NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (Dec. 10)
NEW ORLEANS – All-time collegiate and divisional top-10 lists weren’t safe on the first true weekend of the collegiate indoor track & field season.
Here are eight athletes who stood out from their peers and dotted the charts on their way to being name National Athletes of the Week on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
- NCAA Division I Men – Edwin Kurgat, Iowa State
- NCAA Division I Women – Katie Izzo, Arkansas
- NCAA Division II Men – Connor McLean, Colorado School of Mines
- NCAA Division II Women – Allie Ludge, Grand Valley State
- NCAA Division III Men – Aidan Ryan, Williams
- NCAA Division III Women – Tia Jones, Ithaca
- NJCAA Men – Cecil Brownridge, Northwest Kansas Tech
- NJCAA Women – Tamia Arnold, Bryant & Stratton
Find out more about each of these runners 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).
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.
Senior | Distance
Edwin Kurgat just keeps rolling along.
Kurgat, who was the men’s individual champion at the 2019 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships just a few weeks ago, won the Men’s Seeded 5000 at the Boston University Season Opener this past weekend in 13:24.04. That made him the 10th best performer with the 10th best performance in collegiate history and also is the fastest record-legal time in the past seven years (Four men are in the top-10 from times run at the 2012 Millrose Games).
This is the first time that an athlete from Iowa State has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. It is also the third year in a row that an athlete from the Big 12 has brought home the honor.
Junior | Distance
Seal Beach, California
A change of scenery is doing Katie Izzo wonders.
Izzo, who transferred to Arkansas from Cal Poly, starred on the grass circuit with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA DI Cross Country Championships and then cemented her name among the all-time greats on the indoor circuit this past weekend.
It was at the Boston University Season Opener where Izzo notched the second fastest mark in collegiate history in the 5000. Izzo crossed the finish line in 15:13.09, less than one second off the four-year-old collegiate record established by Emily Sisson of Providence.
This is the third time in the past four years that a Razorback woman has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Izzo joins Payton Chadwick (2019) and Lexi Weeks (2017) in that regard.
Senior | Combined Events
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Connor McLean registered the sixth best heptathlon score in NCAA DII history in a stupendous effort at the Mines Alumni Classic & Multi this past weekend.
McLean’s score of 5591 points is the current national leader and topped a field that featured athletes from NCAA Division I Colorado and Colorado State. His score was bolstered with a clearance of 5.10m (16-8¾) in the pole vault, a height that is also the top vault in DII.
This is the first time that an athlete from Colorado School of Mines has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.
Senior | Distance
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Allie Ludge kept the momentum going from cross country to the indoor track & field season.
Following a 12th place finish at the NCAA DII Cross Country Championships a few weeks ago, Ludge clocked the seventh best time in NCAA DII history in the 3000 meters at the GVSU Holiday Open. Her winning time of 9:18.04 is the top time in Division II.
This is the third time that a female athlete from Grand Valley State has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Ludge joins the company of Rachael Walters (2018) and Alex Kitz (2015).
Junior | Distance
New York, New York
Aidan Ryan ran from the cross country season right into the record book in NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field.
Ryan, who finished 10th at the NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships last month after posting a perfect record in the regular season, clocked the third fastest mark in NCAA DIII history in the 3000 at the Boston University Season Opener. He crossed the finish line in 8:08.92, just two seconds off the No. 2 mark established by Ben Sathre in 2012.
This is the second time that a male athlete from Williams has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Ryan joins Peter Hale, who earned the nod in 2017.
Freshman | Sprints
Vestal, New York
Tia Jones made a splash in her collegiate debut.
The freshman from Vestal, New York, clocked a time of 7.63 in the 60 at the Greg Page Relays to take command of the early national lead by 0.12 seconds over Terrianna Black of Loras.
Only two women ran faster than 7.63 on the NCAA Division III level last year (Gabrielle Noland of Loras and Evelina Sloboh of Wesley), so Jones is right in the thick of things after making the jump from the prep level.
This is the first time since 2017 that a female athlete from Ithaca has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Jones joins Katherine Pitman in this regard.
Freshman | Sprints
Middletown, New York
Cecil Brownridge III went right to the top of the chart in his collegiate debut.
Brownridge, a freshman from Middletown, New York, took the early national lead in the 400 meters with a 48.81 performance at the Crimson & Gold Invitational. He finished fourth overall behind two NCAA Division I athletes and an unattached runner.
This is the first time an athlete from Northwest Kansas Tech has been named National Athlete of the Week in any of our three sports.
Freshman | Hurdles
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Tamia Arnold is ready to make an impact.
Arnold, a freshman from Virginia Beach, Virginia, had a solid debut in the Christopher Newport Holiday Open, clocking 8.65 in the 60-meter hurdles. That mark is not only the nation’s fastest by a JUCO athlete this year, it also would have placed her fifth in last year’s NJCAA Indoor Championships.
This is the first time an athlete from Bryant & Stratton has been named National Athlete of the Week in any of our three sports.