NCAA & NJCAA OTF National Athletes of the Week (May 3)

NEW ORLEANS – Collegiate records? Check.

All-time top-10 divisional marks? You got it.

Here are our National Athletes of the Week in NCAA and NJCAA Track & Field for May 3, 2022!

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 track & field athletes, when applicable (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions and 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 – Mykolas Alekna, California

Freshman | Throws
Vilnius, Lithuania

It was only a matter of time.

Mykolas Alekna finally ascended to the top of the all-time collegiate chart in the discus.

Alekna, son of two-time Olympic gold medalist Virgiljus Alekna, launched the platter 67.68m (222-1) on his first throw at “The Big Meet” this past weekend to shatter the former collegiate record of 67.66m (222-0) held by Hannes Hopley since 2004. That was also the farthest effort by a teenager in world history and bettered his previous seasonal best by more than three feet.

Remember how we said it was on his first throw? Well, Alekna wasn’t done, as he notched three other marks that now reside among the all-time top-7 performances in collegiate history: No. 3 (67.52m/221-6), No. 6 (67.15m/220-4) and No. 7 (67.03m/219-11).

This is the second time this season that Alekna has been named National Athlete of the Week. Alekna previously earned the honor on March 29 following his massive season opener.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Lamara Distin, Texas A&M

Junior | Jumps
Hanover, Jamaica

Lamara Distin is at the top of her game.

It won’t be long until she’s at the top of the record book, either.

Distin, competing at the Texas A&M Alumni Muster, cleared 1.97m (6-5½) to move into a tie for No. 4 on the all-time collegiate chart with Tanya Hughes, whose bar had set a collegiate record 20 years ago. That mark by Distin also bettered her own Jamaican record of 1.96m (6-5).

As the only athlete left in the competition, Distin asked the bar to be raised to 2.00m (6-6¾) to attempt a would-be collegiate record. Distin was unsuccessful on all three of her tries.

Distin has been nothing short of consistent this season so far. The Aggie standout cleared 1.93m (6-4) in four of the five meets in which she competed, including two over 1.96m (6-5).

This is the third time this season that a female athlete from Texas A&M has been named National Athlete of the Week: Distin joins Avi’Tal Wilson-Perteete (March 22) and Charokee Young (April 5) in that regard. Come to think of it, that’s one per month so far during the outdoor campaign.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Clement Duigou, Adams State

Junior | Distance
Lille, France

Barriers weren’t going to stop Clement Duigou from running his way up the NCAA DII all-time chart.

It was at the Payton Jordan Invitational on Friday night that Duigou ran 8:29.05 in the Men’s Steeplechase to win the second section by more than nine seconds. That cemented Duigou’s spot as the second-fastest performer in NCAA DII history behind former Adams State great Tabor Stevens, who set the divisional record of 8:26.81 back in 2015. In addition to sitting atop the NCAA DII leaderboard, he is also ranked third among all collegians this year.

It was only a few weeks ago that Duigou first cracked the all-time list. He ran 8:36.25 at the Mt. SAC Relays – good to make him the No. 7 performer. That performance is now the 10th fastest time recorded by a DII athlete.

This is the first time since 2016 a male athlete from Adams State has been named National Athlete of the Week. Sydney Gidabuday earned the honor on April 19, 2016.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Kyla Richardson, Fresno Pacific

Senior | Sprints
Walnut, California

Three events. Three wins. Three meet records.

No one was better than Kyla Richardson at the PacWest Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The senior from Fresno Pacific scored 22.5 points to lead the Sunbirds to a second-place finish in the team standings. Richardson’s day started off by toting the baton on the victorious 4×100 relay that won in a meet record 44.92. She then captured individual titles in the 100 and 200 in record-setting times of 11.31 (+2.3) and 23.12 (+2.6), respectively. Richardson was named the PacWest Women’s Track Athlete of the Meet for her efforts.

Richardson is the NCAA DII in both the 100 and 200, while the 4×100 relay is ranked No. 3 on the Descending Order list. She is also part of the Sunbirds’ 4×400 relay that is ranked third with a time of 3:39.60.

This is the first time in program history a female athlete from Fresno Pacific has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Greg Poloso, Rowan

Junior | Throws
Wayne, New Jersey

Greg Poloso joined the upper echelon of javelin throwers in NCAA Division III history this past weekend at the Lion’s Invitational in Ewing, New Jersey.

Poloso launched the implement 70.39m (230-11) on his second attempt of the competition to move up to No. 8 in NCAA DIII history. That was the best mark by an NCAA DIII athlete since 2018, when Seth Nonnenmacher hit three all-time top-10 marks during that season, topping out at 73.75m (242-0) to win the event crown at the NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships.

Rowan has a decorated history of javelin throwers. Most notable is Mike Juskus, who won both the NCAA DI and NCAA DIII titles back in 1981 when top NCAA DIII athletes could compete at the NCAA DI Championships. Juskus won with a heave of the old javelin at 83.26m (273-2).

This is the first time since 2018 that an athlete from Rowan has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Jeffrey Tucker earned the honor on April 17, 2018.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Malissa Lindsey, Connecticut College

Junior | Sprints
Chicago, Illinois

Two individual events.

Two conference titles.

Two national-leading marks.

Malissa Lindsey had herself a day at the NESCAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Lindsey completed the 100-200 double with a pair of NCAA DIII-topping marks: a wind-aided 11.76 in the former and the wind-legal 24.14 in the latter. Earlier in the meet, Lindsey helped Connecticut College capture the 4×100 relay crown with a blistering anchor leg.

This is the first time in program history that an athlete from Connecticut College has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.

NJCAA MEN – Chris Robinson, South Plains (Texas)

Freshman | Sprints/Hurdles
Tallahassee, Florida

Chris Robinson made a huge improvement in the 400-meter hurdles at the Corky/Crofoot Shootout at Texas Tech.

He lowered his PR from 50.96 to 49.18 – an improvement of 1.78 seconds – to win the event and break the NJCAA record of 49.29 that had stood since 1994. His time makes him the sixth-fastest collegian this year combining all divisions.

The SPC standout is the reigning NJCAA champion in the event and also had an impressive indoor season, winning the 600 meters (1:16.99) and finishing second in the 60 hurdles (7.87).

Robinson is the seventh individual male athlete from South Plains to be named National Athlete of the Week for indoor track & field.

NJCAA WOMEN – Hilda Chebet, Iowa Western CC

Freshman | Distance
Rift Valley, Kenya

Hilda Chebet came oh-so-close to an all-time NJCAA 5000-meter best at the Drake Relays.

Chebet’s time of 16:07.40 gave her a second-place finish and ranks her No. 2 on the NJCAA all-time chart, just off the best of 16:07.03. The Iowa Western CC standout – who also leads the NJCAA 1500 list this year at 4:30.82 – was a three-time champion at the NJCAA Indoor Championships in March, winning the mile, 3000 and 5000. She was also second in the 1000 as she contributed 38 points to Iowa Western CC’s winning total of 160.

This is Chebet’s second time being named National Athlete of the Week after earning the honor once indoors. She is the second female athlete from Iowa Western to earn this award in outdoor track & field.