Sometimes it’s hard to adjust to collegiate competition when you’re a freshmen. Maybe it wasn’t as difficult for these three rookies.
Brown’s Josie Natrasevschi (Fort Collins, CO) wasted little time during the outdoor season to show the conference that she’s a conference and regional contender in the discus throw. She reset the conference record in the discus in her first meet of the season in early March of 176-05. At the time, Tim Springfield, Director of Brown’s track and field/cross country program, said it best in the Brown Athletics meet recap: “I’m kind of speechless… Having a freshman come to her first collegiate discus competition, at a major invitational, in cold and wet conditions, and win the event is remarkable enough. To set the all-time Ivy League record as well is truly phenomenal. Just an amazing performance.” But she broke her own record again at the Penn Relays to win the College Women Discus Throw Championship with a distance of 183-09, becoming Brown’s first Penn Relays champion in the process. The mark still stands as both the Ivy League record and New England regional record. While she had to settle for runner-up accolades at her first Outdoor Heps in both the discus and shot put throws, she won the ECAC Discus Throw title and qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships where she finished 16th overall. Her field season ended in June when she won the USATF Junior National title in 175-07 in the discus.
Cornell had such a good sprinting relay year that it’s hard to keep track that there was a frosh among those speedsters. Taysia Radoslav (Stony Creek, Ontario) was a part of two Heps Championship winning relay teams – the indoor 4x440yd relay (3:42.03) and outdoor 4×400 relay (3:34.78). Both times are meet records. But it’s even harder for a relay to shine on the national scene, which is what this Cornell 4×400 squad did during the NCAA Preliminary Round in May. The team ultimately set a new Ivy League record of 3:31.77, booking tickets for the NCAA finals – they would not have been able to do it without Radoslav’s blazing 52.70 third leg, the fastest third leg in the field. Radoslav is more than just a team player though – she’s a talented 400m hurdler as well. She finished third at the Outdoor Heps with 58.71 (#10 in meet history) and secured an individual berth to NCAAs in the same event with a PR of 57.87 (#6 in conference history). She was the only Ivy athlete to participate in two events at the 2015 NCAA Championships, where she finished 22nd in the intermediate hurdles and 16th for the relay. Outside of the collegiate season, she represented Team Canada at the Pan-American Junior Championships in both the 400m hurdles and 4×400 relay where she earned a silver and bronze medal, respectively. She also won the Canadian Junior national title in the 400m hurdles.
For our male rookie of the year, I need to explain an internal debate I’ve been having regarding Cornell’s hammer champ Rudy Winkler (Sand Lake, NY). I know that previously we never honored Winkler with a “Rookie of the Week” award during any of the field seasons earlier this year, but typically his performances were also worthy of the main athlete of the week so I thought it would be covered. Part of my confusion/debate is that he’s considered a “sophomore” for the indoor season and a “freshman” for the outdoor season. So does that make him eligible for a “rookie” award? In the end, I’ve decided that since his biggest impact was during the outdoor season, he could be eligible for the “rookie” award. Yes, I know he was the Indoor Heps Field MVP for winning the weight throw with a top-10 all-time performance (68-0 ½), but he really shined during the outdoor season where he dominated the hammer throw in Ivy competition, winning the Outdoor Heps title in 218-0, and earned All-American honors at the NCAA Championships with an eighth place finish (223-5). He threw further than 220 feet on five of his six throws in the NCAA competition. He set a new PR a few days later at the Amity Throwers meet (230-10), the second best throw in conference history behind former Princetonian/current USC Trojan and NCAA hammer throw champ Conor McCullough (242-10). Winkler has another three seasons to improve 12 feet to claim the conference record as his own – I think he can do it. He’s broken some of McCullough’s high school records, so why stop there?