NCAA National Athletes of the Week (December 17)

NEW ORLEANS – Winter break might be quickly approaching, but that didn’t stop athletes from heating up the track and the field this past weekend across the nation.

Here are six athletes who stood out from the rest and were named National Athletes of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.

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 as well as the NJCAA, when applicable).

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 – Tejaswin Shankar, Kansas State

Junior | High Jump
New Delhi, India

Tejaswin Shankar got off to a hot start to the indoor season.

Shankar, who is looking to build off a runner-up finish in the high jump at the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, posted the best pentathlon score in the past 16 years and tied for the national lead in his signature event in one fell swoop.

The junior from New Delhi, India, cleared 2.23m (7-3¾) in the high jump on his way to scoring 4137 points at the Kansas State Winter Pentathlon. He also added marks of 8.31 in the 60H, 6.86m (22-6¼) in the long jump, 11.49m (37-8½) in the shot put and 2:41.62 in the 1000.

This marks the second year in a row that a male athlete from Kansas State has earned National Athlete of the Week honors during the indoor season. Shankar joins Brett Neelly in that regard.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Mikeisha Welcome, Oklahoma

Freshman | Horizontal Jumps
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mikeisha Welcome had a sensational debut for Oklahoma this past weekend.

The freshman from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, bounded 13.35m (43-9¾) to win the individual title at the K-State Winter Invitational. That mark would have placed her sixth at the 2019 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships and earned her First-Team All-America honors.

This is the first time that an Oklahoma athlete has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. It also guarantees that the Big 12 Conference continues its streak of earning a national weekly indoor award every year that it has been offered.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Ryan Brown, Lincoln (Mo.)

Sophomore | Horizontal Jumps
St. Catherine, Jamaica

Ryan Brown soared to the top of the NCAA Division II Descending Order List with a pair of auto qualifying marks this past weekend.

The sophomore from St. Catherine, Jamaica, leapt 7.77m (25-6) in the long jump and then 15.87m (52-1) in the triple jump to seize each of those leads by six or more inches. He won both of those event titles at the 2019 Hoosier Open against a host of NCAA Division I athletes.

This is the first time that a male athlete from Lincoln (Mo.) has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Rene Medley, Lincoln (Mo.)

Senior | Sprints
Kingston, Jamaica

Rene Medley is back up to her old tricks.

The senior from Kingston, Jamaica, clocked the nation’s fastest times this past weekend in both the 60 and the 200. Her time in the 60 of 7.42 now ranks her second at the NCAA Division II level, while her 24.21 in the 200 is a little bit off from her national lead of 23.81 that she set last week at the Bob Timmons Classic.

This is the first time that a female athlete from Lincoln (Mo.) has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Kyle Rollins, St. John Fisher

Junior | Combined Events
Groveland, New York

Kyle Rollins is trying to expand his horizon.

Such was the case this past weekend at the Houghton December Classic where the 2019 NCAA Division III outdoor high jump champion competed in his trademark event as well as the triple jump. True to form, the junior from Groveland, New York, won both.

Rollins cleared 2.07m (6-9½) in the high jump and bounded 14.42m (47-3¾) in the triple jump. He took over the national lead in the former and is now ranked third in the latter.

This is the second time that an athlete from St. John Fisher has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Rollins joins Kyle Koehler from 2016 in that regard.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Mykayla Hoggard, Southern Maine

Sophomore | Sprints & Jumps
Bangor, Maine

One year can make a world of difference.

Or, in Mykayla Hoggard’s case, nearly three feet of it.

Hoggard soared to the national lead in the long jump at the USM I Invitational this past weekend and set a massive PR in the process.

The sophomore from Bangor, Maine, leapt 5.73m (18-9¾), nearly three feet better than the best mark she recorded at this meet last year (4.86m (15-11½) and nearly a full foot better than her previous PR, which was a wind-aided performance last outdoor season.

This is the first time that an athlete from Southern Maine has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.