School record holder and national champion Ricky Nelson, Jr., of the Barton Community College men's track and field team was recently named the National Men's Field Athlete of the Year by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for NJCAA Division I.
Nelson was one of four NJCAA Division I athletes awarded as voted by USTFCCCA member coaches based on performances at both the 2017 NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend and the entire season.
The University of Tennessee signee stepped up in a big way this past weekend in Hutchinson, Kansas, scoring seventeen of Barton's 98 national runner-up team total at the Championships. Beginning the three-day three-event weekend with a fourth place in Thursday's hammer throw, Nelson placed seventh in Friday's shot put before crushing the competition in Saturday's discus throw by more than twenty-six feet for the title in his last event as a Cougar.
"I'm very proud of Ricky and his accomplishments," said Barton Track and Field Head Coach David Schenek. "He has worked hard every day and was a great contributor to our program and its success!"
A double All-American in the indoor season including a national runner-up finish in the weight throw with a school fifth best throw of 18.57m (60-11.00), the sophomore from Belleville, Illinois, continued the momentum into the outdoor season winning the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) Field Athlete of the Week twice going on to claim Region VI titles in both the discus throw and hammer throw in being named the Region VI Field Athlete of the Meet.
The NJCAA's No. 1 ranked thrower in the discus, Nelson owns the school record by more than five feet at 58.15m (190-9) and ranked 2nd nationally in the hammer throw in also breaking the school record setting the new mark two feet further at 58.59m (192-3).