By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Jenna Higgins of Mount Mercy (Iowa) has been named the NAIA National Women's Outdoor Field Athlete of The Week and Nikita Tracey of Oklahoma Baptist has been honored as the NAIA National Women's Track Athlete of The Week, the national office announced Wednesday. Higgins and Tracey were selected based on their performances from April 23 - 29 and are the final awards of the 2012 season. Tracey is the fifth-straight Bison athlete to garner the outdoor track weekly honor.
Higgins, a junior from Eldridge, Iowa, bettered her own school record for the third-consecutive week, this time coming at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. She posted a 160-0 toss in the javelin, which was a NAIA automatic qualifying mark and the best in the nation this year. She reached 160 feet for the first time ever and the three competitors that finished ahead of her were NCAA Division I athletes.
Tracey, a sophomore from Clarendon, Jamaica, improved her NAIA-leading time in the 400-meter hurdles by more than a second at the Drake Relays. She finished third out of 23 runners with a time of 57.89 and was only beaten out by two NCAA Division I athletes. Tracey also was on the school-record 4x200 relay team (1:36.0) and the 4x800 relay team (9:03.45) that turned in the NAIA's best time of the season. Both of those efforts resulted in first-place finishes in the college division.
For a complete listing of all the national event leaders, click here.
Track Nominees: Kristen Ostrem, Evangel (Mo.); Paige DeLapp, Northwest (Wash.); Leslie Rangle, Saint Mary (Kan.); Christine Sheppard, Southwestern (Kan.); Cassandra Hallam, Oklahoma Christian; Amelia Maguin, Southern Oregon; Hailee Heitkamp, Morningside (Iowa); NyEma Sims, Concordia (Ore.); Alexis Swinney, William Penn (Iowa); Obsie Birru, Grand View (Iowa); Stephanie Kenney, Taylor (Ind.); Jamela Kimbrough, Indiana Tech; Mariah Toussaint, Midland (Neb.); Karen Hutson, Northwestern (Iowa); Nathelie Zetrenne, Campbellsville (Ky.); Christine McMahon, Milligan (Tenn.); Cassie Keeping, Siena Heights (Mich.); Courtney Welling, Corban (Ore.); Breanna Leslie, Azusa Pacific (Calif.).
Field Nominees: Katie Thurbon, Baker (Kan.); Corinne Burke, Northwest (Wash.); Vanessa Legg, Indiana East; Brianna Betts, Ottawa (Kan.); Erin Bradley, Bethel (Kan.); Sarah Wenzel, Ashford (Iowa); Katie Ostlund, Oklahoma Christian; Hannah Mason, Southern Oregon; Sharayah Kenady, Concordia (Ore.); Jaclyn Scavuzzo, St. Ambrose (Iowa); Henrietta Carey, Taylor (Ind.); Kayla Roemmich, Jamestown (N.D.); Emaryne Watt, Indiana Tech; Karen Hutson, Northwestern (Iowa); Lauren Eickemeyer, Concordia (Neb.); Tiana Benjamin, Campbellsville (Ky.); Latanya Nation, Wayland Baptist (Texas); Ashton Henderson, Doane (Neb.); Phoenix Duncan, Siena Heights (Mich.); Janie Smith, Milligan (Tenn.); Rachel Newby, Corban (Ore.); Evan Shimanek, Oklahoma Baptist; Milika Tuivanuavou, Fresno Pacific (Calif.); Brittan Green, Cornerstone (Mich.); Katie Bruer, Mount Marty (S.D.); Megan Vanwinkle, Azusa Pacific (Calif.).
2012 Composite Award Winners (Outdoor Track / Outdoor Field)
Week 1: Adella King, Indiana Tech / Stacia Murray; Indiana Tech
Week 2: Leandria Lee, Wayland Baptist (Texas) / Sharayah Kenady, Concordia (Ore.)
Week 3: Evan Shimanek, Oklahoma Baptist / Adella King, Indiana Tech
Week 4: Stacy Warrior, Oklahoma Baptist / Kimmy Moore, Eastern Oregon
Week 5: Verone Chambers, Oklahoma Baptist / Tiosha Beasley, Campbellsville (Ky.)
Week 6: Jura Levy, Oklahoma Baptist / Gabriella Dixson, Concordia (Ore.)
Week 7: Nikita Tracey, Oklahoma Baptist / Jenna Higgins, Mount Mercy (Iowa)