February 2020 Athletes of the Month

3/25/2020
 

 

MENDOTA HEIGHTS – Each year, February is the beginning of championship season for indoor track & field, and this year it was also home of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Atlanta, Georgia, giving us many great performances to pick from for our February Athlete of the Month awards. Matt Wilkinson of Carleton College and Jada Lewis of Augsburg University, both with strong performances at the MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships, were this month’s men’s and women’s winners.
 
Matt Wilkinson, originally from Minnetonka, Minnesota, is currently a junior at Carleton College in Northfield, MN where he has accumulated 13 All-MIAC awards and four All-American awards thus far in his cross country and track & field career, highlighted by a runner-up finish at this past fall’s NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. At the MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships on Feb. 28-29 at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, Wilkinson won the 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters, earning his third straight conference title in the 5,000 meters and setting the MIAC Championship meet record in the 3,000 meters (8:11.52). Wilkinson also anchored the winning Distance Medley Relay (DMR) team for the Carleton Knights. Heading into this year’s NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, which have now unfortunately been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilkinson was ranked 3rd, 1st and 1st, respectively, in the mile (4:08.55), 3,000 meters (8:11.52) and 5,000 meters (14:22.34), in all of Division III. With all of the aforementioned performances of his coming in the month of February, Wilkinson has earned the title of USATF Minnesota’s Men’s February Athlete of the Month.
 
This month’s women’s Athlete of the Month winner is Jada Lewis, a native of Minneapolis, MN and current student-athlete at Augsburg University. Lewis won her third straight MIAC 60 meter dash title with a time of 7.78 at this past month’s MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships, earning her the title of USATF Minnesota’s Women’s February Athlete of the Month. Earlier in the month of February, Lewis also ran 7.67 at the Minnesota Cold Classic Invite, which put her as the 11th fastest woman in all of Division III heading into this year’s NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, before the aforementioned cancellation of the meet by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic was announced. Lewis is also a seven-time All-MIAC honoree in her career at Augsburg.
 
Congratulations Matt and Jada!
 
Men’s Honorable Mention Performances in February
  •  ‚ÄčJoe Klecker (Hopkins, MN/Colorado) – placed 2nd in the 3,000 meters at the Millrose Games in 7:47.57, which is the 2nd fastest time at Colorado all-time and the 19th fastest in NCAA history. Klecker also ran 13:34.10 in the 5,000 meters earlier in the month at the Husky Invite, resetting his own Colorado school record. Heading into the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, Klecker was ranked 1st, 7th and 6th in the mile, 3,000 meters, and 5,000 meters, respectively, in all of Division I.
  • Sammie Houston (Eden Prairie, MN/U of MN) – became the Big Ten Champion in the triple jump with his leap of 16.18 meters (53-01.00 ft) at the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships. Houston’s jump was the best jump in the Big Ten this year, ranked 8th in all of Division I this year, broke the Golden Gopher’s school record and also made Houston the first Golden Gopher Big Ten Champion in the triple jump in 24 years.
  • Kevin Lewis (Minnesota Distance Elite) – was the top Minnesotan finisher at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Atlanta, GA placing 39th with a time of 2:17:36.
  • Tyl Woelber (Pipestone, MN/Augustana) – scored 34 points at the NSIC Indoor Track & Field Championships: 1st in the heptathlon, 2nd in both the triple and long jump, tied for 4th in the high jump and placed 6th in the 60m hurdles. His score in the heptathlon was 5,357 points, an NSIC record and the 7th best performance in Division II this year, at the time.
  • Taylor Rooney (Andover, MN/Gustavus Adolphus) – set a new MIAC Championship meet record in the 60m hurdles with his time of 8.01, claiming his third straight MIAC title in the event. Also ran 8.00 in the 60m hurdles at the Maverick Invitational earlier in the month, which was the #1 time in all of Division III at the time, and is now #2.
  • Kieran McKeag (Apple Valley, MN/U of MN) – placed 2nd in the weight throw with a toss of 22.05 meters (72-04.25ft) at the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships. Also won the Minnesota Cold Classic earlier in the month with a throw of 22.93 meters (75-02.75ft) which was a personal best throw and the top throw in all of Division I at the time.
  • Matt Bye (Moorhead, MN/Concordia Moorhead) – won his 2nd consecutive Pentathlon title at the MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships, ranking 11th in all of Division III.
  • Obsa Ali (Richfield, MN) – placed 11th in the 3,000 meters at the USATF Indoor Championships with a time of 8:14.55.
  • Mason Roomes (Woodbury, MN/U of MN) – jumped the top long jump mark in the Big Ten at the Meyo Invitational with a jump of 7.71 meters (25-03.50ft), which is also the 2nd best jump in Golden Gophers history.
  • Shane Streich (Waseca, MN/U of MN) – placed 5th in the 800 meters at the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships with a time of 1:49.50, which is the 10th fastest time in Golden Gophers history.
 
Women’s Honorable Mention Performances in February
 
  • Bethany Hasz (Alexandria, MN/U of MN) – placed 3rd in the mile, 7th in the 5,000 meters and 2nd in the 3,000 meters at the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships, scoring 16 of the Golden Gophers 99 total team points, as they went on to a runner-up team finish.
  • Dakotah Lindwurm (Minnesota Distance Elite) – was the top Minnesotan finisher at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Atlanta, GA in 36th place with a time of 2:39:08.
  • Heather Kampf (Minnesota Distance Elite) – finished 10th in the 1,500 meters at the USATF Indoor Championships with a time of 4:22.61.
  • Brianna Berninghaus (Montgomery, MN/Hamline) – won her 2nd straight indoor 200 meter dash title at the MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships in 25.61, ranking 19th in all of Division III at the time.
  • Rachel Schow (Rosemount, MN/U of MN) – placed 5th in the 60m hurdles at the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships, making her the 3rd fastest Golden Gopher of all-time in that event with her time of 8.30. Schow was also on the Gophers’ 6th place 4x400 meter relay team.
  • Lexi Kiefer (Northfield, MN/U of MN) – placed 4th in the pole vault with a jump of 4.05 meters (13-03.5 ft) at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
  • The Augustana Women’s Distance Medley Relay (DMR) Team with Minnesotans Mariah Beckius, Emily Tromp and PJ English and Iowan Carly Rahn set the all-time NSIC record in the women’s DMR at the NSIC Indoor Track & Field Championships, winning the event in a time of 11:51.62, besting the previous record of 12:01.42 set by the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2017. Their time was a provisional NCAA qualifying time and ranked 16th in all of Division II.
 
We welcome your nominations!
To nominate an athlete for USATF Minnesota’s Athlete of the Month award, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to maxwellkuzara@gmail.com with the subject line “Athlete of the Month Nomination”.

Fans can follow along with USATF Minnesota on FacebookTwitter, and online at www.minnesota.usatf.org.
 
 
Maxwell Kuzara
Athlete of the Month Committee Chair
USA Track & Field Minnesota
e-mail