NCAA & NJCAA OTF National Athletes of the Week (April 19)

NEW ORLEANS – Do you have words for this past weekend?

We don’t.

Here are our National Athletes of the Week in NCAA Track & Field and NJCAA Track & Field for April 19, 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 – Eliud Kipsang, Alabama

Freshman | Distance
Eldoret, Kenya

In a week where three men’s collegiate records fell: Eliud Kipsang in the 1500 meters; Ayden Owens with his wind-legal decathlon total; and Florida’s scintillating 4×400 relay, Kipsang’s 1500-meter best of 3:33.74 from the Bryan Clay Invitational stood tallest amongst the trio.

We knew Kipsang could run fast. After all, his 3:35.49 clocking over the same distance at the NCAA DI East Preliminary Round last year and the 3:54.36 mile he dropped earlier this year proved that in spades.

But this? Taking down Yared Nuguse’s year-old collegiate record by nearly one full second?

You better believe it; we still can’t.

Kipsang ran a remarkably consistent race to win the section and beat the nearest collegian by nearly four seconds. He went out in 56.7, covered the next 400 meters in 58.5 for 1:55.2 through 800 meters, and closed the last 400 meters in 56.4 with his last 200 meters at 27.9.

This is the first time in program history that a male athlete from Alabama has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. The Crimson Tide had two women honorees over the years: Remona Burchell in 2015; Tamara Clark in 2021.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Favour Ofili, LSU

Junior | Sprints
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Welcome to the “Sub-22 Club,” Favour.

Make yourself comfortable.

Favour Ofili made history this past weekend at the Tom Jones Memorial in Gainesville, Florida. Ofili won the 200 meters in a jaw-dropping 21.96 (+1.3) to become the first collegiate woman to eclipse the 22-second barrier during the collegiate season. Not only did Ofili break the collegiate record, she also claimed the Nigerian national record and clocked the second-fastest time ever by an African woman.

It was quite the PR for Ofili, who had never dipped below 22.30 with a legal wind or 22.16 with a breeze above the allowable 2.0 m/s limit. Ofili notched her previous collegiate best last year at the NCAA DI East Preliminary Round with her 22.30 effort in the quarterfinals. Two weeks later, Ofili snagged her first top-5 finish in the event at the NCAA Championships (Ofili now has two, the second of which came at the NCAA Indoor Championships this year).

This is the second time in the past three weeks that a female athlete from LSU has been named National Athlete of the Week. Alia Armstrong previously earned the honor on March 29.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Reece Sharman-Newell, CSU Pueblo

Freshman | Mid-Distance
Hampshire, England

Reece Sharman-Newell did not shy away from a challenge.

In fact, it nearly ended with a record-breaking performance.

The freshman from CSU Pueblo clocked 1:45.56 in the Men’s 800 Meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational to become the second-fastest performer in NCAA DII history. He narrowly missed the all-time record of 1:45.24 set by Savieri Ngidhi back in 1995. Sharman-Newell finished second overall behind former CSU Pueblo great Thomas Staines, who won the event in 1:45.28.

Not only does Sharman-Newell’s effort better his national lead on the DII leaderboard, it is also second-fastest among all collegians this year. The only athlete ahead of him is Moad Zahafi of NCAA Division I Texas Tech, who ran 1:43.69 to become the No. 3 performer in collegiate history.

This is the third time in program history a male athlete has been named National Athlete of the Week. Staines earned the first two honors in 2018 and 2019.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Alison Andrews-Paul, Simon Fraser

Junior | Mid-Distance
Ohope Beach, New Zealand

Alison Andrews-Paul wouldn’t be denied history on Thursday night.

Andrews-Paul, competing in the elite section of the Women’s 800 Meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational, turned two laps in 2:01.43 to set an NCAA Division II record. That mark crushed the previous all-time best of 2:02.39 established by Carsyn Kock nearly six years ago.

The 800 meters wasn’t the only event Andrews-Paul shined in this past weekend. She returned to the track on Friday to clock a PR 54.07 in the 400 meters to move to No. 4 on the Descending Order List. The Simon Fraser standout also clocked 4:21.52 over 1500 meters in late March – a time that is No. 3 on the seasonal chart.

