NCAA & NJCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (November 5)

NEW ORLEANS – Whether you can believe it or not this is the final National Athlete of the Week award that will be handed out by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) during the 2018 NCAA Cross Country season.

The fall has flown by as NCAA Division II programs just wrapped up Conference Championship Weekend and are looking ahead to their respective regional championships, as well as the 2018 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships on Saturday, December 1. NCAA DII will hold the spotlight this week as the other divisions were either off from competition or holding their own national championships like NJCAA Division III.

Here are the two athletes who stood out the most form their peers during the opening weekend of the NCAA DII postseason and were named National Athletes of the Week by the association on Monday.

  • NCAA Division II Men – Sydney Gidabuday, Adams State
  • NCAA Division II Women – Alicja Konieczek, Western State

Find out more about each of the recipients by 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 II MEN – Sydney Gidabuday, Adams State

Senior | Orange, California

Sydney Gidabuday is your male National Athlete of the Week after the senior ended his conference career by picking up an individual title at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Championships over the weekend.

The Orange, California, native posted a time of 24:37.1 to win the championship by less than a second in one of the best fields in NCAA DII this weekend. The meet was a battle between five nationally-ranked (including three of the top-5 teams) and seven regionally-ranked programs.

Gidabuday led the race through the first 2K before slightly falling back into eighth at the 4K mark. He found his stride and turned on the jets down the stretch to capture the individual crown. He also helped paced the Grizzlies to the team championship as well, the program’s 37th in school history.

He was also named the RMAC Male Cross Country Runner of the Year with his efforts.

Gidabuday was also selected for National Athlete of the Week back in early October.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Alicja Konieczek, Western State

Senior | Zbaszyn, Poland

Alicja Konieczek had never won an individual Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Championship in her illustrious career. Note how that’s in the past tense.

The senior changed that as she took home the conference crown by almost 10 seconds after posting a 21:47.9 performance over the 6K course. Konieczek held her position with the front of the pack until the final kilometer before taking off with 600 meters to go for good.

Konieczek paced the second-ranked Western State squad to a runner-up finish at the meet with her performance as the Mountaineers came in just behind No. 1 Adams State by a 27-36 margin. The meet was made up by one of the best fields in NCAA DII this weekend as four nationally-ranked (including three of the top-5 programs) and eight regionally-ranked teams were in attendance.

She was also named the RMAC Female Cross Country Runner of the Year with her performance.

Konieczek is just the third athlete in program history to get selected as a National Athlete of the Week. She joins teammate Sophie Seward in earning selections this season.