NCAA & NJCAA National Athletes of the Week (Oct. 12)

Courtesy: Tyler Mayforth & Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

October 12, 2015   

NEW ORLEANS – This past weekend might have been the calm before the storm ahead of a busy weekend of cross country, but that didn’t stop a number of athletes from turning in strong performances. And for that reason, we honor this week’s National Athletes of the Week in Division I, Division II, Division III and NJCAA.

This week’s recipients are UMass Lowell’s Robert Allen (Division I men), Boston College’s Laura Hottenrott (Division I women), New Mexico Highlands’ Collins Kirui (Division II men), Lewis’ Amanda Farrough (Division II women), Amherst’s Mohamed Hussein (Division III men), Middlebury’s Abigail Nadler (Division III women), Iowa Western’s Sylvester Barus (NJCAA Division I men), Barton County’s Lydia Mato (NJCAA Division I women), Mohawk Valley’s Zakaria Djouma (NJCAA Division III men) and Harper College’s Ali Gutt (NJCAA Division III women).

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.

NCAA Division I Men – Robert Allen, UMass Lowell

Senior / Providence, Rhode Island

With only a little over a month left in his collegiate running career, Robert Allen is making the most of it. The senior took down the weekend’s toughest field at the NEICAAA New England Championships, covering the 8K course in 24:23.7 to win by six seconds to become the first UMass Lowell runner to win the title.

With Pre-Nationals looming this coming weekend, Allen and his Riverhawks squad ran a controlled effort for the first two-thirds of the race before opening up in the closing stages of the race. He pulled away from the field, including DIII National Athlete of the Week Mohamed Hussein of Amherst, on the final loop and was the only runner in sight on the final straightaway.

Pre-Nationals are next for Allen and UMass Lowell this Saturday. Allen was eighth in his race at Pre-Nats a year ago.

NCAA Division I Women – Laura Hottenrott, Boston College

Senior / Kassel, Germany

For the second time this season, Boston College senior Laura Hottenrott found herself on the top spot of the podium following a strong race.

Nearly one month ago, Hottenrott won the UMass Minuteman Invitational. This time, Hottenrott outran the competition at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Cross Country Championships held at Boston’s Franklin Park.

Hottenrott beat teammate Isabelle Kennedy to the line by two seconds to finish first out of the 263-runner field. Hottenrott covered the 5K course in 17:39.1

Next up for Hottenrott and her Boston College teammates will be the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Friday in Madison, Wisconsin.

NCAA Division II Men – Collins Kirui, New Mexico Highlands

Freshman | Iten, Kenya

Collins Kirui continues to establish himself as a national contender at the NCAA Division II level, notching his third win of the year this weekend at the Fort Hays Tiger Open. Against a field that included runners from a half-dozen teams ranked in the latest National Coaches’ Polls, Kirui covered the 8K course in 23:40.7 to topple former National Athlete of the Week Derrick Williams of CSU-Pueblo by 24 seconds.

Next up for Kirui and NMHU is the RMAC Championship on October 24.

NCAA Division II Women – Amanda Farrough, Lewis

Junior | South Bend, Indiana

Quickly establishing herself as one of the women to beat in NCAA DII cross country in 2015 is Amanda Farrough. In three meets this season, Farrough has finished no worse than runner-up – to Anna Rohrer of Notre Dame, no less – and has notched two victories, including a decisive win at the Lewis Conference Crossover Meet this weekend. She covered the 6K course in 21:05.21 to topple No. 3 Grand Valley State’s Gina Patterson by 13 seconds.

Coming up next for Farrough and her Flyers is the GLVC Championship meet on October 24.

NCAA Division III Men – Mohamed Hussein, Amherst

Sophomore / Hargeisa, Somolialand

It doesn’t matter the competition: Amherst sophomore Mohamed Hussein will shine.

This past weekend, Hussein stepped to the starting line against 252 other runners in the men’s varsity race at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Cross Country Championships held at Boston’s Franklin Park.

In a race loaded with runners from all collegiate levels, Hussein finished runner-up in 24:29. Hussein beat the next best DIII runner by 17 seconds.

Through three meets this season, Hussein has finished first twice and second once. This is Hussein’s third National Athlete of the Week honor of the season.

Hussein and the Lord Jeffs return to action this weekend when they host the Little III Championship.

NCAA Division III Women – Abigail Nadler, Middlebury

Freshman / Chicago, Illinios

Freshmen aren’t backing down in cross country this season.

That goes for Division I, Division II and certainly Division III. In the latter, Middlebury College freshman Abigail Nadler proved that point well.

Nadler ran well at the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association Cross Country Invitational this past weekend. She finished fifth out of 263 runners in a time of 17:51.2 over the 5K course at Franklin Park in Boston.

Nadler was the top-finishing runner from DIII. The next runner from her division crossed the finish line 14 seconds behind her.

Middlebury is back in action on Saturday at the University of Albany Invitational.

NJCAA Division I Men – Sylvester Barus, Iowa Western CC

Sophomore / Eldoret, Kenya

When you’re not going to be racing for a while, you might as well take advantage of every opportunity you get. Iowa Western’s Sylvester Barus did exactly that.

There was no competition for Barus at the Fort Hays State Open this past weekend as he won the men’s black race by 51 seconds. Barus covered the 8K course in 24:04.8.

Barus and his teammates won’t race again for three weeks. That’s when the Reivers take on all comers at the NJCAA Region IX Championships in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

NJCAA Division I Women – Lydia Mato, Barton CC

Sophomore / Accra, Ghana

Once the gun went off for the women’s black race at the Fort Hays State Open this past weekend, the field could have sat back and watched Barton Community College’s Lydia Mato run. It would have offered Mato just as much competition.

Mato destroyed the field, completing the 5K course in 17:44.5. She won the race by more than one minute.

Barton County won’t race again until Oct. 31 when they travel to the NJCAA Region VI Championships in Overland Park, Kansas.

NJCAA Division III Men – Zakaria Djouma, Mohawk Valley CC

Freshman | Utica, New York

Zakaria Djouma continues his reign atop NJCAA Division III cross country with his fifth victory of the 2015 season en route to his fourth National Athlete of the Week plaudit. His latest conquest came at the Hamilton College Invitational, in which he ran 25:12.6 over eight kilometers for a 21 second victory.

He puts his undefeated streak on the line again on October 24 at the NJCAA Regional Championships.

NJCAA Division III Women – Ali Gutt, Harper College

Freshman | Schaumburg, Illinois

Ali Gutt, one of NJCAA Division III’s top runners all season long in 2015, continued to build that reputation this past weekend at the Benedictine Eagle Invitational. In a mostly NCAA Division III field, Gutt finished sixth overall in 23:09.8 on the 6K course among a field of 126 runners.

Gutt and the Hawks are back in action this upcoming weekend at the Bradley Classic.