Weekly College Awards

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This was last chance weekend, everyones final attempt to get to the NCAA Championships. Sing it, Michael!

Lists of the weeks top marks are over at Flotrack men here, women here.

Who made it big this week? Lets get to it!

MEN

Athlete of the Week: Maurice Mitchell
Mitchell ran a pair of seasonal bests at the Arkansas Final Qualifier, a 6.61 in the 60 meters and a 20.70 in the 200 meters. As the top returning 200 meter runner in the NCAA, he got off to a slow start this year and hadnt yet sewn up spot at this weeks NCAA Championships. Now hes not only in the meet, but one of the favorites.

Honorable Mention: Tavaris Tate
Tate won the 400 meters at the Alex Wilson Invitational in 46.10, which puts him second on the yearly NCAA list. He anchored his 4400 relay to 3:05.07, also second on the college list, with a split of 45.4.

Team player: Rutger Admirand, Cornell
At the IC4A Championships, Admirand won the 800 meters (1:49.03) and anchored the winning 4800 relay. More impressive is his second-leg run on the Big Reds 4400 relay – he did it off about five or so minutes rest from the 4800. Thats going into a world of hurt for the benefit of his teammates.

Maybe Hes In The Wrong Event: Kind Butler, Indiana
Butler is a decent 100 meter sprinter, but has blossomed into a very good 200 meter sprinter. In the longer race he has only one loss this year, to 2011 All-American Zye Boey, and has taken some big scalps, such as Maurice Mitchell (see above). He figures as a probable finalist at this weeks NCAA Championships. But he may have unwittingly discovered his true calling.

At last weeks Big Ten Championships, the Hoosiers pulled off a tremendous upset to win. They needed points in the 4400 relay, and Butler ran the anchor leg with all his heart and reportedly split 45.0. Given the running start and the inexactness of hand timing, you figure thats worth about a 45.75 for an open 400 race—which would put him as a clear #1 in the NCAA this year. He followed that up with a sick 44.7 carry yesterday at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame, a split as fast as that of wunderkind Bryson Spratling and faster than of Tavaris Tate (see above).

Should he become a 400 specialist? You decide.

Watch more video of 2012 Alex Wilson Invitational (Notre Dame) on flotrack.org

Screwed?: Zye Boey, Eastern Illinois
Boey was seventh in the 200 meters at last years NCAA Championships. With a best time of 21.07, currently just 17th on the NCAA list, hes unlikely to qualify to the meet this year. He headed to Notre Dame for their last chance meet to try to secure a qualifying time.

But there is no record of his result, because the timing system malfunctioned. That kind of error is rare these days, but s**t in fact does happen. Its hard to get a hand-timing off the video, because the starter is not in the picture. I get a hand-timing of about 21.0, which means he probably didnt run fast enough to get to nationals had the timing been in place. But youd like to know for sure.

Watch more video of 2012 Alex Wilson Invitational (Notre Dame) on flotrack.org

No Sweat: Floyd Ross, New Mexico
Heading into the weekend, triple jumper Ross was somewhere around 20th on the NCAA list. That wouldnt have gotten him into the national championships, so he headed to Notre Dame for one last try. Down to his very last attempt of the regular season, he popped a PR by eleven centimeters (four inches) to get his qualifying mark. The jump qualified him for this summers Olympic Trials, too.

WOMEN

Athlete of the Week: Natalja Piliusina, Oklahoma State
Its rare to see a national leader on last chance weekend, but Piliusina did just that with her 2:03.46 run over 800 meters on Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational. She was already one of the favorites at this weeks NCAA Championships, as she was second at the outdoor championships last June. In fact, all of the top four from that race return and will be running in Boise this weekend.

Watch more video of 2012 Alex Wilson Invitational (Notre Dame) on flotrack.org

Honorable Mention: Jura Levy, Oklahoma Baptist
Levy won the 60 and 200 meter races at the NAIA Championships in Geneva, Ohio. Her time in the longer race, 23.03, would put her #2 on this years NCAA Division I list. Its also the fastest indoor 200 meters ever run in the state of Ohio.

Team Player: Joyce Chumo, Mississippi Valley
Chumo ran a distance quadruple at the SWAC Championships, winning the 3000 and 5000 and taking second in the mile, and also anchoring the second-place distance medley. She had a hand in 36 of the Delta Devils 65 points.

Throwdown: Sheila Reid, Villanova unattached
Reid has used up her indoor eligibility, and ran her first race of the year at the Columbia Last Chance meet. Competing unattached, the five-time NCAA champion warmed up in a Maple Leafs jacket (shes from the Toronto exurb of Newmarket, and may have been celebrating the recent firing of coach Ron Wilson). Halfway through the race she surged far ahead of the field and ran 9:01.83. Its only 5 seconds off her PR at the distance. The last time she lost to a collegian in an outdoor race was June 2010.

Tough Athlete: Courtney Siebenaller, Dayton
The start of the womens 800 meters at Notre Dames Alex Wilson Invitational was delayed, and my heart sank as soon as I found out why. Siebenaller was receiving medical attention on the pole vault pad. On her final attempt at 3.94 meters, she came down badly and severely broke her lower leg in a manner similar to the famous Joe Theisman incident on Monday Night Football in 1985. The head official at the pole vault said it was one of the worst injuries hes seen in fifty years. Ive known her for a long time, as she competed for our rival high school located just two miles down the road. This is her senior year, and obviously her college career is done.

Siebenaller did not shreik, or cry, or exhibit signs of shock. She patiently waited for medical personnel and a stretcher. UND sports medicine staff said she kept her composure unusually well. Engaging in small talk to keep her distracted during the wait, they said her reply to what are your plans for this spring was not pole vaulting, obviously accompanied by a laugh. Ive always thought of Siebenaller as a tough athlete, but never figured she was this tough. Get well soon.