NCAA & NJCAA OTF National Athletes of the Week (April 5)

NEW ORLEANS – Did you see what happened this past weekend!?

Here are our National Athletes of the Week in NCAA Track & Field and NJCAA Track & Field for April 5, 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 – Jonathan Jones, Texas

Senior | Sprints
Bridgetown, Barbados

One national lead wasn’t enough for Jonathas Jones, so he made it two this past weekend.

Competing at the Texas A&M vs Texas Dual, Jones covered 400 meters in 45.07, nearly becoming just the second man to dip under 45 seconds in the world this season (2017 The Bowerman finalist Fred Kerley has the world lead at 44.47). Jones won his section by 0.18 seconds and returned to tote the baton third on the winning 4×400 relay with a 43.48 split.

Just one week earlier, Jones posted a collegiate-leading 1:45.83 in the 800 meters at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. You might recall that Jones finished runner-up in the 800 at the NCAA DI Indoor Championships in March.

This is the second week in a row that a male athlete from Texas has been named National Athlete of the Week. Tripp Piperi earned national laurels last week following a stellar shot-put series at the Texas Relays.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Charokee Young, Texas A&M

Junior | Sprints
Kingston, Jamaica

Is Texas A&M becoming 400U? People are asking.

Charokee Young made quick work of the one-lapper this past weekend at the Texas A&M vs Texas Dual, traversing 400 meters in a blistering 50.00. That made Young the fifth-fastest performer on the all-time collegiate chart and the second-fastest in the month of April (2016 The Bowerman winner Courtney Okolo, now second on the list, set the former CR of 49.71 on April 23, 2016). The Aggies now have two athletes among the top-5 performers, and are the only program to do so: 2021 The Bowerman winner Athing Mu with the CR of 49.51 and Young, who is on the verge of dipping under 50 seconds.

Just one week earlier at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, Young split 48.98 on Texas A&M’s 4×400 relay that went 3:22.94 for the second-fastest performance in collegiate history behind its own CR of 3:38.93, set in a winning effort at the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships last year.

This is the second year time in the past three weeks that a female athlete from Texas A&M has been named National Athlete of the Week. Avi’Tal Wilson-Perteete previously earned the honor on March 22 following her collegiate record in the 600 meters.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Louis Rollins, Pittsburg State

Senior | Sprints/Hurdles
Olathe, Kansas

Louis Rollins hurdled his way into rare territory.

It was at the David Noble Relays that Rollins blazed to a 13.56 in the 110H to win the meet. That time not only makes him the fourth-fastest performer on the NCAA DII all-time list with the fifth-best time, he is also ranked third among collegians this season and holds the fifth-fastest time in the world. Rollins ran a windy 13.85 one week earlier at the ESU Relays, but near-perfect weather conditions allowed him to run his race with a +0.2 wind-reading.

Only three men have run faster than Rollins in DII history. Brian Amos of Abilene Christian holds the record at 13.37 set in 1994, followed by Anwar Moore of Saint Augustine’s (13.44) and Rod Milburn of Southern (13.2h).

This is the third time in the past two years that a male athlete from Pittsburg State has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Brett Thompson earned back-to-back honors on April 6 and April 13 of last year.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Marie-Jeanne Ourega, Academy of Art

Redshirt Freshman | Jumps/Hurdles
L’Haÿ-les-Roses, France

Marie-Jeanne Ourega leapt her way to the top of the NCAA DII leaderboard.

Ourega won the long jump invite section at the Stanford Invitational in a season-best effort of 6.43m (21-1¼) on her second attempt of the competition to seal the victory. That leap gives her the national lead by nearly a foot and has her sitting eighth among all collegians in 2022.

Not only did Ourega shine in the jumping pit, she also turned in a strong performance on the track. She finished third in the 100H finals in a PR 13.75 to move to No. 2 on the Descending Order List.