Andrews-Paul was one of two athletes to claim an NCAA DII record. The second belongs to Roisin Flanagan of Adams State, who shattered the Women’s 5000 Meters record at the Mt. SAC Relays. Competing in the elite section at the Mt. SAC Relays on Friday night, Flanagan crossed the line in 15:28.41 to break the previous standard of 15:33.81 set by Neely Spence in 2011.

This is the first time since 2019 that a female athlete from Simon Fraser has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Alex Phillip, John Carroll

Sophomore | Distance
Akron, Ohio

Alex Phillip wasn’t going to back down on Thursday night.

Phillip, competing in the second-fastest section of the 10,000 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays, finished fourth out of 37 competitors in 28:48.88 to become the third-fastest man in NCAA Division III history. The John Carroll standout only trails record-holder Ian La Mere (28:38.63) and Dan Mayer (28:48.4h) on the all-time chart.

This was yet another strong effort by Phillip in a string of them, dating back to the fall: Phillip won the individual title at the NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships in November to cap a near-undefeated season; his indoor season started with a 5000m PR of 13:58.42 and not long after, anchored JCU to an NCAA DIII record in the distance medley relay of 9:41.56 and capped the campaign off with a distance double at the NCAA DIII Indoor Championships.

This is the second year in a row that Phillip has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Phillip previously earned the honor on May 11, 2021.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Kaitlyn Wilder, Dubuque

Freshman | Throws
Dunkerton, Iowa

Three.

That’s how many events Kaitlyn Wilder competed in this past weekend.

That’s how many wins Kaitlyn Wilder collected this past weekend.

That’s how many events Kaitlyn Wilder ranks among the top-2 seasonal performers.

Wilder swept the discus, hammer and shot put at the Loras Easter Mid-Week in a dominant showing. She won the discus by 26 feet, 1 inch with an NCAA DIII-leading mark of 47.22m (154-11), captured the hammer by 32 feet, 3 inches with a 54.81m (179-10) effort and then the shot by more than 10 inches at 14.59m (47-10½). Add it up: that’s more than 59 feet of winning.

One look at the Descending Order List sees Wilder at the top of the discus chart and a clear second in both the hammer and shot.

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

NJCAA MEN – Ahmed Sado, Trinidad State (Colo.)

Sophomore | Distance
Denver, Colorado

It wasn’t just three races in three days for Ahmed Sado – it was three national-leading marks in three days at the Bryan Clay Invitational.

His odyssey started on Wednesday in the steeplechase as he finished second in his section in 8:53.48, the fastest NJCAA time since 2011 and good for No. 6 all-time.

On Thursday came the 5000, and Sado covered 12½ laps in 14:08.43, which rates No. 4 on the NJCAA all-time list.

But he wasn’t done, clocking 3:49.18 on Friday to register the fastest raw time by an NJCAA runner this year. The only mark “faster” this year is Sado’s own 3:51.24, which is converted to 3:46.38 as having been run at high altitude. Sado also rates No. 2 on this year’s 10,000 list (a converted 29:39.94 from a week earlier).

Sado is the second athlete – male or female – from Trinidad State to earn National Athlete of the Week honors in outdoor track & field, and the first since 2017.

NJCAA WOMEN – Princess Kara, Central Arizona

Freshman | Throws
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Princess Kara has been good all year – but never this good. In fact, only one NJCAA women’s discus thrower has ever been better.

The Central Arizona star – reigning NJCAA champion in the discus – moved to No. 2 all-time in winning the Bryan Clay Invitational at 55.57m (182-4). The only mark further in NJCAA annals came in 2002 by another Central Arizona athlete, Ilona Rutges (55.84m/183-3).

Kara began 2022 at No. 8 all-time with a best of 52.77m/173-2 from last year. She moved up to No. 4 in March (53.24m/174-8), then No. 3 last weekend (54.10m/177-6) before her most recent success.

Kara was named National Athlete of the Week back in Week 1, when she became the fifth female athlete from Central Arizona to be so honored in outdoor track & field. She joins Devia Brown from 2019 as the school’s only two-time winner outdoors, male or female.