NCAA & NJCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (Sept. 10)

NEW ORLEANS – We are already entering the third week of the 2018 cross country season!

That means it’s time to reveal which athletes were named National Athlete of the Week for the second week of the season that just wrapped up this past weekend.

Here are those men and women without further ado.

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.

NCAA DIVISION I MEN – Colin Abert, Penn State

Senior | Easton, Pennsylvania

Make that back-to-back wins for Colin Abert.

One week after capturing the individual title at the Dolan Duals, Abert returned to the grass circuit to face stiffer competition. Abert, running against athletes from 10th-ranked Syracuse and 30th-ranked Georgetown, rose to the occasion and cruised to a 16-second win to become the first Penn State male athlete to defend his title at the Spiked Shoe Invitational since Eric Carter did so from 1985 to 1987.

Here is some more history: Abert is the first Nittany Lion to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country in program history. Abert was preceded in Penn State history by Jillian Hunsberger (Sept. 12, 2016) and Tori Gerlach (Sept. 14, 2015).

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Susan Ejore, Oregon

Senior | Nakuru, Kenya

Two years ago, Susan Ejore made herself at home in these parts. Ejore, then a sophomore at Monroe College, collected a trio of National Athlete of the Week awards in cross country.

Well, she’s back to roost again.

Ejore made her season debut at the Oregon XC Preview this past weekend in dominating fashion. The native of Nakuru, Kenya, who is now a senior at Oregon, opened up an early lead and never looked back on a field that also included athletes from RV Portland. Ejore extended her advantage and won by nearly 30 seconds.

You might find this hard to believe, but she is the first Oregon woman to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NCAA Division II Men – Jared Hallow, Edinboro

Junior | Gerrardstown, West Virginia

Jared Hallow got the nod for National Men’s Athlete of the Week at the Division II level after winning the Doug Watts Open this past weekend.

Hallow posted a time of 26:12 for the 8K course and helped Edinboro to a team victory in the meet with his performance, knocking off nationally-ranked No. 10 Shippensburg in the process.

The Doug Watts Open was a preview of the course that will host the 2018 PSAC Championships on November 3. All six competing teams at the meet were member schools of the PSAC.

Hallow is the first athlete in program history to get named a National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NCAA Division II Women – Megan Wenham, Colorado Mines

Senior | Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Megan Wenham picked up the National Women’s Athlete of the Week honor after she won the Colorado College Invitational this past weekend.

The senior collected the individual title with a time of 23:06.1 on the 6K course and also helped lead the Orediggers to the team title as well, besting a field that included top ranked No. 15 UC-Colorado Springs.

Wenham is the first female from Colorado Mines to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Ian McVey, Ohio Northern

Senior | Stow, Ohio

There are very few instances of early-season meets with more than 200 runners. When they pop up, like the Calvin Invitational did this past weekend, we take notice.

Ian McVey finished third out of 302 athletes in 25:06.3 and was the top NCAA Division III athlete in the field. McVey only trailed individual champion and aptly named Tom Goforth of NCAA Division II Saginaw Valley and Tony Floyd of NAIA Madonna University. Goforth was an XC All-American two years ago and Floyd was fourth at the NAIA Championships in 2017.

McVey is no slouch on the grass circuit, either. The senior from Stow, Ohio, placed 10th overall at the NCAA Division III Championships last year after capturing the individual title in the Great Lakes Region.

He is the first athlete in school history to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Cassandra Vince, Albion

Senior | Amherst, Ohio

Cassandra Vince proved that talent transcends all divisions this past weekend.

Vince, a senior from Amherst, Ohio, rolled to a 21-second victory against athletes from three NCAA Division I programs. It was the second individual win of her collegiate career on the grass circuit.

She is hoping to capitalize on momentum she gained on the track as a junior. The now senior made the final of the 3000 and 5000 indoors and the 10,000 outdoors.

Vince is the first athlete from Albion to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NJCAA Division I Men – Dennis Kiptoo, Cloud County CC

Freshman | Eldoret, Kenya

Dennis Kiptoo took home the National Men’s Athlete of the Week honor after the freshman finished fifth overall in just his second career race at the Colorado College Invitational this past weekend.

He crossed the finish line in 25:44.9 on the 8K course one week after finishing third to open the year at the Terry Masterson Twilight Classic.

Kiptoo is the second athlete from Cloud County CC to win a National Athlete of the Week award in cross country (Moses Dirane did so four times in 2016).

NJCAA Division I Women – Abeba Sullivan, Iowa Central CC

Sophomore | Saukville, Wisconsin

Abeba Sullivan was named the National Women’s Athlete of the Week after she collected the individual victory at the Asfahl-Hauglund-Swenson All-American Invitational this past weekend.

The sophomore posted an 18:39.0 performance for the 5K course and also helped her squad to a team title at the meet as well.

Sullivan is the fourth woman from Iowa Central to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country in program history.

NJCAA Division III Men – Tony Espinoza, Harper College

Sophomore | Barrington, Illinois

Tony Espinoza finished 37th overall at the Aurora University – Spartan Classic this past weekend.

He posted a time of 27:12.3 for the 8K course and helped his team to a seventh-place finish.

Espinoza is the third man to take home National Athlete of the Week honors in cross country for Harper College.

NJCAA Division III Women – Haley Weidner, Sauk Valley Community College

Freshman | Manlius, Illinois

Haley Weidner finished 27th overall at Aurora University’s Spartan Classic on Friday.

In her first race with the program, the freshman posted a time of 24:35.8 for the 6K course.

Weidner is the first Sauk Valley athlete to be named National Athlete of the Week in program history.