College Athlete of the Week Awards

Men

Athlete of the Week: Cam Levins, Southern Utah
Levins won the 5000 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays on Friday, defeating Arizona’s Lawi Lalang in the process. No collegian has beaten Lalang in a race of 3000 meters or longer since last June’s NCAA Championships, and Levins did it with a combination of patience (hanging back a bit early), front-running (overtaking the lead in the later laps) and a big kick (last lap in 55 seconds). Levins’ time of 13:18.47 will almost assuredly put him on the Canadian Olympic team, and makes him the second-fastest Canadian of all time.

Watch more video of 2012 Mt. SAC Relays on flotrack.org

Honorable Mention: Andrew Riley, Illinois
At Saturday’s John McDonnell Invitational at Arkansas, Riley took second in the 110 meter hurdles behind world indoor champion Aries Merritt. Riley’s time of 13.28 seconds makes him the eighth-fastest collegian of all time.

Team of the Week: Virginia Tech
Heading into the last few events of the ACC Championships, the Hokies had a lead on Florida State, but the Seminoles were poised to close it down in the 200 meters, their strongest event. Senior Keith Ricks led three Hokies in that race, running only 0.02 off his PR and allowing Florida State to cut the lead by only eight points. Likewise in the triple jump, Tech’s Hashim Halim finished behind FSU’s Philip Young, but by only one place.

Going into the 5000 meters, Virginia Tech led by 5½ points, where almost anything could happen, and came out of it with a 6½ point lead. A fifth-place finish in the 4×400 iced the win—Virginia Tech’s first ever ACC outdoor championship.

Team Player: Kendall Parks, Kennesaw State
At the Atlantic Sun Championships, Parks shouldered a tremendous load. All in one afternoon, he ran the 4×100 (second place), 110 hurdles (first place), 100 meters (fifth place) and 400 hurdles (second place)—and then had one more assignment: anchor the 4×400 relay with the entire championship on the line. An exhausted Parks (barely) succumbed to East Tennessee State, who won the A-Sun title by a mere 2½ points.

Chris Berman, have you thought of: George Mason’s 400 hurdler, George “Runnin’ on” Empty

Long time coming: Bryshon Nellum, USC
On Saturday at the Mt. SAC Relays, Nellum ran a PR of 45.18 in the 400 meters, stamping him as a favorite for the NCAA Championships and possibly even the Olympic team. His previous PR was 45.38, set way back in high school in 2007. It’s been a long time since he set a PR, because of a devastating gunshot wound suffered four years ago. He’s stuck it out, even when medical advice was that he’d never regain his peak form, and now looks to reap the rewards of his hard work.

Women

Athlete of the Week: Christina Manning, Ohio State
On Saturday at Florida’s Tom Jones Memorial Invitational, Manning took second in the 100 meter hurdles behind the World Indoor Championships silver medalist, Tiffany Porter. Manning’s wind-aided time of 12.55 is the third-fastest in collegiate history. For comparison’s sake, Lolo Jones’ breakout race at the 2008 Olympic Trials was also wind-aided and only 0.11 seconds faster.

Honorable mention: Kimberlyn Duncan, LSU
On Saturday at the LSU Alumni Gold, Duncan won the 100 meters and 200 meters and anchored the winning 4×100 relay. Her 100 time, 11.05, is a PR and makes her the 9th-fastest US collegian of all time. Already a star in the 200, she’s getting better at the shorter race now too.

Team of the Week: Clemson
The Tigers won the ACC Championships in dominating fashion, recording the biggest margin of victory in the last 18 years. They could possibly challenge to win the NCAA Championships, with eleven top-ten athletes (in nine different events).

Team Player: Erica Peake, Coastal Carolina
At the Big South Championships, Peake won the 100 meters, 200 meters, and long jump, took eighth in the triple jump, and ran on the winning 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

Back in the game: Toni Young, Oklahoma State
On Saturday at the John McDonnell Invitational, Young jumped 1.78 meters (5′ 10″). This is her first high jumping competition since 2009, when she was in high school and set the national record of 6′ 4″. She had turned to basketball in the interim. Expect her to improve and rapidly.

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