NCAA DI & NCAA DIII XC National Athletes of the Week (October 30)
NEW ORLEANS – Numerous conferences in NCAA Division I and NCAA Division III hosted their championships this past weekend and incredible performances were turned in across the nation.
A few stood out to the communications staff at the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and that’s why those athletes were named National Athletes of the Week on Monday morning.
- NCAA Division I Men – Grant Fisher, Stanford
- NCAA Division I Women – Dani Jones, Colorado
- NCAA Division III Men – Kevin Veltre, Rowan
- NCAA Division III Women – Nicky Roberts, Amherst
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 10 collegiate cross country athletes (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions and two NJCAA 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. Nominated athletes are noticed before those athletes found through searching TFRRS.
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 | Grand Blanc, Michigan
Grant Fisher had a beaming smile on his face as he crossed the finish line at the Pac-12 Championships this past weekend – and for good reason.
The junior from Grand Blanc, Michigan won the race in 23:44.9 and became the first male athlete from Stanford to capture the individual title since Elliott Heath in 2010. Later on, Fisher found out he led the Cardinal to its first team title since that same year.
Fisher bided his team in the race, just like he did during the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. Then once he and Colorado’s Joe Klecker rounded the final turn, Fisher unleashed his kick and left the eventual runner-up in his wake.
“It takes a long time to develop that confidence,” Fisher told the Pac-12 Network after the race about his closing speed. “I’m happy I have it now. I had a race a couple of weeks ago where I thought I made a lot of mistakes tactically, so today I just wanted to work on the right things.”
Junior | Phoenix, Arizona
Dani Jones learned what it takes to win at the conference and national level during this past track & field campaign. Jones anchored the Buffs to an indoor DMR title, won the indoor 3000 title and swept the 1500 and 5000 crowns at the outdoor Pac-12 Championships.
No one even stood a chance this past weekend in Springfield, Oregon.
Jones surged ahead of Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale and Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger to win the individual crown in 18:57.3. The junior from Phoenix, Arizona is the first woman from her program to win an individual XC title in the Pac-12 and first since Jenny Barringer (Simpson) to win an individual conference title since 2009.
“It was the first time where I’ve been on that last straight and not see anyone in front of me, so you have to remember to enjoy those moments because they don’t happen very often and they’re very short,” Jones told the Pac-12 Network after the race.
Jones also led Colorado to its third conference title in a row.
Senior | Brick, New Jersey
Kevin Veltre made quick work of the NJAC Championships this past weekend.
Veltre led wire to wire and crossed the finish line in 24:38.1, 52 seconds ahead of the closest competitor. Rowan, paced by Veltre’s low stick, won the team title and snapped TCNJ’s 23-year streak of consecutive conference championships.
This was Veltre’s third win of the season as he also won at the Mike Woods Invitational and the Inter-Regional Border Battle. Veltre beat former National Athletes of the Week Isaac Garcia-Cassani of SUNY Geneseo and Ian Kellogg of Otterbein at those meets.
Next up for Veltre is a rematch with Garcia-Cassani at the Atlantic Region Championships.
Senior | North Reading, Massachusetts
With athletes from four ranked teams in attendance at the NESCAC Championships, Amherst’s Nicky Roberts knew she would have her work cut out for herself.
The senior from North Reading, Massachusetts didn’t mind. She rose to the occasion.
Roberts cruised to a 34-second win over William’s Victoria Kingham. She crossed the finish line in 21:19.9 and earned her first individual conference title in the process.
Earlier this season Roberts captured the individual title at the Little 3 Championship and finished second in the Paul Short Run Brown Race.