NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (Feb. 19)
NEW ORLEANS – The days might be winding down on the indoor track & field season, but athletes around the nation show no signs of stopping their incredible performances.
Here are eight of those performances that stood out the most during this past weekend and were honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as National Athletes of the Week.
- NCAA Division I Men – Notre Dame DMR
- NCAA Division I Women – Michigan DMR
- NCAA Division II Men – Valentin Charles, Texas A&M-Kingsville
- NCAA Division II Women – Kristen Metcalfe, Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
- NCAA Division III Men – David Kornack, UW-Eau Claire
- NCAA Division III Women – Emily Bryson, Brandeis
- NJCAA Men – Israel Oloyede, Paradise Valley CC
- NJCAA Women – Devia Brown, Central Arizona
Find out more about each of 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 the one NJCAA division that sponsors indoor track & field).
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.
South Bend, Indiana
Dylan Jacobs to Edward Cheatham to Samuel Voelz to Yared Nuguse.
What does that spell?
If those four athletes are part of a DMR team, like they are at Notre Dame, then it’s the second fastest all-conditions time in NCAA history. That Irish quartet got the baton around in 9:26.10 this past weekend at the Alex Wilson Invitational, holding off a charge from a stacked Wisconsin team that clocked the third fastest all-conditions time in collegiate history (9:26.24).
It should be an incredible battle for the DMR title at the NCAA Indoor Championships this year as 12 of the top-16 teams at the moment have notched sub-9:30:00 marks.
This is the first time in the history of the National Athlete of the Week award that it has gone to a men’s relay team during the indoor season.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
There had been a logjam atop the Descending Order List in the DMR until Michigan fixed that in 10 minutes, 54.47 seconds this past weekend.
The Wolverine quartet of Alice Hill, Chloe Foster, Aurora Rynda and Hannah Meier combined to not only take over the national lead by a full second, but secured the fastest oversized track time in collegiate history and broke the Big Ten record in the process. The previous all-time best on an oversized track was 10:55.01 set by Washington in 2012.
We should see those women take their shot at NCAA glory in less than one month.
This is the first time in the history of the National Athlete of the Week award that the honor has been given to a women’s relay team during the indoor season.
Senior / Combined Events
Valentin Charles is once again a National Athlete of the Week selection after notching another mark that stands in the NCAA Division II record book.
The Rennes, France native posted a score of 5493 to win the heptathlon at the Lone Star Conference Championships, a mark that was the 12th-best performance in the event in NCAA DII history. It was just behind his personal best performance of 5544 from earlier this year that made him the fifth-best performer of all-time in the event.
He leads the nation in the heptathlon this season.
This is the second time that Charles has earned this honor this season.
Senior | Distance
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Kristen Metcalfe is a National Athlete of the Week selection after adding herself to the record book yet again this season.
The Mississauga, Ontario native won the 800 in 2:06.22 at the USC Open Indoor meet over the weeknd. The time made her the sixth-best athlete in the event in NCAA Division II history.
Metcalfe now holds the sixth, seventh and ninth best performances all-time in the event.
She also won the mile and helped her squad to a third-place finish in the 4×400 a the USC Open to go with the record-breaking showing.
Metcalfe is the first Embry-Riddle athlete to earn the National Athlete of the Week honor during the indoor season.
Senior | Throws
David Kornack would have won the shot put competition at the Titan Challenge this past weekend with his first throw alone, but he was just getting warmed up.
Kornack heaved the sphere 18.83m (61-9½) on his second attempt to notch the third best mark in NCAA DIII history. That was also the best throw in the division since 2015 and only the third to eclipse 61 feet, 8 inches since 1983.
He finished runner-up twice at the NCAA Championships in the shot put last year, but with throws like these, chances are he could be standing on top of the podium in less than one month.
This is the first time that Kornack has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season and the first time that the honor has been given to a Blugold male athlete since 2016.
Senior | Distance
Emily Bryson has been opening eyes all season long.
But what she did this past weekend at the Fasttrack Last Chance left a lasting impact.
Bryson, competing in the mile against a talented field, crossed the finish line first in 4:45.58 and clocked the fourth fastest time in NCAA DIII history. This was the second time this season that Bryson put her name on the all-time chart as she also went 4:48.36 last week for what was then the seventh fastest performance.
This is the first time that Bryson has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season and the first time that a Brandeis woman has been honored in program history.
Sophomore | Throws
Israel Oloyede picked up another National Athlete of the Week selection after etching his name atop the record book.
The sophomore set the NJCAA record in the weight throw with a best toss of 20.45m (67-1¼) at this past weekend’s NAU Tune Up. The performance won the meet against a field of NCAA Division I athletes.
This is the second time that Oloyede earned a National Athlete of the Week honor during the 2019 indoor season.
Sophomore | Throws
Devia Brown is a National Athlete of the Week for the second week in a row after she broke another NJCAA record.
The standout sophomore posted a best mark of 17.76m (58-3¼) to set the NJCAA indoor record in the shot put at the NAU Tune Up. It is also second overall on the season’s all-college rankings across all divisions.
Brown leads the NJCAA this season in the shot put and is also second overall in the weight throw.