NCAA & NJCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (Oct. 22)

NEW ORLEANS – The postseason is finally upon us!

Here are 10 athletes who are rounding into postseason form at the right time. They were named National Athletes of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Tuesday.

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 – Jack Shea, Northern Arizona

Freshman | Voorhees, New Jersey

The future – and present – for Northern Arizona is very bright.

This past weekend at the Redhawk Invitational, a freshman led the Lumberjacks to a 1-2-3-4-5 sweep. That freshman was none other than Jack Shea, who collected the first cross country win of his collegiate career when he covered the 5.23-mile tract in 25:53.3, 15 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

Shea has been gaining confidence throughout the season. His first race, the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, resulted in a 121st-place finish – but he has improved each time out. Shea was 24th in the Gray Race two weeks ago at the Wisconsin Pre-National and then won this past weekend.

Believe it or not, Shea is the first athlete from Northern Arizona to be named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Abbey Wheeler, Providence

Junior | Elmira, New York

Abbey Wheeler cruised to her second National Athlete of the Week honor this season.

Wheeler posted the fastest time by a non-redshirted collegian at the Central Connecticut State University Mini-Meet in the past six years this past weekend. She crossed the finish line of the 3K course in 9:48.9 (Briana Ilarda, running unattached for Providence, won the women’s race).

This was the third time this season that Wheeler was the top collegian at a race. Wheeler won the UNH Invitational, won the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown (The result which earned her the first NAOTW honor of the season) and then this past weekend in New Britain, Connecticut.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Grant Colligan, Colorado Mines

Senior | Holt, Michigan

Grant Colligan earned a National Athlete of the Week award after pacing Colorado Mines to a team-title at the Rock Pre-Nationals this past weekend, picking up the individual crown in the process.

The redshirt senior posted a time of 24:56.4 on the 8K course. Overall the Orediggers swept the podium and won the pre-national meet with 19 points. All five scoring athletes finished in the top-8 in a field that included three of the top-nine programs and six of the top-25.

It is the second National Athlete of the Week honor in Colligan’s career as he was also picked for the award during the 2017 season. He was the fourth cross country athlete selected for the award in Colorado Mines program history.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Emmanuelah Chelimo, Alaska Anchorage

Junior | Iten, Kenya

Emmanuelah Chelimo was named National Athlete of the Week after an individual victory at the Western Washington Cross Country Classic over the weekend.

She posted a time of 21:15 to pace the Seawolves to third-place finish.

The junior made it a perfect 3-for-3 in winning the meet as she has already collected individual titles at the Skinny Raven Classic and the UNLV Invitational earlier this year.

Chelimo joins two-time winner Caroline Kurgat as the only female Alaska Anchorage athletes to earn the award in program history during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Benjamin White, Whittier

Sophomore | La Habra Heights, California

Benjamin White followed his second win of the season with a big performance this past weekend at the Titan Invitational hosted by Cal State Fullerton.

White was the top NCAA athlete across the finish line as he covered the 8K tract in 24:47.6. That was a personal best over that distance for the sophomore from La Habra Heights, California.

As we mentioned before, White has two wins under his belt this season: The Vanguard Invitational to open the season and two weeks ago at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.

This is the first time in program history that Whittier has been bestowed a National Athlete of the Week honor in cross country.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Amelia Morrow, Luther

Freshman | Iowa City, Iowa

Amelia Morrow is rounding into postseason form at the right time.

This past weekend at the Luther vs. UW-La Crosse Dual Meet, Morrow won the individual title by nearly 21 seconds. She crossed the finish line of the 5K course in 19:21.5.

Morrow has moved her way up the pack in the past few weeks. Two weeks ago at the Jim Drews/Tori Neubauer Invitational, Morrow finished 28th after finishing 52nd at the Blugold Invitational nearly one month ago.

This is the first time that the Luther program has earned a National Athlete of the Week honor in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Jesus Aldana, Central Arizona

Freshman

Jesus Aldana is a National Athlete of the Week after finishing as the top JUCO athlete (12th overall) at the Redhawk Invitational that included a field of some of the best programs in central and northern Arizona.

The freshman posted a mark of 27:47.2 over the 5.23-mile course.

Aldana is just the second athlete to win the award in Central Arizona cross country history, joining four-time winner Gilbert Kigen.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Alliana Atencio, Central Arizona

Sophomore | Rio Rancho, Arizona

Alliana Atencio was a National Athlete of the Week selection after coming in as the top JUCO athlete (14th overall) at the Redhawk Invitational this past weekend.

The sophomore finished the 3.02-mile course in 20:11.8.

Atencio is the first female and just the third athlete overall to earn the honor during cross country in program history.

NJCAA DIVISION III MEN – Jared Craw, Hudson Valley CC

Freshman | Colonie, New York

Jared Craw picked up a National Athlete of the Week award after a strong performance to win the individual crown at the Mountain Valley Conference Championships.

The freshman won the race by 30 seconds and posted a time of 22:44.2 on the 8K course. He paced his team to a team championships as well.

Craw is the first cross country athlete to win the award in program history.

NJCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Emily Elder, Oxford College

Freshman | Athens, Georgia

Emily Elder is a National Athlete of the Week after a dominating performance at the GCAA Conference Championships.

The freshman won the individual title by over a minute-and-a-half after posting a time of 20:14.7 on the 5K course.

Elder is the first Oxford College athlete to take home the National Athlete of the Week in program history during the cross country season.