NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (January 17)
NEW ORLEANS — Another collegiate record fell this past weekend and you better believe one of the National Athletes of the Week had his or her hand in it.
Without further ado, here are those NCAA and NJCAA Indoor Track & Field National Athletes of the Week for the week that ended January 14.
- NCAA Division I Men — Emmanuel Korir, UTEP
- NCAA Division I Women — Kaela Edwards, Oklahoma State
- NCAA Division II Men — Lester Miller, Shorter
- NCAA Division II Women — McKenzie Warren, Concordia (Ore.)
- NCAA Division III Men — Luke Winder, North Central (Ill.)
- NCAA Division III Women — Katherine Pitman, Ithaca
- NJCAA Men — Tyler Terry, Hinds CC
- NJCAA Women — Esther Gitahi, New Mexico JC
National Athlete of the Week is an award selected and presented by the USTFCCCA Communications Staff at the beginning of each week to 8 collegiate outdoor track & field athletes (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.
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.
Very few debuts were better than what Emmanuel Korir did this past weekend.
Korir, a freshman, opened up his 2017 season at the Commodore Invitational hosted by Vanderbilt and clocked a time of 1:46.50 in the 800. That gave Korir the outright collegiate lead.
Also, Korir’s time put him 23rd on the all-time, all-conditions indoor collegiate list.
Korir edged Tennessee’s Christian Coleman and Indiana’s Daniel Kuhn for this award. Coleman ran his first 60 since finishing 3rd last year at NCAAs and recorded times of 6.56 and 6.54, which are both near his lifetime best of 6.52. Kuhn ran the 4th fastest time in collegiate history over 600 meters this past weekend (1:16.11).
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
The 1000 isn’t run often, but when it is, athletes sure like to take advantage.
That’s exactly what Kaela Edwards did this past weekend at the Holiday Inn Invitational hosted by the University of Nebraska.
Edwards broke the 1000-meter collegiate record by three hundredths of a second when she crossed the finish line in 2:40.79. That eclipsed the old standard set by Villanova’s Angel Piccirillo last February in Staten Island, New York.
Forest Park, Georgia
Lester Miller made quick work of the 60-meter final at the UAB Blazer Invitational.
Running on the track where he’ll most likely compete during the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships come March, Miller clocked a time of 6.67. That put Miller all alone atop the NCAA DII descending order lists and placed him 8th in the nation as one of 11 men to go sub 6.70 so far this season.
Miller’s time also narrowly missed the meet record of 6.68 set in 2013.
McKenzie Warren took firm control of the NCAA DII lead in the shot put this past weekend at the Washington Indoor Preview and made a statement doing so.
Warren beat a field comprised of mostly NCAA DI, NCAA DII athletes when she unleashed a heave of 16.66m (54-8) on her fourth attempt. That throw ended up topping Stanford thrower Lena Giger’s runner-up mark by nearly four feet.
One look at the NCAA DII descending order list reveals that she is more than two feet ahead of Ashland’s Megan Tomei, who previously held the NCAA DII lead.
If Luke Winder’s first result of the 2017 season is any indication, he’s in store for a huge junior year.
At the GVSU Bob Eubanks Open, Winder won the pole vault competition with a clearance of 5.30m (17-4½). That beat his teammate Spencer LaHaye by nearly two feet and put him well ahead of the pack in the NCAA DIII descending order list.
More importantly, Winder’s mark matched the one he used to win the title outdoors at NCAAs this past season and established a new PR to start the season.
Katherine Pitman is back to her old tricks again.
Pitman entered the competition at the Ramapo College Season Opener this past weekend well after the eventual runner-up fouled out. In fact, Pitman came in at 3.75m, which was 20 centimeters higher than where Lauren McDonald couldn’t clear.
From that point on, Pitman raised the bar and eventually cleared 4.15m (13-7¼) to tie her indoor PR from last year. That mark also gave her a second spot on the NCAA DIII all-time top-10, tying her 5th-place effort from the 2016 ECAC Championships.
Pitman went for the NCAA DIII record of 4.22m (13-10) but missed on all three.
Tyler Terry had quite the debut for Hinds CC this past weekend.
Running at the UAB Vulcan Invitational, Terry clocked the 17th fastest time in the nation over 400 meters this season across all collegiate divisions. He crossed the finish line in 47.72, which gave runner-up in the final.
Esther Gitahi had a weekend to remember.
Running in her first race of the season, Gitahi won the mile at the MLK Invitational and finished runner-up in the 800. Gitahi’s mile time of 4:48.93 (converted from 4:55.37 for altitude), leaves her 26 seconds up on the rest of the NJCAA and her time of 2:17.18 (converted from 2:17.95) in the 800 also gives her the NJCAA lead.