The third installment of my picks for the best of the weekend…
Athlete of the week: Jeff Demps, Florida
Demps made his first 2012 foray onto the track this weekend, and ran a nice 6.59 seconds for 60 meters at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet. The time by itself is not the important thing, but who he beat in the process. Third in that race was Auburn’s Harry Adams, who holds the NCAA leading time of 6.56, which means Demps has already given his main competition a beat-down. Now fully dedicated to sprinting instead of football, he looks set to win his third straight NCAA Championship at this distance.
Honorable Mention: Paul Chelimo, UNC-Greensboro
Chelimo is almost assuredly going to win the coveted Flotrack Kick of the Week award. He won the Ryan Shay Memorial 3000 meters at Notre Dame’s Meyo Invitational in 7:49.87, an NCAA Championships automatic qualifier. He gets style points for how he did it, too; about 20 meters behind with only 200 meters to go, he overtook Indiana’s Andy Bayer just 13 meters from the finish.
Team Player: Henry Lelei, Texas A&M
At the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York, Lelei won the mile and anchored the winning distance medley relay. For his two efforts he was named the meet’s outstanding athlete. From the Aggies’ viewpoint, more important were the 20 points he added to the team’s total, because they ended up winning the meet by 10 points over rival LSU. How Lelei stacks up on a national level is a big question mark, but his mere presence gives Texas A&M a chance to compete for yet another NCAA Championships team title.
One-two punch: Marcel Lomnicky and Alexander Zeigler, Virginia Tech
The two Hokie throwers sent the 35-pound weight out to 23.05m (75′ 7.5″) and 23.04m (75′ 7.25″), a good 15 inches (40 cm) better than anyone else has thrown this season. They now occupy 10th and 11th on the all-time collegiate lists.
Rodney Dangerfield Award: Erik Kynard, Kansas State
For you young punks (get off my lawn!) who only know Dangerfield from Caddyshack!, his standup routine included many one-liners about how he got “no respect, no respect at all, I tell ya”. Kynard is the only athlete in the NCAA has met the Olympic ‘A’ standard this season, and he’s quietly done it twice. On Saturday in New Mexico he high-jumped 2.31 meters (7′ 7″).