RYAN CROUSER IS NO STRANGER to our annual Indoor Athlete Of The Year honors, and this year he completed a unique quadrifecta: he was the HS AOY in ’11, the Collegiate AOY in ’16, the U.S. AOY in ’20 and now he’s our World AOY for ’21.
World Men: Ryan Crouser (US)
3 undefeated World Record setters were in the mix, but the credentials presented by putter Ryan Crouser (74‑10½/22.82) and hurdler Grant Holloway (7.29) were so good that new triple jump king Hugues Fabrice Zango (59‑3½/18.07) was clearly only the third-best, despite producing the Nos. 1 & 8 performances ever. After much debate, we finally awarded the top spot to Crouser over fellow American Holloway.
In his 5 meets Crouser turned in all-time performances 1, 2, =3, 5, 9 & 10. On the seasonal basis he had the 8 farthest puts, plus Nos. 10–13.
Holloway’s 5 meets kicked out all-time performances 1, =3, =3 & =7, and for the year he claimed the year’s 8 fastest times, plus Nos. 10 & 14.
U.S. Men: Crouser (Nike)
Ryan Crouser made it 2 in a row as the top American with Grant Holloway (who put his name in the AR book 4 times) again being right on his heels. Honorable mention to AR setters Donavan Brazier (1:44.21 in the 800) and Bryce Hoppel (2:16:27 in the 1000).
The 5 previous winners: ’20—Crouser; ’19—Donavan Brazier (Nike); ’18—Christian Coleman (Nike); ’17—Coleman (Tennessee); ’16—Ashton Eaton (Oregon TC).
Collegiate Men: KC Lightfoot (Baylor)
Honorable mention to Hocker and his teammate, 1500 (3:35.46, subsequently broken) and mile (3:50.39) CR setter Cooper Teare. Also CR setter and NCAA champ shot putter Turner Washington of Arizona State (71-8¼/21.85). LSU’s JuVaughn Harrison also deserves a nod for his historic HJ/LJ double at the NCAA. Check out a rundown on February’s CR action here.
High School Boys: Jaylen Slade (IMG, Bradenton, Florida)
Junior Jaylen Slade was all over the prep sprint lists, topping the charts with a national record 20.62 in the 200. Additionally, he led the yearly lists in the 55 (6.24), 60 (6.68) and 300 (32.77), not to mention also being No. 3 in the 400 (47.84).
Slade’s choice was a very narrow decision over Hobbs Kessler (Skyline, Ann Arbor, Michigan), who claimed the national mile record with his 3:57.66. Honorable mention as well to HJ leader Kamyren Garrett (Lawrence Central, Indianapolis and hurdler/long jumper Leonard Mustari (Dunbar, Ft. Myers, Florida).
The 5 previous winners: ’20—Nico Young (Newbury Park, California); ’19—Sam Affolder (Loudoun Valley, Purcellville, Virginia); ’18—Mondo Duplantis (Lafayette, Louisiana); ’17—Duplantis; ’16—Drew Hunter (Loudoun Valley, Purcellville, Virginia). □