NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (January 16)
NEW ORLEANS – We’re in for a treat come March if the season keeps going at this rate.
We saw several all-time performances this past weekend in collegiate track & field.
Here are a few of those athletes who stood out from their peers and were named National Athletes of the Week on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
- NCAA Division I Men – Trey Culver, Texas Tech
- NCAA Division I Women – Olivia Gruver, Kentucky
- NCAA Division II Men – David Ribich, Western Oregon
- NCAA Division II Women – Emily Presley, Missouri Southern
- NCAA Division III Men – Jared Louf-Woods, UMass Dartmouth
- NCAA Division III Women – Wadeline Jonathas, UMass Boston
- NJCAA Division I Men – Malik Beverly, Iowa Central CC
- NJCAA Division I Women – Adva Cohen, Iowa Central 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 eight collegiate indoor track & field athletes (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions and NJCAA Division I).
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. Nominated athletes are noticed before those athletes found through searching TFRRS.
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 | High Jump
Trey Culver added some extra springs to his legs in the offseason.
That’s the only explanation for what he did in his debut this past weekend.
Culver soared to a new PR and into the record book with his clearance of 2.33m (7-7¾) at the Corky Classic. That equaled the fourth best mark in collegiate indoor history, tying him with six other men including record holder Hollis Conway.
Junior | Pole Vault
Olivia Gruver made a name for herself last year at the NCAA outdoor meet when she surprised everybody and won the pole vault title.
If Gruver keeps going like she did at the Kentucky Invitational this past weekend, it might not be too much longer until she wins title No. 2.
Gruver cleared 4.60m (15-1) to capture the meet title and equaled the seventh best mark in collegiate indoor history.
Prior to this past weekend, Gruver’s PR was 4.50m (14-9) recorded at where else, but the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Junior | Distance
David Ribich hit his stride and there is no way he’s going to slow down.
After winning the 1500-meter title last outdoor season and placing 30th in cross country this past fall, Ribich opened his indoor season with a bang this past weekend at the UW Preview.
Ribich clocked the fastest time in NCAA DII history over 1000 meters (2:21.38). That put him second overall behind Drew Windle, who competed for Team USA at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in the 800. Ribich bested runners from Oregon, Portland, Stanford and Washington, among other programs.
Junior | Pole Vault
St. Clair, Missouri
While Emily Presley has captured the last two NCAA Division II outdoor pole vault national titles, she is looking for her first on the indoor circuit. Her performance from this past weekend indicates she is well on her way to making that happen.
Presley tied an indoor personal-best mark of 4.27m (14-0) at the Missouri Southern Invitational to run away with the event title while also placing her atop the NCAA Division II Descending Order List with an Automatic Qualifying Mark.
Her mark was the 10th best on the week in the nation, while tying her for fifth on the All-College Descending Order List for this season. Historically, Presley’s mark is tied for the ninth-best vault in NCAA Division II indoor history.
Senior | Throws
Two of the best marks in the weight throw in NCAA Division III came from the Tufts Invitational this past weekend.
Jared Louf-Woods let it fly the furthest and set a PR in the process.
Louf-Woods launched the weight 18.83m (61-9½) to shatter his old PR by more than two feet.
He has yet to compete at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, but he is well on his way to making it to Birmingham, Alabama this year.
Sophomore | Sprints
Wadeline Jonathas is back to her quick ways.
Jonathas competed in her first meet of the new year at the Tufts Invitational and recorded the nation’s fastest times in the 60 (7.61) and 200 (24.95). She has now dipped below 25 seconds a total of six times in her young career and is close to adding another all-time top-10 mark.
The sophomore wasn’t done there, however, as she also won the long jump and helped her team to a victory in the 4×400.
Sophomore | Sprints/Hurdles
Malik Beverly notched not just one, but two NJCAA Automatic Qualifying marks over the weekend against stiff competition at the Hawkeye Invitational.
The sophomore clocked the fastest time in the 60 hurdles on the NJCAA Descending Order List this season with a time of 7.79 that saw him finish as the first collegiate athlete at the meet in the event (second to only unattached Aaron Mallett, a 2017 NCAA Division I All-American in the 60 hurdles). That time was the third-best in the nation this past week.
Beverly followed that performance up with a second-place finish of 21.83 in the 200 meters, finishing just five tenths of a second behind Iowa’s Bradford Garron. That mark is good for sixth on the NJCAA Descending Order List this year.
Freshman | Distance
After hauling in a few National Athlete of the Week honors on the cross country season this past fall, Adva Cohen has now turned her attention to the indoor track season, and has already found success.
The native of Israel ran the fastest 3000 meter time in all of NJCAA this season with a mark of 9:29.04, which is good for an Automatic Qualifying Mark. Her time is over 40 seconds faster than anyone else in NJCAA this year and is 12th on the All-College Descending Order List this year. It was also the fifth-best time in the event on the week.