NCAA & NJCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (October 3)
NEW ORLEANS — We’re officially in the heart of the NCAA and NJCAA cross country seasons.
Week in and week out, championship-caliber meets will be held across the nation and this past weekend was no exception. From Pennsylvania to Washington and everywhere in between, we saw incredible performances and these 10 men and women stood out and were named National Athletes of the Week on Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The men’s honorees are Mississippi’s Sean Tobin (NCAA Division I), Missouri Southern’s Vincent Kiprop (NCAA Division II), UW-Platteville’s Ian LaMere (NCAA Division III), Cloud County CC’s Moses Dirane (NJCAA Division I) and Harper College’s Scott Williams (NJCAA Division III).
The women’s honorees are Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer (NCAA Division I), Saint Leo’s Colett Rampf (NCAA Division II), Stevens’ Amy Regan (NCAA Division III), Iowa Central’s Leanne Pompeani (NJCAA Division I) and RC-Gloucester’s Jordan Austin (NJCAA Division III).
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 | Clonmel, Ireland
With about 1K to go in last Friday’s Men’s Blue 5 Mile at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, it was a clear two-man race for the individual title between NC State’s George Parsons and Mississippi’s Sean Tobin. Parsons and Tobin left other standout runners like UTEP duo of Jonah Koech and Antony Kosgei and Eastern Kentucky’s duo of Amos Kosgey and Erick Rotich in the dust.
Then Tobin put Parsons in the rear-view mirror and proved himself to be "The Man."
Tobin crossed the finish line in 23:31.9, three seconds ahead of Parsons, and led the Rebels to the team title. This was the first collegiate XC win of Tobin’s career.
We’ll get another good look at Tobin and Ole Miss at the Penn State National come October 14.
Sophomore | Mishawaka, Indiana
With top runners from No. 1 Providence, No. 2 New Mexico, No. 5 NC State and several other programs in attendance at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational this past weekend, it was Anna Rohrer who defended her home turf and ran away with the individual title in the Women’s Blue 5K.
Rohrer beat New Mexico’s Alice Wright to the finish line by nearly five seconds. Actually, Rohrer’s time of 16:11.7 is the second fastest ever recorded on that course in the past 20 years.
This was the second XC win of Rohrer’s collegiate career and she finished eighth at this meet last year. Rohrer and the Irish will compete again in two weeks at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational against the nation’s best.
Sophomore | Kericho, Kenya
Already a National Athlete of the Week once this season, Kiprop earned the honor again after an eye-opening win at the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival. The reigning national runner-up covered the 8K course in 23:03.9, almost a full 30 seconds ahead of the duo of Alex George and Frankline Tonui from NCAA DI No. 5 Arkansas.
Not only was the competition impressive with runners from such DI schools as Arkansas and Villanova and the reigning DII champ Colorado Mines, but Kiprop’s final result was historic. Since the Chile Pepper Festival switched from a 10K to an 8K in 2013, no one has run a faster time. That includes such NCAA DI standouts as Kennedy Kithuka, Patrick Tiernan, Kemoy Campbell, Stanley Kebenei and Anthony Rotich.
Junior | Premnitz, Germany
In a Paul Short Gold Division race that featured reigning NCAA DII team champ Adams State, it was Rampf who shined brightest among DII athletes in the East Coast’s largest meet of the weekend. The junior covered Lehigh’s 6K course in 20:22.6, crossing the line more than 12 seconds clear of the next-best DII competitor. The time was also a 30-second career-best good for a Saint Leo school record over that distance.
She has yet to lose to an NCAA DII runner this season.
Senior | Green Bay, Wisconsin
During the spring, Ian LaMere proved himself to be among the best on the track, regardless of NCAA division.
This past weekend at the Greater Louisville Classic, LaMere did so on the XC course.
LaMere and his UW-Platteville teammates competed in the Men’s Gold 8K Race against some of the best athletes from NCAA DI and NCAA DII. By the time LaMere crossed the finish line in sixth place (23:59.6), he beat a number of those athletes including former NCAA DII National Athlete of the Week Corey Bellemore of Windsor, reigning NAIA individual champion Geoffrey Kipchumba of William Carey and many others.
While it’s nearly impossible to draw parallels from race to race, LaMere beat North Central (Ill.) senior Zach Plank‘s winning time in the Men’s Silver 8K Race (24:53.6) by 54 seconds. Plank is the biggest returning threat to LaMere’s NCAA DIII XC individual title.
Senior | Green Brook, New Jersey
Based off the results of the Women’s Silver 6K Race at the Greater Louisville Classic this past weekend, there’s a favorite to win the individual title at the NCAA DIII Championships and her name is Amy Regan.
Running in what is considered the NCAA DIII Pre-National Meet, Regan made it look easy. Regan won by nearly 25 seconds and crossed the finish line in 20:55.9.
Let’s put Regan’s win into context. She hasn’t lost an individual race since January and that’s because she went up against the best of the best at the John Thomas Terrier Invitational. Regan didn’t run cross country last year (redshirt), but she hasn’t lost an XC race since she finished sixth at the 2013 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.
Freshman | Pretoria, South Africa
Moses Dirane continues to impress against some of the best competition in the nation.
This past weekend at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, Dirane was the top NJCAA finisher. Dirane took 15th overall and beat former two-time National Athlete of the Week Wal Khat of North Iowa Area CC.
The race featured the best runners from NCAA DI Arkansas and 2015 NCAA DII XC champ Colorado Mines, among others. The individual title went to NCAA DII Men’s National Athlete of the Week Vincent Kiprop of Missouri Southern.
Sophomore | Canberra, Australia
Another week, another National Athlete of the Week honor for Leanne Pompeani.
This past weekend at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, Pompeani finished fourth out of 492 runners. Her time was 16:28.0, which was 15 seconds faster than her time from last year at the same meet.
The only runners to beat Pompeani to the finish line were Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer, who won the individual title and finished 3rd in the NCAA DI Outdoor 5000 this past season, Oklahoma City’s Aminat Olowora (two-time California Community College state champion) and Arkansas’ Devin Clark (American junior record holder in the steeplechase).
Freshman | Barrington, Illinois
Running at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships, Williams was the top NJCAA DIII runner across the line. He finished 32nd overall out of a field of more than 200 runners in 27:15.3, leading his team to a sixth-place showing in the largely NCAA DIII team standings.
Freshman | Sicklerville, New Jersey
On a partially flooded Don Cathcart Invitational course, Austin nevertheless ran well enough to cut two minutes from her 6K career-best set a week ago. The first-year runner crossed the line in 24:11.4 to finish 21st overall in the mostly NCAA DII and DIII field. Though this is her first full cross country season, she’s already made a national impact for Rowan-Gloucester on the track in a very different event. She was the third-place finisher in the 400-meter hurdles at the NJCAA DIII National Championships this past spring.