M-F Athletic National Athletes of the Week (Jan. 17)

NEW ORLEANS — You can’t stop the indoor track & field season.

Here are our M-F Athletic National Athletes of the Week for January 17!

  • NCAA Division I Men — Matthew Boling, Georgia
  • NCAA Division I Women — Britton Wilson, Arkansas
  • NCAA Division II Men — Joseph Oreva, West Texas A&M
  • NCAA Division II Women — Shereen Vallabouy, Winona State
  • NCAA Division III Men — Mike Jasa, Loras
  • NCAA Division III Women — Ana Tucker, Hope
  • NAIA Men — Iredia Goodness, Cumberlands (Tenn.)
  • NAIA Women — Salieci Myles, William Carey (Miss.)
  • NJCAA Men — Mehmet Celik, South Plains (Texas)
  • NJCAA Women — Calisha Taylor, New Mexico JC

Find out more about each of these athletes by 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 14 collegiate cross country athletes, when applicable (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions, the NAIA 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 – Matthew Boling, Georgia

Junior | Sprints
Houston, Texas

On a weekend where three athletes cracked the all-time collegiate top-5 in the 300 meters, Matthew Boling was fastest – coming in at No. 3 on the chart.

Boling ripped a 32.40 winner at the Clemson Invite this past weekend, which puts him behind Jacory Patterson (31.99) and Torrin Lawrence (32.32) in collegiate history.

As mentioned, Boling wasn’t the only athlete to turn in historic marks over 300 meters: Arkansas teammates James Benson II and Lance Lang moved up to No. 4 and No. 5 at 32.46 and 32.48, respectively, with their efforts at the Arkansas Invitational.

This is the second time in his collegiate career that Boling has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Boling previously earned national honors last year on January 18 following another standout performance at the Clemson Invite.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Britton Wilson, Arkansas

Sophomore | Sprints/Hurdles
Henrico, Virginia

You’d expect a collegiate record set by a generational talent like 2021 The Bowerman winner Athing Mu to last a while right? Well, Britton Wilson turned that idea on its head this past weekend at the Arkansas Invitational.

Wilson, competing in the 600 meters, finished runner-up to former three-time NCAA champion Shamier Little in a scorching 1:25.16, which bettered Mu’s two-year-old collegiate best of 1:25.80 and made her the seventh-fastest American woman and tenth-fastest woman in history.

Later in the meet, Wilson split 51.60 on the Razorbacks’ winning 4×400 relay.

This is the first time since the 2020 season that a female athlete from Arkansas has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Katie Izzo hauled in national honors back on December 10, 2019.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN — Joseph Oreva, West Texas A&M

Junior | Jumps
Ughelli, Nigeria

Joseph Oreva had a stellar debut for the Buffs.

Oreva, who previously finished sixth at the 2022 NCAA DII Indoor Track & Field Championships while at Carson Newman, won the Men’s Long Jump at the Corky Classic with his best leap landing at 7.74m (25-4¾) in Round 2. He soared to the top of the NCAA DII leaderboard and is ranked seventh among collegians this year.

This is the fourth time in program history a male athlete from West Texas A&M was named the M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week. Oreva joins two-time honoree Benjamin Azamati (2022, 2021) and Quinton Sansing (2020).

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN — Shereen Vallabouy, Winona State

Graduate Student | Sprints
Ipoh, Malaysia

Shereen Vallabouy is wasting little time picking up where she left off.

Vallabouy, who won the Women’s 400 Meters at the 2022 NCAA DII Indoor Track & Field Championships, clocked a stellar time of 53.47 (52.77 converted) on a 200 flat track to win the Bearson-Guthjre Classic by more than four seconds. Her indoor PR makes her the No. 9 performer all-time in NCAA DII history and is the third-fastest time among collegians in the early season.

This is the first time since 2017 that a female athlete from Winona State has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week. Vallabouy joins three-time honoree Kaitlyn Long (1x in 2017, 2x in 2016).

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Mike Jasa, Loras

Senior | Mid-Distance
Fairfax, Iowa

Mike Jasa is close to history.

How close? Try 0.07 seconds.

