GLIAC -- The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) has announced weekly awards following the first weekend of the 2017-18 indoor track and field season. In women's competition, Grand Valley State junior Rachael Walters earned GLIAC Track Athlete of the Week honors, while Ashland junior Natalie Helenthal captured GLIAC Field Athlete of the Week accolades. On the men's side, Tiffin graduate student James Ngandu earned GLIAC Track Athlete of the Week distinction, while Tiffin junior Eric Jackson captured GLIAC Field Athlete of the Week recognition.
WOMEN'S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE WEEK - Rachael Walters, Grand Valley State
Grand Valley State junior Rachael Walters met a NCAA Provisional mark with a second place finish at the GVSU Holiday Open in the 800m with a time of 2:10.00. Walters was also part of the 4x400 relay team that met an NCAA Provisional mark with a time of 3:43.91. The senior from Belding, Mich. now holds the fastest time in the GLIAC and in Division II in the 800m, while the 4x400 relay teams also holds the fastest time in the GLIAC and in Division II.
WOMEN'S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK - Natalie Helenthal, Ashland
At the Tiffin Alumni Open on Saturday, Ashland junior Natalie Helenthal won the women’s weight throw with a top heave of 18.86 meters/61-feet-10½. That mark was just shy of her personal collegiate record of 19.07 meters/62-feet-6¾, set at the Kent State Golden Flash Gala last season. Helenthal’s effort at Tiffin ranks her No. 3 in NCAA Division II in the weight throw in the early portion of the 2017-18 indoor season.
MEN'S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE WEEK - James Ngandu, Tiffin
Tiffin graduate student James Ngandu opened the 2017-18 indoor track and field season in strong fashion, winning the 5,000 meters at the Grand Valley State Holiday Open with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 13:57.54. His time is tops in the nation and the conference so far this season.
MEN'S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK - Eric Jackson, Tiffin
Tiffin junior Eric Jackson had a showstopping performance at the Tiffin Alumni Open, opening his season with a huge shot put throw of 18.04 meters (59-2.25) to win the event. His throw was tops in the nation so far this season as well as the conference.