NCAA & NJCAA OTF National Athletes of the Week (April 30)

NEW ORLEANS – We saw some incredible performances this past weekend.

On a weekend headlined by various relay carnivals, individual efforts rocked the national landscape.

Here are 10 of those athletes who stood out the most 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 each of these athletes by clicking their names or by 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 indoor track & field athletes (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions and the two NJCAA divisions that sponsor outdoor 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.

NCAA DIVISION I MEN – Mondo Duplantis, LSU

Freshman | Pole Vault
Lafayette, Louisiana

Mondo Duplantis put on a show at the LSU Invitational on Saturday.

And a near 23-year-old collegiate record has been put on notice.

Duplantis cleared 5.94m (19-5¾) to win the event title and become the second best performer with the second best performance in collegiate outdoor history. That mark topped Shawn Barber – the former holder of both of those spots and a 2015 finalist for The Bowerman – by one inch.

The collegiate record of 5.98m (19-7½) was set nearly 23 years ago by Lawrence Johnson of Tennessee. Johnson broke the former record of 5.86m (19-2¾) on May 10, 1996, with his vault of 5.87m (19-3) and then bettered it by more than four inches to the current standard 15 days later.

Duplantis wanted to make sure he didn’t just squeak over the bar for a new record. He raised the marker to 6.01m (19-8½) to try to top it by a full inch. The freshman phenom took three attempts at the record height, but clipped the bar on all three attempts.

This is the first time that Duplantis has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Duplantis is also the first male athlete from LSU to earn the honor since Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in 2016.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Janeek Brown, Arkansas

Sophomore | Sprints & Hurdles
Kingston, Jamaica

When someone puts their name alongside the great Jackie Joyner-Kersee, you know they did something incredible. That’s exactly what Janeek Brown accomplished this past weekend at the Arkansas National Relay Championships.

Brown turned in the second fastest 100H/200 one-day double in world history on Friday, only topped by one of the all-time greats.

Let that sink in for a second.

Brown got it started in the 100H when she scorched the track to the tune of 12.57, which tied her as the fifth best performer with the ninth best performance in collegiate history. It also happens to be the fastest time turned in by a collegian before the month of May.

Then Brown returned to the track in the 200 and won that event title in 22.67. She is now ranked second nationally in the half-lap sprint.

Oh. Brown also chipped in legs of the title-winning 4×100 and Shuttle Hurdle Relay teams.

This marks the first National Athlete of the Week honor for Brown and the first time that an Arkansas woman has earned the award since 2015. The Razorbacks cleaned up four years ago with three honors: Sandi Morris won two, while Alex Gochenour won the other.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Josh Boateng, Texas A&M Commerce

Junior | Throws
St. George’s, Grenada

Josh Boateng was an easy selection for National Athlete of the Week after he continued to climb the NCAA DII record book at the ACU Oliver Jackson Twilight.

The junior recorded a best mark of 61.00m (200-1) to win the discus, which made him the fourth-best all-time performer in NCAA DII history. The mark would also sit sixth currently at the NCAA DI level and was the fourth-best performance by a collegiate athlete this past weekend.

Along with leading the nation in the discus the St. George’s. Grenada native is also fourth overall in the shot put.

It is the first time in school history that any athlete has won a National Athlete of the Week award during the outdoor season.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Daisy Osakue, Angelo State

Junior | Throws
Turin, Italy

Daisy Osakue bettered her own NCAA DII record in the discus this past weekend in a big way.

The junior had a record-breaking toss of 61.35m (201-3) at the ACU Oliver Jackson Twilight to shatter the old national mark by four feet. The mark would sit fourth overall at the NCAA DI level so far this season. And it’s not like she just had one big toss or something, because Osakue’s top-3 marks all went over 59.08m (193-10) and rank as the top-3 by any collegiate athlete from this past weekend.

