NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (Feb. 4)
NEW ORLEANS – The first collegiate record bit the dust in the 2020 collegiate indoor track & field season!
You better believe those athletes involved were among the eight honorees as National Athletes of the Week on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
- NCAA Division I Men – Oregon DMR
- NCAA Division I Women – Jasmine Moore, Georgia
- NCAA Division II Men – Derek Holdsworth, Western Oregon
- NCAA Division II Women – Zada Swoopes, West Texas A&M
- NCAA Division III Men – Dylan Cooper, UW-Eau Claire
- NCAA Division III Women – Chelsea Yang, Rhode Island College
- NJCAA Men – Kurt Powdar, Hinds (Miss.) CC
- NJCAA Women – Demisha Roswell, New Mexico JC
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.
Oregon’s quartet of James West, Jacob Miller, Charlie Hunter and Cooper Teare was what it was all quacked up to be.
West, Miller, Hunter and Teare teamed up to break the collegiate record in the Men’s Distance Medley Relay on Friday night at the Razorback Invitational, nearly 12 years after Texas set the former standard on the same track. The Ducks got the baton around in 9:24.52, a full second ahead of what the Longhorns did back in 2008.
As far as the race went, it wasn’t even close as Oregon ran unopposed.
West got out to a quick start in the 1200 with his 2:53.53. Miller followed suit with a 47.47 split in the 400. Then Hunter turned four laps in 1:48.08 to give Teare a great chance at closing the book on the near 12-year-old record in the final leg.
Teare ripped off a 3:55.45 solo 1600, more than two seconds faster than what Leo Manzano ran for Texas in February of 2008. And with that, the record went to the Ducks.
This is the second year in a row that a Men’s DMR team has been honored as a collective National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. The last time it happened was on February 19, 2019, when Notre Dame took home the award.
Freshman | Horizontal Jumps
Grand Prairie, Texas
Stop us if you heard this before: Georgia has a really good freshman triple jumper.
We all know how that turned out last time (We’re talking about Keturah Orji).
Well, Moore has been dynamite so far for the Bulldogs this season and came within three inches of topping what Orji did as a freshman in 2015. Moore bounded 13.90m (45-7¼) at the Razorback Invitational to post the second best mark by a freshman in collegiate history. Orji went 13.98m (45-10½) five years ago to establish the American junior record as well.
If Moore posted that mark last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships, she would have finished runner-up to eventual The Bowerman finalist Yanis David of Florida.
Moore becomes the fourth athlete in program history to be named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season, joining two-time honoree Orji, Lynna Irby and Kendell Williams.
Junior | Distance
Derek Holdsworth is making a name for himself.
The junior from Williamsburg, Virginia, set a new Western Oregon and Great Northwest Athletic record in the 800 after winning the UW Invitational in 1:47.74 – a national leader. His time is also tied for the third-fastest among all collegians this year.
Holdsworth is the second athlete from Western Oregon to be named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season, joining four-time recipient David Ribich.
Junior | Throws
Zada Swoopes, a five-time All-American and an NCAA champ in 2018, is proving she’s ready to be back on top.
The junior from Whitewright, Texas, finished third in the shot put at the New Mexico Team Open behind a pair of talented NCAA DI athletes with a heave of 16.00m (52-6). Her mark surpasses the automatic qualification standard for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships and is currently the national leader in the event.
It should also be mentioned that only three athletes threw farther than Swoopes a year ago at the NCAA DII level.
This is the fourth time an athlete from West Texas A&M has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season and the second time this year. Fatim Affessi earned the honor on January 21.
Senior | Combined Events
Dylan Cooper wants to leave no doubt he’s a threat to sweep the multis in 2020.
After a junior year in which he PR’d in three consecutive decathlons and finished runner-up at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, Cooper continued to ride that wave of momentum into the indoor season, where he notched another PR this past weekend in the heptathlon.
Cooper totaled 5325 points at the Warren Bowlus Open to become the seventh best performer in NCAA Division III history. That was also the third best score ever turned in this early in the season by an NCAA DIII athlete.
This marks the second year in a row that an athlete from UW-Eau Claire was named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. David Kornack earned the honor twice last year for his efforts in the shot put.
Junior | Throws
Warwick, Rhode Island
Chelsea Yang made history this weekend at the NEICAAA Indoor Championships.
The junior from Warwick, Rhode Island, heaved the weight 19.42m (63-8¾) to match the eighth best performer in NCAA DIII history. Not only that, but it was the best throw ever by an NCAA DIII athlete this early in the season.
A mark like that would have won the NCAA title in three of the past four years.
This is the first time in program history that an athlete from Rhode Island College has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.
Freshman | Hurdles
Kurt Powdar is hurdling in rare territory.
Powdar, a freshman from Chesapeake, Virginia, took control of the national lead in the 60 Meter Hurdles after clocking 7.76 in the prelims of the South Alabama Jaguar Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama. That time makes him the No. 5 hurdler in NJCAA history, and the fastest since 2015.
This is the second time that a male athlete from Hinds CC has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Powdar joins Tyler Terry, who earned the award back in 2017.
Sophomore | Hurdles
Demisha Roswell is just a blink away from a long-standing NJCAA record.
Roswell, a sophomore from Kingston, Jamaica, made a major improvement to her national-leading time in the 60 Meter Hurdles. Having opened the year with a lifetime best of 8.37 for No. 3 all-time, she climbed up to No. 2 in NJCAA history at the New Mexico Team Open at Albuquerque – first with an 8.21 in the prelims, then improving to 8.19 to win the final. She is just 0.04 seconds off the national record that has stood since 2008.
This is the fifth time that a female athlete from New Mexico JC has been named National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Roswell is the first to nab the weekly honor since Victoria Villanueva last year.