NCAA & NJCAA OTF National Athletes of the Week (May 7)
NEW ORLEANS – As we hit the final full month of the collegiate outdoor track & field season, athletes are picking up the pace in a major way.
Here are eight athletes who stood out the most 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.
- NCAA Division I Men – Trevor Stewart, North Carolina A&T
- NCAA Division I Women – Kayla White, North Carolina A&T
- NCAA Division II Men – Myles Pringle, Ashland
- NCAA Division II Women – Alicja Konieczek, Western Colorado
- NCAA Division III Men – David Kornack, UW-Eau Claire
- NCAA Division III Women – Karen Wethal, UW-Stevens Point
- NJCAA Division I Men – Andrew Kibet, Hutchinson (Kan.)
- NJCAA Division I Women – Yoveinny Mota, Barton (Kan.)
- NJCAA Division III Men – Zenron Chance, Kingsborough (N.Y.)
- NJCAA Division III Women – Nwaneka Chinedu, Union County (N.Y.)
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.
Junior | Sprints
Trevor Stewart keeps getting faster.
Two weeks ago at the LSU Alumni Gold, Stewart clocked the nation’s second fastest time over 400 meters (44.54). That was a PR for the junior from Lorton, Virginia, and made him the 22nd fastest performer in collegiate history.
He wasn’t done. Not by a long shot.
This past weekend at the MEAC Championships, Stewart lowered his PR to 44.38 and took over the national lead. That also made him the 14th fastest performer in collegiate history.
Later in the meet, Stewart returned to the track to notch the nation’s seventh fastest time in the 200.
This is the first time that both Stewart and the North Carolina A&T men’s program have been bestowed with a National Athlete of the Week honor during the outdoor season.
Senior | Sprints & Jumps
Kayla White introduced herself to the nation at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships this past March in Birmingham, Alabama. It was inside the friendly confines of the Birmingham CrossPlex where she scored the most points out of any woman in NCAA DI meet history who attempted the 200/60H double and was named National Women’s Track Athlete of the Year for her efforts.
The senior from Miami, Florida came back on the national radar this past weekend in a big way.
White established wind-legal national leads in the 100 and 200 at the MEAC Championships. She ran 10.96 in the 100 – which tied her as the fifth fastest performer in collegiate history – and then doubled back with a 22.52 in the 200. Both were also MEAC records.
This is the first time that both White and the North Carolina A&T women’s program have been bestowed with a National Athlete of the Week honor during the outdoor season.
Senior | Sprints & Jumps
Myles Pringle was an easy choice for National Athlete of the Week after scoring 30.5 points as an individual at the GLIAC Championships over the weekend.
Pringle won individual conference titles in the 200 and 400, helped Ashland’s title-winning 4×400 relay team and placed second overall in the high jump. His point total alone was enough to outscore four teams at the meet.
His time of 45.54 in the 400 made him the division leader by almost a full second, while his 20.90 performance in the 200 has him at 13th overall.
This is the second time in his career that Pringle has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. He also won the honor back on March 28, 2017.
Redshirt Senior | Distance
Alicja Konieczek held her own against some of the best in the nation at the Payton Jordan Invitational.
The redshirt senior took third overall in a stacked steeplechase field comprised mostly of NCAA DI athletes with a time of 9:52.32. The performance included besting Adams State’s Eilish Flanagan, who is now the No. 2 ranked athlete in NCAA DII in the event, by almost three seconds.
Not only that, but Konieczek’s time also slots in as the fifth best performance in NCAA DII history.
Konieczek has now been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season three times in her career. She accomplished the feat once during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Senior | Throws
If David Kornack keeps throwing like he has, he might just take up residency on this list.
This past weekend at the WIAC Championships, Kornack took home the individual title in the shot put with a heave of 19.20m (63-0). That was his second mark of 63 feet or better outdoors, making him one of just three men in NCAA DIII history to accomplish that multiple times.
Here’s more: Kornack’s latest throw landed him eighth all-time in NCAA DIII history.
This is the second week in a row that Kornack has been named National Athlete of the Week.
Senior | Throws
Karen Wethal double dipped this past weekend at the WIAC Championships.
Wethal won the individual title in the discus throw and seized the national lead all with one flick of the wrist. Then she increased her national lead two attempts later for good measure.
The senior from Evansville, Wisconsin, came out on fire in Platteville. Her first throw went 49.81m (163-5) – which would have given her the event title by nearly two feet over UW-Eau Claire’s Erica Oawster, who is now the nation’s second-ranked athlete in the event – but she wasn’t done there. Wethal improved that mark to 49.99m (164-0) on her third attempt to become the 16th best performer in NCAA DIII history.
This is the first time that both Wethal and the UW-Stevens Point programs have been honored as National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.
Freshman | Mid-Distance
Andrew Kibet was the choice for National Athlete of the Week after winning a battle for the national lead at the Region VI Championships.
The freshman competed in the 1500 and outran the No. 2 ranked athlete in the nation by just 0.11 seconds to win the event with a 3:47.89. The mark is the 10th-best ever ran in JUCO history.
Kibet won individual regional titles in both the 1500 and the 800, where he ran a 1:51.22 and had an even smaller margin of victory with a 0.02 gap between the second-place finisher.
The Eldoret, Kenya native is the first athlete, male or female, to win a National Athlete of the Week award during the outdoor season in program history.
Freshman | Sprints and Hurdles
Yoveinny Mota is a National Athlete of the Week honoree for the second time in the past three weeks as she moved into the record books with her performance this past weekend.
The standout freshman posted the sixth-best performance of all-time in the 100H with a 13.31 showing to win the NJCAA Region VI individual title. She also ran a leg of the title-winning 4×100 relay that got the baton around in 45.39.
Barton (Kan.) CC ended up winning the team title at the meet thanks large in part to Mota’s efforts.
Sophomore | Sprints & Hurdles
St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Zenron Chance is the National Athlete of the Week for the second time this season after winning a battle for the 400H crown at the Tom Farrell Classic.
Teammates Chance and Akeem Aaron were in a tightly contested race for the national lead in the 400H. Chance was able to outlast his teammate and pick up the victory in the event in 54.95 to take over as the new No. 1 ranked athlete at the JUCO DIII level.
The two finished third and fourth, respectively, behind two professional athletes.
It is the third time in his career that Chance has captured a National Athlete of the Week honor during the outdoor season.
Sophomore | Sprints & Jumps
Freehold, New Jersey
Nwaneka Chinedu is a National Athlete of the Week selection after becoming a national leader at the Tom Farrell Classic over the weekend.
The sophomore now leads the country in the high jump after she won the event with a 1.55m (5-1) against a field that included NCAA DI athletes. She also ran a leg of the third-place 4×100 team which came in at 52.90. The unit is ranked third in JUCO DIII.
It is just the second time in program history that an Owl athlete was selected as a National Athlete of the Week. Chinedu joins Iyanah Hawley who won the honor during the 2016 season.