NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (Jan. 14)

NEW ORLEANS – Collegiate track & field athletes wasted no time posting big marks after returning to action this past weekend.

Here are eight who stood out the most and were named National Athletes of the Week on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

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.

NCAA DIVISION I MEN – Taj Burgess, Rutgers

Junior | Sprints
Jersey City, New Jersey

Taj Burgess turned in an all-time performance this past weekend.

Burgess, a junior from Jersey City, New Jersey, clocked a time of 1:00.80 over 500 meters at the TCNJ Lions Indoor Invitational to become the second fastest performer in collegiate history behind record-holder Brycen Spratling of Pittsburgh at 1:00.63.

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

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Cambrea Sturgis, North Carolina A&T

Sophomore | Sprints
Kannapolis, North Carolina

Cambrea Sturgis wants to prove there is no such thing as a sophomore slump.

Sturgis, a second-year athlete from Kannapolis, North Carolina, scorched the track in the 60 to the tune of 7.15 at the Jim Green Invitational this past weekend. Not only did that mark establish a meet record, it was also the fastest mark ever run by a collegian this early in January.

This is the first time in program history that an athlete from North Carolina A&T has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Devon Moore, Carson-Newman

Junior | Sprints
Baxley, Georgia

Devon Moore wasted no time punching his ticket to the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Moore, a junior hailing from Baxley, Georgia, won the 60 in an NCAA DII automatic qualifying time of 6.71 at the ETSU Track & Field Invitational. His school record and personal best time moves him into second on the NCAA DII performance list.

This is the first time in program history that an athlete from Carson-Newman has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Paola Brena, Franklin Pierce

Sophomore | High Jump
Queretaro, Mexico

Paola Brena soared to the top of the NCAA Division II leaderboard.

Brena, a sophomore from Queretaro, Mexico, established a new Franklin Pierce standard in the high jump with an event-winning clearance of 1.76m (5-9¼) at the Middlebury Winter Classic. Her jumps put her in a tie for the top performance at the NCAA DII level and surpasses the automatic qualifying standard for the national meet.

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

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Alex Scott, UChicago

Senior | Throws
Plover, Wisconsin

Alex Scott is ready to leave his mark as a senior.

Scott, who is a native of Plover, Wisconsin, took over the national lead in the shot put with a heave of 17.53m (57-6¼) this past weekend. Not only did that trump the previous leader by more than two feet, it also marked an all-conditions PR in that event for the thrower and would have placed him third at the NCAA Indoor meet last year.

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

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Parley Hannan, Ithaca

Senior | Distance
Orlean, Virginia

Parley Hannan notched an all-time top-10 mark in NCAA Division III this past weekend at the St. Thomas Aquinas Spartan Invitational.

Hannan, who won the individual title at the 2019 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, cruised to a victory in the Women’s 3000 Meters on Friday. She crossed the finish line in 9:34.22, which put her 15 seconds ahead of the closest competition and made her the 10th fastest performer with the 11th fastest performance in NCAA DIII history.

This marks the second time this season that a female athlete from Ithaca has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Hannan joins Tia Jones, who picked up the honor on December 10.

NJCAA MEN – Courtney Lindsey, Iowa Central CC

Sophomore | Sprints
Rock Island, Illinois

Courtney Lindsey picked up where he left off last year.

Lindsey, a sophomore from Rock Island, Illinois, won the 60 at the Hawkeye Invitational in 6.66 to take the national lead. The mark was just off his best of 6.64 from last year, when he was runner-up at the national championships (He also won the individual title in the 200 meters).

This is the third time that a male athlete from Iowa Central CC has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season, but the first since January of 2018.

NJCAA WOMEN – Eleonora Curtabbi, Iowa Central CC

Freshman | Distance
Almese, Italy

Freshman jitters aren’t a thing for Elenora Curtabbi.

Curtabbi, a freshman from Almese, Italy, won the 3000 at the Hawkeye Invitational in 10:02.17, which gave her the fastest in the nation at the JUCO level. She was a member of the Tritons’ championship cross country squad in the fall, finishing fifth individually.

This is the first time that a female athlete from Iowa Central CC has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season since Adva Cohen took home the honor in February of 2018. Curtabbi is the fourth female athlete in program history to nab the award.