This is the second time in the last year that a female athlete from Academy of Art has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Ourega previously earned the honor on April 6, 2021.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Aidan Ryan, Williams

Senior | Mid-Distance
New York, New York

Aidan Ryan is working his way up another all-time chart.

Competing at the Colonial Relays this past weekend, Ryan earned top honors in the 1500 meters with his 3:45.18 effort, besting 22 other athletes from various divisions. As you know, Ryan doesn’t get on all-time lists for his placement, rather his time: Ryan is now ranked 15th in NCAA DIII history in the 1500, less than one second from the top-10.

Ryan wrote his name all over the NCAA DIII record book during the indoor season, breaking divisional records in both the mile (3:56.88) and 3000 (7:54.48). During this academic year, Ryan has PR’d in every event in which he competed: cross country, mile, 3000 and 1500.

This is the first time since 2017 that a male athlete from Williams has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Tobias Muellers earned the honor five years ago on March 28, 2017.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Kassie Parker, Loras

Junior | Distance
Guttenburg, Iowa

Kassie Parker had her eyes on history, 400 meters at a time.

By the time Parker crossed the finish line at Cobb Track at Angell Field on Friday night, she had traversed 25 laps faster than any other female athlete in NCAA Division III history. Parker, who etched her name all over the indoor record book, did so in her first race outdoors, placing fourth in the elite section of the Women’s 10,000 Meters at the Stanford Invitational in 33:03.61 (Keene State’s Mary Proulx set the previous record of 33:21.80 back in 2003 at the Penn Relays).

Prior to Parker’s record-breaking, negative-split effort on Friday night (16:35/16:28), the closest any other athlete had come to Proulx’s all-time best in the past 19 years was Taryn Cordani of Ithaca back in 2018 with her mark of 33:34.06. And before Cordani, Lenore Moreno of La Verne was the only other athlete in NCAA DIII history under 34 minutes since 2009 with her 33:49.04 clocking in 2014.

This is the second time in the past three years that a female athlete from Loras has been named National Athlete of the Week during the outdoor season. Gabrielle Noland earned the honor two years ago on April 23, 2019.

NJCAA MEN – Kimar Farquharson, South Plains (Texas)

Freshman | Mid-Distance
Kingston, Jamaica

Last week, Kimar Farquharson combined with three teammates as South Plains (Texas) won the Texas Relays 4×800 relay in sharing National Athlete of the Week honors.

This week, that foursome ran against each other at the David Noble Relays hosted by Angelo State. While the Texans swept the first four places with PRs, Farquharson’s performance put him higher than the rest – higher, in fact, than all but one 800-meter runner in NJCAA history with a time of 1:46.88 (Boaz Lalang of Rend Lake (Ill.) CC is the record-holder at 1:45.15). Farquharson, who won the event last month at the NJCAA Indoor Championships, was dominant here, winning by nearly two seconds.

Farquharson becomes the sixth individual male athlete from South Plains to earn this honor for outdoor track & field, and the first since 2018. He also was National Athlete of the Week once for indoor track & field earlier this year.

NJCAA WOMEN – Miracle Ailes, Iowa Western CC

Freshman | High Jump
Keokuk, Iowa

Miracle Ailes opened up her outdoor season much like she finished the indoor campaign – winning and going for records.

Ailes won the South Dakota Early Bird meet’s high jump with a clearance of 1.81m (5-11¼). That put her at =No. 7 on the all-time NJCAA list, but Ailes was aiming for much higher. Ailes took three unsuccessful attempts at a would-be NJCAA record of 1.90m (6-2¾).

Indoors, Ailes twice cleared 1.80m (5-10¾), once while winning the NJCAA Indoor Championships as she tied for No. 4 on the all-time NJCAA Indoor list. Both times she raised the bar to above the indoor NJCAA best of 1.84m (6-0½).

Ailes is the first female athlete from Iowa Western to be named National Athlete of the Week in outdoor track & field.