCAA Division II or NCAA Division III men’s sprinter and would be tied for 12th in the nation at the NCAA Division I level.

Walter wasn’t done with that performance, though. The native of Ruston, Louisiana, also posted a 10.21 in the 100 meters, ranking 4th on the week, as well as 4th in all of NJCAA Division I on the season.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Zakiya Denoon, Monroe College

Sophomore | Sprints
Belle Garden, Trinidad & Tobago

Zakiya Denoon already owned the top 200 meter mark in all of NJCAA Division I this season. But, that wasn’t good enough for her.

The native of Trinidad & Tobago ran a blistering 11.31 in the 100 meters at the Penn Relays, placing 3rd overall ahead of athletes from Auburn, Oklahoma, Clemson and North Carolina State, amongst others. Denoon’s mark is good for 2nd on the NJCAA Division I descending order list this year, and also ranked 6th on the week by any collegiate athlete.

The sophomore also ran in the 4×100 relay for Monroe College at the Penn Relays, posting the 5th-best time in NJCAA Division I this season at 46.03.

NJCAA DIVISION III MEN – Jake Caruso, Rowan-Gloucester (N.J.)

Freshman | Distance
Berlin, New Jersey

Jake Caruso has sat on the cusp of picking up a National Athlete of the Week honor for a few weeks. This week, he finally broke through.

The Berlin, New Jersey, native ran a 4:08.25 in the 1500 meters at the Lions Invitational for the top mark on the NJCAA Division III descending order list this year. This weekend marked the 2nd-consecutive weekend in which Caruso set a personal-best mark in the event.

On the season, Caruso also owns the top 5000 meter time in NJCAA Division III at 15:47.03.

NJCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Casey Pedone, Suffolk CC

Sophomore | Sprints/Jumps
Port Jefferson Station, New York

Sophomore Casey Pedone had a solid showing at the Lions Invitational for Suffolk CC this past weekend, recording a 5.45m (17-10¾) in the long jump for the 2nd-best mark in NJCAA Division III on the season.

Pedone won the event title – the 1st of her career – and did so by defeating NCAA Division I athletes from Villanova, Rider and Farleigh Dickinson. Pedone also competed in the 4×400 relay for Suffolk CC that finished 4th at the meet with a time of 4:38.68.