NCAA & NJCAA ITF National Athletes of the Week (January 24)
NEW ORLEANS — For the first time this season we have back-to-back National Athletes of the Week — and for good reason. One athlete set an all-time world best, while another nearly broke a division record.
Without further ado, here are the National Athletes of the Week for January 24.
- NCAA Division I Men — Emmanuel Korir, UTEP
- NCAA Division I Women — Shakima Wimbley, Miami (Fla.)
- NCAA Division II Men — Khallifah Rosser, Cal State LA
- NCAA Division II Women — McKenzie Warren, Concordia (Ore.)
- NCAA Division III Men — Connor Christopherson, SUNY Cortland
- NCAA Division III Women — Whitney Simmons, UT-Tyler
- NJCAA Men — Elias Gedyon, Trinidad State JC
- NJCAA Women — Agnes Mansaray, Iowa Central CC
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.
Well, Emmanuel Korir was back at it again this past weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Cherry & Silver Invitational.
Korir ran an all-time world best mark of 1:14.97 in the 600 meters. He took the lead with about one lap to go and beat teammate Jonah Koech to the line by nearly three seconds.
That time eclipsed the previous record of 1:15.12 set by Germany’s Nico Motchebon in 1999. No man had run faster than 1:15.31 since 2014 when Mohammed Aman did so.
“Korir is a very special and talented athlete,” UTEP coach Mike Laaksonen told UTEP’s website. “His best event is the 800, so the 600 is a good prep. With his stamina and his speed, that’s the end result. I can’t wait to see what he does in the future.”
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Competition brings the best out in elite athletes.
It’s safe to say Shakima Wimbley is one of them.
This past weekend in a loaded field at the McCravy Memorial Invitational, Wimbley blistered an NCAA-leading 51.28 over 400 meters. Wimbley beat Southern Cal’s Kendall Ellis to the line by 24 tenths of a second.
That time by Wimbley is the 14th fastest all-conditions mark in collegiate history indoors. Just a week ago, she ran the 5th fastest time in collegiate history over 300 meters (36.72).
The 2016 NCAA Division II 400 hurdles champ got off to a fast start in 2017.
Khallifah Rosser competed at the Boise State-hosted Bronco Invitational and won the 400 with a time of 46.63 and beat several NCAA Division I runners in the process.
His time of 46.63 is an automatic qualifying mark for NCAAs and leaves him second on the NCAA DII chart behind Myles Pringle. That time also is the 9th fastest in DII history.
If McKenzie Warren has her way, the NCAA Division II record book won’t stay without changes for too much longer.
This past weekend at the Boise State-hosted Bronco Invitational, Warren heaved the shot put 17.55m (57-7) which won her the meet title by nearly eight feet and moved her into second place on the all-time DII chart. She missed the long-standing DII record — set in 2003 by Ashland’s Adriane Blewitt — by just two centimeters.
Blewitt better not get too comfortable, because Warren is on pace to unseat her soon.
Morrisonville, New York
Connor Christopherson is putting a disappointing 2016 season — in which he finished 14th indoors and didn’t compete at NCAAs outdoors — in the rear-view mirror.
This past weekend at the Upstate Challenge, Christopherson set a personal best in the heptathlon with a score of 5140 points and moved to the top of the DIII leaderboard. Not only that, but he broke the SUNYAC heptathlon record in the process. Not a bad way to PR by 166 points.
Christopherson and teammate Jack Flood are 1-2 on the DIII heptathlon charts right now.
White Oak, Texas
Whitney Simmons took over the NCAA Division III lead in the weight throw in a big way this past weekend.
Simmons, the 2016 NCAA DIII hammer throw champ, heaved the implement 18.89m (61-11¾) at the MSSU Southern Invitational to top the chart by 20 inches. That also set a personal best for her in the event.
If Simmons tossed that last year, it would have left her second in the nation.
Los Angeles, California
Elias Gedyon pulled double duty at the Cherry & Silver Invitational hosted by New Mexico this past weekend and excelled both times.
Gedyon ran NJCAA-leading times in the 800 and mile. His altitude-adjusted time of 1:53.05 in the 800 has him clear of the No. 2 spot by more than two seconds. And his altitude-adjusted time of 4:11.02 in the mile leads the nation by six seconds.
Week by week, Agnes Mansaray is taking over the NJCAA charts.
Three weeks ago Mansaray ran the fastest time in NJCAA over 600 meters.
Two weeks ago she clocked the quickest time in the 1000.
This past weekend at the Jim Emmerich Alumni Invitational, Mansaray ran the fastest time over 800 meters. Mansaray crossed the finish line in 2:12.33.