NCAA & NJCAA OTF National Athletes of the Week (April 27)
NEW ORLEANS – National Athletes of the Week for April 27 were announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Here are those individuals who earned national honors from the USTFCCCA for their efforts during the continuing outdoor track & field season.
- NCAA Division I Men – JuVaughn Harrison, LSU
- NCAA Division I Women – Tamara Clark, Alabama
- NCAA Division II Men – Decio Andrade, Angelo State
- NCAA Division II Women – Eilish Flanagan, Adams State
- NCAA Division III Men – Kyle Rollins, St. John Fisher
- NCAA Division III Women – Esther Seeland, Messiah
- NJCAA Division I Men – Matteo Capello, Vincennes (Ind.)
- NJCAA Division I Women – Lashanna Graham, Barton County CC
- NJCAA Division III Men – Cael Rapp, Thaddeus Stevens
- NJCAA Division III Women – Emily Fetzer, College of DuPage
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 10 collegiate outdoor 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.
Senior | Jumps
JuVaughn Harrison made an all-time impact on Saturday afternoon.
Harrison, the high jump-long jump double champion from the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Austin, Texas, and the 2021 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, soared a wind-legal 8.44m (27-8¼) in Round 4 of the long jump to become the sixth-best performer in collegiate history. It was also the best in-season mark by a collegian since Melvin Lister of Arkansas hit 8.49m (27-10¼) in 2000.
Those in attendance had to know something big was coming after Harrison’s first two marks came in at 8.15m (26-9) in Round 1 and 8.18m (26-10) in Round 2. A stiff 1.8 m/s headwind knocked his Round 3 effort down to 7.92m (26-0), but everything aligned for him in Round 4.
This is the second time this season that a male athlete from LSU has been named National Athlete of the Week (Terrance Laird earned the honor back on March 30).
Junior | Sprints
High Point, North Carolina
Tamara Clark is a double-event national leader with an all-time mark to show for it.
Competing at the LSU Alumni Gold, Clark lowered her collegiate-leading, 100-meter mark to 10.96 to match the seventh-fastest performer in college history. Clark also bettered a near three-year-old PR in the process, dropping it from the previous 11.02 that she clocked back in 2018 to place third at the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, as a freshman.
You know how we said she’s a two-event leader? Well, Clark tops the 200-meter list at 22.50.
This is the first time since 2015 that a female athlete from Alabama has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season (Remona Burchell on April 7, 2015).
Junior | Throws
Decio Andrade entered rare territory.
The junior from Camacha, Portugal, improved his national lead in the hammer throw with a heave of 71.82m (235-8) at the Oliver Jackson Twilight. That mark slots him as the third-best performer all-time in NCAA Division II and was the best throw since 2016.
It also makes him the fifth-best performer in the hammer among all collegians this season.
This is the second National Athlete of the Week honor for Andrade this outdoor season.
Senior | Distance
Eilish Flanagan ran into the all-time list.
Flanagan, a graduate student hailing from Gortin, Ireland, ran 9:52.70 in the steeplechase at the Drake Relays. Her time makes her the third-fastest performer in NCAA Division II history. Flanagan also toed the line with Alicja Konieczek, the former Western Colorado standout who set the current NCAA DII record of 9:47.72 back in 2018.
Flanagan moved to the top of the Descending Order List in the steeplechase and holds a 26.59 second lead over the rest of the field. She is also the national leader in the 5000 (15:57.81) and ranked second in the 1500 (4:17.88c/4:23.42).
This is the first time in program history a female athlete has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.
Senior | Jumps
Groveland, New York
When a nomination starts out, “What’s better than one new school and stadium record and a number 1 National Ranking? How about two new school and stadium records and two number 1 National rankings,” it’s going to have our attention.
Kyle Rollins had quite a week.
Starting on Monday afternoon at the RIT Monday Meet #1, Rollins had just planned on working on his short approach in the high jump – but after setting a PR with that approach – he returned to his longer version and went even higher. Rollins cleared 2.17m (7-1½) to take over the NCAA Division III lead and become the 12th-best performer in divisional history.
Then, on Friday, Rollins bounded a wind-aided 15.45m (50-8¼) in the triple jump to top the seasonal chart in that event by 47cm (18½ inches). It marked an all-conditions PR for him.
This is the second time this season that Rollins has been named National Athlete of the Week.
Junior | Mid-Distance
State College, Pennsylvania
Range, thy name is Esther Seeland.
Competing at the DeSales University Invitational this past weekend, Seeland added the 400 to her bag of tricks as she took over the NCAA Division III lead in that event at 55.30. She ended up winning her section by more than three seconds over the next closest competitor.
If you’re counting at home, which we are, Seeland now has two national-leading marks – 400 (55.30) and 800 (2:07.72) – and sits second in the 1500 at 4:27.39, an event in which she held the NCAA DIII seasonal best until two weeks ago.
This is the second time this season that Seeland has been named National Athlete of the Week.
Sophomore | Pole Vault
Matteo Capello finally took his rightful place atop the NJCAA all-time chart.
Competing at the Sycamore Open this past weekend, Capello cleared 5.50m (18-0½) in the pole vault to break a 21-year-old NJCAA record in the event. Capello missed on his first try, but went up and over on his second attempt to put Dason Phelps in his rearview mirror.
This is the second week in a row that Capello has been named National Athlete of the Week.
Freshman | Hurdles
Lashanna Graham was on a mission.
Competing at the Don Kirby Tailwind Invitational this past weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Graham won the 400H in a blistering 57.26 to become the third-fastest performer in NJCAA history. What might be even more impressive is that Graham won by 5.65 seconds.
This marks the first time since 2019 that a female athlete from Barton County CC has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.
Sophomore | Throws
Cael Rapp reared back and threw his way to an NJCAA DIII lead.
Competing at the Paul Kaiser Classic, Rapp launched the javelin 49.96m (163-11) to take over the No. 1 on the Descending Order List. Actually, Rapp had four marks this past weekend that would have given him the divisional best, but his Round 3 effort topped them all.
This is the first time that an athlete from Thaddeus Stevens has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.
Freshman | Distance
Emily Fetzer gave herself some breathing room atop the NJCAA DIII seasonal chart.
Competing at the Elmhurst Twilight this past weekend, Fetzer covered 5000 meters in 19:34.97 to lower her PR and national lead by nearly two seconds.
Fetzer is the third different female athlete from College of DuPage to be named National Athlete of the Week during the current outdoor season.