NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (February 13)

NEW ORLEANS – We might have witnessed the greatest weeked in collegiate indoor track & field history.

These 10 athletes had a lot to do with that.

Here are our NCAA and NJCAA National Athletes of the Week that were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

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.

NCAA DIVISION I MEN – Grant Holloway, Florida

Sophomore | Hurdles/Sprints/Jumps
Chesapeake, Virginia

Grant Holloway is not human.

There is no other way to explain it.

Holloway turned in an otherworldly performance this past weekend at the Tiger Paw Invitational hosted by Clemson.

The sophomore kicked things off on Friday in the 60 hurdles where he reduced Omar McLeod’s collegiate record to dust. Holloway crossed the finish line in a quick 7.42, which lowered the old standard set in 2015 by .03 seconds.

Then on Saturday, Holloway teamed up with three other Gators in the 4×400. Holloway split 45.12 on the second leg as Florida clocked the second fastest time in collegiate indoor history, which was superior to the collegiate indoor record. The Gators didn’t win, however, as Southern California clocked the second fastest time in world history and established the collegiate record.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Elinor Purrier, New Hampshire

Senior | Mid-Distance
Montgomery, Vermont

Elinor Purrier already owned one of the fastest miles in collegiate indoor history before this past weekend.

We think Purrier just wanted to improve on her time a smidge.

This past weekend at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston, Purrier broke the tape in 4:26.55. That is the second fastest mile in collegiate indoor history and the fastest mile run by a collegiate woman since 2009 when Jenny Barringer set the current record of 4:25.91.

It’s shaping up to be a fast race for the NCAA title next month as Purrier and Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer both sit top-5 all-time.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – David Ribich, Western Oregon

Senior | Distance
Enterprise, Oregon

A good way to pick up National Athlete of the Week honors is to break a record. Western Oregon’s David Ribich did just last weekend.

The senior out of Enterprise, Oregon, ran an all-time, all-conditions NCAA Division II best in the 3000 with a time of 7:50.81. Finishing fourth at the Husky Classic behind NCAA Division I athletes from Washington, Arkansas and Colorado State, Ribich hit an NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifying Mark while finishing ahead of close to 100 other runners. Ribich’s time was also the seventh-best in the nation across all divisions on the week.

Ribich sits exactly nine seconds ahead of his nearest competitor on the NCAA Division II Descending Order List.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Skylyn Webb, UC-Colorado Springs

Junior | Sprints
Delta, Colorado

Skylyn Webb was on fire this past weekend at the Don Kirby Elite.

The junior from Delta, Colorado, ran the 10th-fastest 800 time across all divisions in the nation with an NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifying Mark of 2:06.20. That time puts her atop the NCAA Division II Descending Order List this year, and it also puts her in fourth in NCAA Division II history in the event.

Additionally, the junior ran the sixth-best 400 time in NCAA Division II this year at 55.43, good for a provisional mark.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Jeremy Hernandez, Ramapo

Senior | Mid-Distance
Clifton, New Jersey

Jeremy Hernandez shined on the big stage this past weekend.

Hernandez, running at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational, went toe to toe against some of the best runners in the nation – regardless of division and classification.

The senior from Clifton, New Jersey finished 10th in the mile with a time of 4:01.83, which is the fifth fastest mile in NCAA Division III history. Hernandez won his heat, which included athletes from Yale, Syracuse and Georgetown.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Emily Richards, Ohio Northern

Senior | Mid-Distance
Delaware, Ohio

The NCAA Division III record book isn’t safe from Emily Richards.

After coming up short in the 800 at the Camel City Elite, Richards returned to the track for that same event this past weekend at the Grand Valley State Big Meet.

Richards wouldn’t be denied twice in a row.

The talented senior ripped off an all-time NCAA DIII best of 2:05.28, breaking Christy Cazzola’s former standard of 2:05.76 run in 2013. Richards won her heat going away as she beat Illinois State’s Hattie Plumb to the finish line by nearly five seconds.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Sean Bailey, Western Texas College

Sophomore | Sprints
Spanish Town, Jamaica

Sean Bailey set an all-time, all-conditions NJCAA best in the 600 yards this past weekend with a time of 1:08.51 (OT) at the Indoor Gorilla Classic.

The product out of Jamaica broke Tabarie Henry’s record that was set back in 2009. His time converts to 1:16.74 in the 600 meters, which is good for the top spot on the NJCAA Descending Order List.

Bailey also anchored his 4×400 relay squad to a victory at the meet with a time of 3:10.78, besting 48 other squads, including some from the NCAA Division I level.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Esther Gitahi, New Mexico JC

Sophomore | Distance
Nakuru, Kenya

Esther Gitahi was dominate at the Don Kirby Elite in the 3000.

The native of Kenya won the event title over a plethora of NCAA Division I athletes with a time of 9:39.99, hitting a NJCAA Automatic Qualifying Mark and jumping to the top of the Descending Order List.

Gitahi wasn’t done, though, as she also ran a 4:49.66 in the mile, finishing fourth overall, but placing her just a little under a second from the top spot on the NJCAA Descending Order List.