First National Athletes of the Week Named for 2015 XC Season
NEW ORLEANS – One had a strong debut in Division I. Another returned to the site of an award-winning race from last year and picked up some more hardware. In between, four other runners stood out among their peers and all six were named the National Athletes of the Week for NCAA Cross Country, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Alabama’s Antibahs Kosgei, running his first race at the Division I level, won the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic going away. Carleton’s Hart Hornor, who earned earned the Division III men’s award, fared well at the Augustana (S.D.) Twilight Invitational to earn this honor for the second consecutive season.
Hannah Everson (Air Force Academy, Division I women), Alex Cushman (Indianapolis, Division II men), FEva Zaborowska (Harding, Division II women) and Kelsey Patrick (Lebanon Valley, Division III women) each brought home the other weekly honors.
Find out more about each of these runners by clicking their names or scrolling below.
National Athlete of the Week is an award selected and presented by the USTFCCCA Communications Staff at the beginning of each week to six collegiate cross country athletes (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions).
Nominations are open to the public. Coaches and sports information directors are encouraged to nominate their student-athletes; as are student-athletes, their families and friends, and fans of their programs.
The award seeks to highlight not only the very best times, marks and scores on a week-to-week basis, but also performances that were significant on the national landscape and/or the latest in a series of strong outings. Quality of competition, suspenseful finishes and other factors will also play a role in the decision.
Junior | Eldoret, Kenya
After tearing up the competition at the NJCAA level last year while competing for South Plains – he won the steeplechase title and finished runner-up both at 1500 and 5000 meters on the track – Kosgei now has his sights set on the NCAA. In his Crimson Tide debut at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic, Kosgei covered four miles in 19:49.75 to beat teammate Robbie Farnham-Rose by nearly 20 seconds and the rest of the 250+ runner field by nearly 25 seconds.
Kosgei and the rising Tide will get their first big test of the season on September 26 when they head to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree.
Senior | Colorado Springs, Colorado
No one has been more consistent on the course for the Air Force Academy women than that of Hannah Everson, who is now a senior. Dating back to her sophomore year, Everson has led the Falcons in 10 consecutive meets and that includes last Friday’s CSU (Colorado State) Invitational.
But not only did Everson pace Air Force, she also brought the entire 100-runner field through the finish line. Everson won last Friday’s meet in 17:32, five seconds faster than runner-up Audra Destefano of Wyoming.
The Falcons finished second in the team standings behind fourth-ranked Colorado. The Buffaloes’ top finisher was Maddie Alm, who was 51st at NCAAs last year.
Air Force continues its season next Saturday when it travels to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take part in the Woody Greeno Invitational.
Senior | Fort Wayne, Indiana
It’s been a while since we last saw Cushman on the cross country circuit – his last competition before redshirting 2014 was a 49th-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2013, with a pair of NCAA Championships appearances on the track in the meantime.
He’s back for one last go at All-America cross country honors in 2015, and he’s started that campaign off on the right foot with an individual title at the Cincinnati Queen City Invitational. The senior covered 6k in 18:13.2 to top by three seconds a field featuring Division I schools from around the Ohio Valley area.
He and the Greyhounds are back in action in two weeks’ time at the Indiana Intercollegiates.
Senior | Wejherowo, Poland
For various reasons, Zaborowska has not appeared at the NCAA Cross Country Championships since an 18th-place finish in 2012. Coming off a redshirted 2014 XC season, she rewrote her personal record book on the track with career-bests from 1500 meters through 5000, a national outdoor 1500 runner-up finish and a fourth-place indoor 3000 meter showing.
Those strides on the track have translated to the cross country course, as the senior from Poland took sixth overall out of approximately 250 runners at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic. She covered the 5k course in 17:39.3, trailing winner Rachael Reddy of Alabama by approximately half a minute and topping the next-best DII runner by about 40 seconds.
Zaborowska and her Harding squad will next compete at the Gulf Coast Stampede at West Florida.
Senior | Seattle, Washington
Another strong race at the Augustana (S.D.) Invitational, another Division III National Athlete of the Week honor for Carleton’s Hart Horner.
For the second consecutive season, Hornor’s performance under the lights distanced him from the rest of the male athletes in Division III Cross Country. Hornor finished the 2015 version of the 4K race in 19:24.7, good enough for seventh place overall.
It was a loaded meet as there were two Division I programs (Creighton and Nebraska) as well as two nationally-ranked DII teams (host No. 3 Augustana and No. 9 Sioux Falls) in the mix.
Hornor and the Knights are back in action on Friday in Wisconsin for the Wisconsin-River Falls Falcon Invitational.
Senior | Tamaqua, Pennsylvania
It’s a known fact that seniors want to leave their marks before they graduate.
Well, it’s safe to say Lebanon Valley’s Kelsey Patrick etched her name into the record books in a big way in her final Dutchmen Invitational of her career. Patrick broke her own course record set two years ago at Union Canal Tunnel Park by 14 seconds. She won the meet in 18:08.91 and beat runner-up Corinne Manela, who competed at last year’s NCAA Division II Women’s Cross Country Championships by five seconds.
Next up for Patrick and her teammates is the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Friday, which is hosted by Penn State University.