NCAA & NJCAA OTF National Athletes of the Week (May 14)

NEW ORLEANS – Don’t think for a second that since the postseason is coming up that collegiate track & field athletes are resting on their laurels.

You’d be sadly mistaken.

Here are eight athletes who stood out the most from their peers this past weekend 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 outdoor 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

What goes up must come down, right?

Well, what went up 6.00m (19-8¼) in Fayetteville, Arkansas, this past weekend came down with a collegiate record.

It’s only fitting that Mondo Duplantis broke the collegiate outdoor record in the pole vault at the SEC Outdoor Championships, because he broke the collegiate indoor record at the SEC Indoor Championships. Want to know what makes it doubly fitting? Both meets were hosted by the University of Arkansas.

Mondo picked his heights very carefully this weekend as each of his last two bars had meaning: The first of 5.81m (19-0¾), which he cleared on his first attempt, broke the 25-year-old meet record formerly held by Lawrence Johnson. The last of 6.00m (19-8¼), which he cleared on his third attempt, took down the 23-year-old collegiate record held by – You guessed it! – Lawrence Johnson.

This is the second time in the past three weeks that Mondo has been named National Athlete of the Week.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Yanis David, Florida

Senior | Horizontal Jumps
Lamentin, Guadeloupe

Yanis David had a series to remember this past Saturday at the SEC Outdoor Championships in the triple jump.

David took control of the event with her first two marks and then trumped both with her final two marks of the afternoon, the last of which left her as the second best performer in collegiate history behind a former rival.

The senior effectively won the event title on her second attempt when she bounded 14.03m (46-½) as the closest any other competitor would get would be 13.87m (45-6¼). But she wasn’t done there as she went 14.05m (46-1¼) on her fifth attempt and a whopping 14.35m (47-1) on her sixth and final pass of the runway.

David, this year’s NCAA indoor champion in the event, now only trails 2018 The Bowerman winner Keturah Orji in the record book.

The Gator also claimed the long jump conference crown by over four inches with a season-best leap of 6.65m (21-10) in the second round, one of three jumps over 20 feet, 9 inches. David stands at No. 2 on the collegiate leaderboard in the event.

This is the first time that David has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. She is only the second female athlete from Florida to earn the award, joining Shayla Sanders back on March 29, 2016.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Thomas Staines, CSU-Pueblo

Junior | Distance
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Thomas Staines is a National Athlete of the Week for the second time in his career after posting one of the best times in the nation in the 800 at the Oxy Invitational over the weekend.

The junior ran a 1:47.53 to finish as the top collegiate athlete in the field and second overall behind a professional, while he knocked off a few NCAA DI athletes in the process. The mark ranked seventh in the nation across all collegiate levels over the past week.

Staines is still the only athlete in program history to win the national weekly honor during the outdoor season. He last accomplished the feat back on May 1, 2018.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Julia Howley, Simon Fraser

Redshirt Senior | Distance
St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Julia Howley was an easy choice for National Athlete of the Week after she became the ninth-best performer in NCAA DII history in the steeplechase and won the event title at the GNAC Championships in the process.

The redshirt senior ran a career-best 10:02.45 to win the individual conference championship by 37 seconds. The time sits as the third-best in NCAA DII this season – behind two times ran at the lightning quick Payton Jordan Invitational – and was the 10th-best time across all collegiate levels this past week.

Howley is just the second athlete in program history to win the national weekly award during the outdoor season, joining Lindsey Butterworth who accomplished the feat during the 2015 season.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Patrick Mikel, Loras

Junior | Sprints
Lombard, Illinois

Ever since Patrick Mikel joined the Loras program, he left his mark on the American Rivers Conference Championships.

This year was no different for the junior from Lombard, Illinois, as he scored 22½ points at the annual meet, winning the 200, 400 and helping out on the first-place 4×400 relay. He was named the Most Outstanding Male Track Performer for his efforts.

What is even more notable about his performance is that he bettered his national lead in the 400 to 46.92.

Mikel is the first athlete in program history to be named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Annie Rodenfels, Centre

Senior | Distance
Centreville, Ohio

Annie, get your record.

This past weekend at the Dr. Keeler Invitational hosted by North Central (Ill.), Annie Rodenfels shattered a 13-year-old NCAA DIII record in the steeplechase. She crossed the finish line in 9:58.83 to become the first woman in division history to go sub-10:00.00 in the event and broke the former standard by nearly nine seconds.

Rodenfels has been a force in her final outdoor season. She is currently ranked No. 1 in the steeplechase (obviously), No. 3 in the 5000 (1645.23), No. 5 in the 1500 (4:27.89) and 20th in the 800 (2:13.72), an event she only ran once this outdoor season and captured the Southern Athletic Association title two weeks ago.

This is the second time this season that Rodenfels has been named National Athlete of the Week. She also picked up the honor back on March 19.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Corvell Todd, Hinds CC

Freshman | Jumps

Corvell Todd is the National Athlete of the Week after picking up the win in the high jump at the MCC Relay Invitational Last Chance meet.

The freshman had a best mark of 2.16m (7-1), which ranks him second overall at the NJCAA DI level this season.

Corvell is the first athlete in program history to win a National Athlete of the Week award during the outdoor season.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Marquania Rowell, Meridian CC

Sophomore | Jumps
Opelika, Alabama

Marquania Rowell is a National Athlete of the Week honoree after winning the high jump at the MCC Relay Invitational Last Chance meet over the weekend.

The sophomore posted a best mark of 1.73m (5-8), which now ranks her third in the country in the event at the NJCAA DI level.

It is the first time that Meridian CC has won a National Athlete of the Week award in program history during the outdoor season and is just the second overall in school history across track & field and cross country.