It is the second time this season and the third time in her career that Osakue has been chosen as a National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – David Kornack, UW-Eau Claire

Senior | Throws
Edgar, Wisconsi
n

David Kornack is at it again: NCAA Division III record book, beware.

Kornack, whose name is scattered about the annals of indoor history, left his mark on the outdoor chart this past weekend at the Drake Relays.

Competing against a strong field of athletes from several collegiate divisions – namely NCAA Division I – Kornack didn’t back down. Kornack won the event with a heave of 19.38m (63-7) and became just the third man in NCAA DIII history to eclipse the 63-foot barrier outdoors. That is also the seventh best performance in NCAA DIII history as well.

Kornack put together a strong series otherwise. He launched four of his five attempts farther than 60 feet, including his fifth throw of 18.93m (62-1¼), which is also among the all-time top-15 at the NCAA DIII level.

This is the first time that Kornack has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. He is also the first male athlete from UW-Eau Claire to earn the honor (Erica Oawster captured the award for the wome’s program last year on May 15).

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Jessica Fields, Redlands

Junior | Hurdles
Las Vegas, Nevada

Jessica Fields pieced together quite the meet at the SCIAC Championships this past weekend.

With conference bragging rights on the line, Fields dominated the hurdle events and cemented her spot atop the NCAA Division III Descending Order List.

Fields opened things up in the 100H, where she clocked a time of 14.10 to win the individual title and take over the national lead by .09 seconds. Then she turned her attention to the 400H and ran a PR of 1:01.05, which tied her for the national lead with Emory’s Dilys Osei.

This is the first time that both Fields and the Redlands women’s program has been honored with a National Athlete of the Week award during the outdoor season. Darren Centi gave the Bulldogs their first outdoor honor in school history back on May 5, 2015.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Kenny Bednarek, Indian Hills (Iowa) CC

Freshman | Sprints
Rice Lake, Wisconsin

For the second time this outdoor season, Kenny Bednarek is a National Athlete of the Week after winning the 200 at the Drake Relays.

Bednarek didn’t just win it: He dominated. The freshman sensation posted a time of 20.29 to win the event by .33 seconds against a field of professional athletes.

The time makes the Rice Lake, Wisconsin native the third-best performer in NJCAA history. It was also the second-fastest mark posted by a collegiate athlete this past weekend.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Winrose Chesang, Iowa Central CC

Sophomore | Distance
Kenya

Winrose Chesang is a National Athlete of the Week after adding her name to the record book over the weekend.

The sophomore posted the third-best performance of all-time in NJCAA history with a 16:33.35 effort in the 5000 at the Drake Relays. She finished as the top collegiate (fifth overall) in the event comprised of NCAA DI athletes.

It was the ninth-best time ran by any collegiate athlete in the event this past weekend.

Chesang is the ninth athlete in Iowa Central CC history to earn the nod for National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.

NJCAA DIVISION III MEN – Edgar Rosa, RC-Gloucester CC

Sophomore | Throws

Edgar Rosa was honored with a National Athlete of the Week selection after taking over the national lead in the javelin over the weekend.

The sophomore placed third overall at the Lion Invitational with a best toss of 56.63m (185-9) in the event. He also competed at the Delaware Open days later in which he won the hammer with a best throw of 37.89m (124-4).

Rosa is the 10th athlete in program history to earn the national weekly honor during the outdoor season.

NJCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Mercedes Planavsky, Hudson Valley CC

Sophomore | Distance
Ballston Spa, New York

Mercedes Planavsky is a National Athlete of the Week honoree after having a ridiculous weekend at the NJCAA Region III Championships.

The sophomore posted the nation’s leading performance in the steeplechase after running a 12:50.79 to capture first place. She wasn’t done there as she went on to claim first place in the 800, 1500, 5000, 10,000 and 4×400. The Ballston Spa native was named the Track Athlete of the Meet after winning all six events that she entered.

This is the first time in program history that an athlete has won the National Athlete of the Week award during the outdoor season.