NCAA & NJCAA T&F National Athletes of the Week (March 22)
NEW ORLEANS – Welcome to the outdoor season!
Here are the National Athletes of the Week in NCAA and NJCAA Track & Field for March 22.
Find out more about each of these athletes by clicking their names or scrolling below.
- NCAA Division I Men – Mykolas Alekna, California
- NCAA Division I Women – Avi’Tal Wilson-Perteete, Texas A&M
- NCAA Division II Men – Trevor Bassitt, Ashland
- NCAA Division II Women – Arika Robinson, Concordia-St. Paul
- NCAA Division III Men – JP Vaught, Centre
- NCAA Division III Women – Kendra Noneman, Carnegie Mellon
- NJCAA Men – Jerod Elcock, Butler (Kan.) CC
- NJCAA Women – Princess Kara, Central Arizona
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.
Freshman | Throws
It didn’t take long for Mykolas Alekna’s championship pedigree to shine through.
Alekna, the son of two-time Olympic discus gold medalist Virgilijus Alekna, opened his freshman year with a collegiate-leading throw of 62.63m (205-6) in the discus at the Cardinal Classic. He also had another throw of more than 61.50m (201-9) in the field series and won the event by nearly 15 feet over teammate Iffy Joyner, who topped out at 58.11m (160-8).
If Alekna threw his current best last year, he’d rank third on the year-end Descending Order List behind eventual national champion Turner Washington of Arizona State and Claudio Romero of Virginia.
This is the first time since at least 2015 that a male athlete from Cal has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Camryn Rogers earned the honor last year on April 6, 2021, following one of her many sterling efforts in the hammer.
Senior | Mid-Distance
Avi’Tal Wilson-Perteete had a historic outdoor debut for Texas A&M.
Wilson-Perteete, who competed at UNLV last year and finished seventh in the final of the 800 meters at the 2021 NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships, set a collegiate record in the 600 meters of 1:28.02 this past weekend in Tempe, Arizona. Her mark, turned in at the Baldy Castillo Invitational, shattered the previous record of 1:30.16 set six years ago by Montayla Holder of Iowa. 2021 The Bowerman winner and Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu won the race in 1:24.13.
This is the second year in a row that a female athlete from Texas A&M has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. You probably don’t have to think too long to remember who took home honors in 2021: Mu, after she set the CR in the 800.
Senior | Sprints
Trevor Bassitt starred on the world stage.
Bassitt won the silver medal in the 400 meters at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. The senior from Bluffton, Ohio, just missed winning gold by 0.05 seconds with his 45.05 performance. That also lowered his own NCAA DII record in the event. He owns each of the top-3 fastest marks over 400 meters in NCAA DII history, two of which came in 2022.
Bassitt is also the 14th fastest man in collegiate history over 400 meters on a record-legal indoor track with his 45.05.
This is the first time this season that Bassitt has been named National Athlete of the Week and the seventh honor of his career.
Senior | High Jump
St. Paul, Minnesota
Arika Robinson is keeping the momentum rolling from the indoor season.
Robinson, who won the high jump at the 2022 NCAA DII Indoor Track & Field Championships, took first in the same event at the Ross and Sharon Irwin this past Saturday. She cleared the bar in an outdoor best of 5.80m (5-10¾) on her first attempt at the height and won the competition by more than five feet. That is a NCAA DII-leading mark and moves her to No. 23 on the DII all-time list.
Robinson also cleared 1.70m (5-7) to win the Redlands Invitational on Friday.
This is the first time in program history a female athlete from Concordia-St. Paul has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.
Junior | Sprints
JP Vaught started his outdoor season just how he ended his indoors – with quick times.
Vaught, who set a 200-meter meet record of 21.37 to win the event at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships two weeks ago, ripped two division-leading marks at the Rhodes College Track & Field Invitational this past weekend. He went a wind-legal 10.58 (+1.7) in the 100, clocked a wind-assisted 21.08 (+2.8) in the 200 and anchored the winning 4×100.
That mark in the 200 isn’t too far from his all-conditions best of 21.06 (+0.7) that he set last year at the NCC Dr. Keeler Track & Field Meet.
This is the first time since at least 2015 that a male athlete from Centre has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Centre legendAnnie Rodenfels previously took home national honors twice in 2019.
Grad Student | Throws
Kendra Noneman was ready to soar this past weekend.
Competing in her first outdoor meet of the season, Noneman launched a division-leading 55.42m (181-10) in the hammer throw at the Washington & Lee Carnival. That already put Noneman on top of the Descending Order List by more than nine feet. If you quintuple that number – and add five more feet and four inches – you get Noneman’s margin of victory from this past weekend (40 feet, four inches).
That was Noneman’s second-best season-opening mark of her career with the first coming at the 2019 NNU Invitational & Multis at 56.29m (184-8) while a member of Boise State’s team.
This is the first time since at least 2015 that an athlete from Carnegie Mellon has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor track & field season.
Freshman | Sprints
Caroni, Trinidad and Tobago
There was one notable absentee from the Butler (Kan.) CC track & field team this past weekend at the Bethel (Kan.) Open outdoor meet. That was Jerod Elcock, who had one more indoor meet left – merely the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.
Elcock, the NJCAA Indoor champion at 60 meters two weeks ago, was again stellar in his specialty, finishing sixth for his native Trinidad and Tobago in the final in 6.63 – equal to his second-fastest time (in fact, Elcock registered the time of 6.63 in the heats, semifinals and final).
It should be noted that Elcock’s sprinting isn’t limited to the short dashes – he was part of the Grizzlies’ 4×400 relay team that finished as runner-up at the NJCAA Indoor. He was also part of Butler’s NJCAA Indoor champion foursome way back in 2020.
Elcock is the third male athlete from Butler to earn this honor in outdoor track & field and joins teammate Caleb Jackson an honoree in 2022 from earlier in the indoor season.
Freshman | Throws
Port Harcourt, Nigeria
The weekend was off to a great start for Princess Kara, reigning NJCAA Outdoor champion in the shot put and discus.
On Friday at the Willie Williams Classic, Kara PRed in the shot put at 14.99m (49-2¼). That broke her previous best of 14.89m/48-10¼, which dated back to 2017.
But Saturday morning brought even better results for the reigning NJCAA Outdoor discus champ as Kara whirled the platter out to 53.24m (174-8) to move to No. 4 on the all-time NJCAA list. It’s also the longest throw in the NJCAA since 2002.
Kara is the fifth female athlete from Central Arizona to be named National Athlete of the Week in outdoor track & field.