This week’s honorees…
Athlete of the Week: Harry Adams, Auburn
Coming almost out of nowhere, Adams ran a world-leading 6.55 seconds in the 60 meters at the Auburn Invitational (held at Birmingham’s beautiful new Crossplex indoor facility).
How good is 6.55? It’s a time beaten just once in two-time defending NCAA champion Jeff Demps’ entire career. Clearly he’s now a national championships contender himself.
I need to find out more about this young man. Originally recruited to Auburn for football, he saw sparse playing time as a freshman and sophomore, and then was dismissed from the team for violating a team rule (more than that was never made public). So he joined up with the track team, twice qualifying to the NCAA Indoor Championships but never advancing to the final, and never doing anything at the outdoor nationals besides relay duty. Here he has stepped it up in a big way.
Honorable Mention: Jarret Eaton, Syracuse
Eaton ran an NCAA-leading 7.61 for the 60m hurdles at Cornell’s Upstate Challenge, breaking his own PR by 0.07 seconds. Eaton redshirted last year, and his NCAA Championships experience consists of a last-place finish in the semifinals of the 2009 NCAA Indoor, but now should be considered a contender for the national title.
Team Player: Jonathan Jackson, Indiana State
The Sycamores recorded only their second win over Purdue in the 17-year history of their annual dual meet, and Jackson played a large part. He won the 600 meters (and broke his PR in the event by nearly 3 seconds), then ran the 60 hurdles. Indiana State needed to win the concluding 4×400 relay to win the meet, and Jackson ran second leg to help them do just that.
Where did he come from? Ameer Webb, Texas A&M
Webb won the 60 and 200 meter races in the Aggies’ dual meet victory over LSU, the latter in an NCAA-leading 20.94. A previously-unknown Webb is now on everyone’s radar, but the true track geeks are not surprised. The Cerritos JC transfer won the last two California Community College championships in the 200 meters, and last year added the 100 title (a difficult double, as only 17 athletes have ever done it).
Up and Comer: Terife Ejigu, Eastern Michigan
I got a chance to see this 5k/10k specialist at Michigan’s Jack Harvey Invitational. After a series of eight or so laps of jogging, and going through 1600 meters in a fairly slow 4:2something, Ejigu then tore off and dropped the competition to win by eleven seconds. The finishing time of 8:17.28 was not terribly impressive, but the way he ran it made me think he can go close to 8:00 and soon.
Ejigu’s story is fascinating. He came to New Zealand at age 13, not knowing a word of English, to be reunited with his mother who fled Ethiopia’s civil war seven years earlier. He took up running in his adopted hometown of Wellington and eventually broke the national junior 5k record and landing on some national teams, and ended up at Eastern Michigan.
Athlete of the Week: Tia Brooks, Oklahoma
Brooks sent the shot out to 18.49 meters (60′ 8″) to win the Sooners’ own J.D. Martin Invitational. It puts her 5th on the all-time college list. Her season opener, it’s a PR by 49 cm (19 inches).
Honorable Mention: Abbey D’Agostino, Dartmouth
Running in a home tri-meet against Yale and Columbia, D’Agostino ran 4:38.54 for the mile. The time is an NCAA automatic qualifier, a PR by over 20 seconds. Run without pacemakers and on a flat track, t would have been fast enough to win the pro women’s race at Saturday’s New Balance Games at the Armory’s speedy banked oval.
Team player: Stephanie Okpoebo, Holy Cross
In a narrow three-point win over New Hampshire, Okpoebo won the 55 meters and 200 meters, ran anchor leg on the winning 4×400 relay, and did the high jump for good measure (finishing ninth and out of the points).