Jasa, competing at the St. Ambrose-hosted Battle in the Hive, clocked a blistering 1:18.67 winner over 600 meters, which put him No. 2 in NCAA DIII history behind Ben Scheetz’s 1:18.60 from 2012. This won’t be the last time Jasa and Scheetz will be in the same sentence this year, as Jasa will most likely chase Scheetz’s NCAA DIII record in the 800 meters of 1:47.43.

If you thought Jasa was done after that spectacular 600-meter effort, you’d be wrong: Jasa anchored Loras’ winning 4×400 relay to end the meet.

This is the second year in a row that Jasa has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Jasa previously earned national honors twice during the 2022 season – once on December 14 and then again on February 8.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Ana Tucker, Hope

Senior | Distance
Midland, Michigan

One national-leading mark wasn’t enough for Ana Tucker.

Tucker made it two this past weekend when she turned one mile in an NCAA DIII-leading 4:56.98 at the Michigan Invitational this past weekend. That mark was good enough for Tucker to win her heat by more than two seconds over a host of NCAA Division I athletes.

Back in December, Tucker turned in the nation’s top mark in the 3000 meters of 9:36.11 and then one week later, went 16:29.34 over 5000 meters to slide into the No. 2 spot nationally.

This is the fourth time in her career that Tucker has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Tucker previously earned national honors three times during the 2021 season: January 19, January 26 and then again on February 16.

NAIA MEN – Iredia Goodness, Cumberland (Tenn.)

Freshman | Jumps
Nigeria

Iredia Goodness jumped into the national conversation.

Competing at the Vanderbilt-hosted Commodore Classic, he bounded 15.59m (51-1¾) to win the triple jump over athletes from NCAA Division I and fellow NAIA programs. He recorded three marks of 15.24m (50-0) or better and is now ranked among the top-15 athletes on the All-College Descending Order List.

That wasn’t his only event of the meet, as he also topped 1.96m (6-5) to place third in the high jump. He cleared all four of his heights on the first attempt before bowing out at 2.00m (6-6¾).

This is the first time in program history that an athlete from Cumberlands (Tenn.) has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.

NAIA WOMEN – Salieci Myles, William Carey (Miss.)

Sophomore | Sprints
Westmoreland, Jamaica

Salieci Myles has a name suited for distance, but is a heck of a hurdler.

Myles, competing at the Vanderbilt-hosted Commodore Classic, won the 60-meter hurdles in an NAIA-leading mark of 8.38. That effort came after an 8.39 in the semifinal and also put her among the top-40 collegians this season on the All-College Descending Order List.

This is the first time in program history that an athlete from William Carey (Miss.) has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.

NJCAA MEN – Mehmet Celik, South Plains (Texas)

Freshman | Mid-Distance
Ankara, Turkey

Mehmet Celik made his debut with South Plains one to remember.

At Texas Tech’s Corky Classic, Celik broke the NJCAA indoor record in the 800 meters, finishing second as the top collegian in 1:48.23. That supplanted the 1:48.53 record set by Derek Holdsworth of Trinidad (Colo.) in 2018 as well as the all-conditions best of 1:48.46 that Rivaldo Marshall of Indian Hills (Iowa) CC registered last month on an oversized track.

Two of Celik’s teammates – Aron Tanui and Chevonne Hall – also ran sub-1:50 to move to Nos. 5 and 6 on the all-time NJCAA list with times of 1:49.43 and 1:49.97, respectively.

The 800 meters was on Saturday, but Celik started off the weekend on Friday with a 2:24.70 victory in the 1000 meters – good enough for No. 4 on the NJCAA all-time indoor list.

Celik is the 11th male athlete from South Plains to be named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week in indoor track & field.

NJCAA WOMEN – Calisha Taylor, New Mexico JC

Sophomore | Sprints/Hurdles
St. Catherine, Jamaica

Calisha Taylor showed she is more than just a 400-meter hurdler.

The reigning NJCAA 400-meter champion knocked more than two seconds off her best in winning the 600 yards at Texas Tech’s Corky Classic in 1:21.65. That puts her No. 3 on the all-time NJCAA indoor list.

Taylor wasn’t done, however. She split 54.25 on the New Mexico JC’s 4×400 team which ran 3:42.39, making the New Mexico JC the fifth-fastest program in NJCAA indoor history. Ashantai Boilers, Deshana Skeete and Lacarthea Cooper completed the foursome. Taylor is the seventh female athlete from New Mexico JC to be honored as M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week.