NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (January 30)

NEW ORLEANS – There might be a bunch of new collegiate indoor records by the end of the season.

We wouldn’t doubt it based off what we’ve seen so far in 2018.

This past weekend was another incredible installment and here are eight athletes who stood out from their peers and were named National Athletes of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Tuesday.

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.


Sophomore | Mid-Distance
Ravine, Kenya

Michael Saruni keeps one-upping himself.

One week after running an all-time world best over 600 meters (1:14.79), Saruni turned his attention to the 800 and scorched the track at the Texas Tech Classic.

Saruni ripped around the 200-meter oval to the tune of 1:45.19, which stands as the second fastest time in collegiate indoor history. That is also the fastest collegiate indoor performance since 1989 when his coach Paul Ereng set the record of 1:44.84 and the fastest collegiate indoor performance ever run on U.S. soil.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Karissa Schweizer, Missouri

Senior | Distance
Urbandale, Iowa

Karissa Schweizer was back at it again this past weekend at the Dr. Sadler Invitational.

On the fabled 200-meter banked oval at The Armory Track & Field Center, Schweizer turned in a performance for the ages. Schweizer ran the fourth fastest mile time in collegiate indoor history (4:27.54).

If you look at the collegiate indoor record book, you’ll see Schweizer’s name two places now: No. 4 in the mile and No. 5 over 5000 meters. Schweizer ran both of those times this season.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – David Ribich, Western Oregon

Junior | Distance
Enterprise, Oregon

David Ribich continued his assault on the NCAA DII distance record books this past weekend with another outstanding performance, this time in the mile.

The junior from Enterprise, Oregon, became the 501st athlete in U.S. history to break the 4-minue mile barrier when he ran a 3:58.88 at the UW Invitational. His mark doubles as the fourth-fastest time in NCAA Division II history, as well. Ribich’s performance is a GNAC record and an NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifying Mark.

On top of that, Ribich was the anchor on Western Oregon’s winning distance medley relay team that posted an NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifying Mark of 9:47.56.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Hannah McIntyre, Hillsdale

Senior | Distance
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hannah McIntyre just missed adding her name to the NCAA Division II record book this past weekend. But if she continues at the current pace she’s on, it won’t be long before she ends up as one of the best of the best.

The native of Colorado Springs, Colorado ran the fastest time in all of NCAA Division II on the season in the 5000 meters at the GVSU Mike Lints Alumni Open on Saturday, posting an event title-winning time of 16:23.65 that doubles as an NCAA Division II Qualifying mark.

How good was McIntyre’s time? It is just .57 seconds slower than the 10th-best mark in NCAA Division II history in the event.


Senior | Throws
Pardeeville, Wisconsin

Sam Elsner made a triumphant return to NCAA Division III this past weekend.

Elsner recorded two huge marks at the Warren Bowlus Invitational: the first in the shot put and the second in the weight throw.

His heave of 18.97m (62-3) in the weight throw catapulted him to the top of the NCAA DIII Descending Order List in the event. Then his mark of 16.87m (55-7¼) left him second in the nation behind UW-Eau Claire’s David Kornack.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Wadeline Jonathas, UMass Boston

Sophomore | Sprints
Gonavies, Haiti

Wadeline Jonathas might have all of the NCAA DIII records by the time she graduates.

Jonathas added the indoor 400-meter standard to her haul this past weekend at the John Terrier Classic. She blasted two laps in 53.70, shattering the previous record of 54.48 set by Amber James in 2004.

As it stands right now, Jonathas owns three NCAA DIII records: the indoor and outdoor 400 as well as the outdoor 200. Jonathas sits second on the all-time chart in the indoor 200.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Travis Collins, Butler CC

Sophomore | Sprints
Lawrenceville, Georgia

Travis Collins is fast. Real fast.

The sophomore from Lawrenceville, Georgia, proved that this past weekend at the Pittsburg State Invitational, where he posted a blistering 6.67 in the 60 meters, bettering a plethora of athletes from NCAA Division I programs.

Collins’ mark was the 10th-fastest time on the week across all divisions.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Natricia Hooper, Essex CC

Freshman | Jumps

Natricia Hooper, for a lack of better terms, is leaps and bounds ahead of any other triple jumper at the NJCAA level.

The freshman product out of Guyana notched a 13.20m (43-3¾) at the Dr. Sander Invitational Armory Challenge to win the event title over a slew of NCAA Division I athletes. That mark puts her atop the NJCAA Descending Order List by nearly an entire meter.

Hooper’s performance was the seventh-best on the week across all divisions, and is the ninth-best on the All-College Descending Order List this season.