Male Athletes of the Week
Cornell junior Bob Belden (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Princeton sophomore Russell Dinkins (Philadelphia, Pa.) share the first honor of the New Year. Belden — a double throws champion at the Southern Tier Open in Ithaca, N.Y., on Friday night — bettered the IC4A qualifier in both the shot put (53-10 1/4) and the weight throw (57-6 1/2) and now has the best throws in each event in the League this winter. Dinkins became the third active Tiger to run sub-48 in the 400-meter dash at Navy on Saturday, finishing in 47.95. That quick early-season time was more than three seconds swifter than anyone else, although junior teammate Austin Hollimon got sent to the sidelines after a false start. Hollimon and Mike Eddy each broke that exclusive 48-second barrier last season.
Dec. 5 — Nick Huber (Cornell)
Dec. 12 — Darcy Wilson (Harvard) & Austn Hollimon (Princeton)
Male Rookie of the Week
Princeton freshman Damon McLean (Kingston, Jamaica) recorded back-to-back-to-back 50-foot triple jumps to start off the New Year in a dual meet victory over the Midshipmen at the Naval Academy on Saturday. His best mark — a 15.49 meter (50-10) effort — is within nine inches of the all-time Ivy League top 10.
Dec. 5 — Chris Bain (Cornell) & Kinsley Ojukwu (Cornell)
Dec. 12 — Tom Hopkins (Princeton)
Female Athletes of the Week
Princeton senior Thanithia Billings (Carrollton, Ga.) and Cornell junior Melissa Hewitt (Brampton, Ont.) look poised to rack up points in field events come February. Billings broke the Heps weight throw record in the last performance of 2010 and now she is proving that her huge improvement is anything but a fluke. At Saturday’s quad-meet with Rutgers, St. John’s and St. Joseph’s at Jadwin Gym, Billings easily won both the shot put (49-1 3/4) and weight throw (62-0 1/4). If she could sweep those events at Indoor Heps, she’d be the first Tiger female to do so. Hewitt opened the year with a big leap, kicking up sand at 19-7 in the long jump at the Southern Tier Open at Barton Hall in Ithaca. Easily topping the ECAC qualifying standard in the long jump, Hewitt also tried the triple jump for the first time in her career and posted an impressive debut effort of 37-5.
Dec. 5 — Kate Grace (Yale) & Brynn Smith (Brown)
Dec. 12 — Thanithia Billings (Princeton)
Female Rookies of the Week
A pair of freshmen — Princeton’s Kristin Smoot (Bernardsville, N.J.) and Dartmouth’s Katelyn Walker (Shaker Heights, Ohio) — share the first weekly honor of 2011. Smoot is now in the top five all-time at Princeton in the 1,000-meter run after crossing the line first in 2:53.57 at a quad-meet hosted by the Tigers. She has now turned in great debut performances in both the 600 and 1,000 this year and will likely look to compete for a Heps title in the 800. Walker finished second (out of 39 competitors) in the mile run at the Dartmouth Relays on Sunday, with a sub-five showing (4:59.52).
Dec. 5 — Colby Lubman (Brown) & Gabrielle Piper (Penn)
Dec. 12 — Alaina Murphy (Harvard) & Kristin Smoot (Princeton)