NCAA & NJCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (Sept. 9)

NEW ORLEANS – The cross country season is picking up steam.

You better believe there were some strong performances this past weekend.

With that being said, let’s take a look at those athletes who stood out the most and were named National Athletes of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday afternoon.

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, when applicable (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 – Paul Roberts, Wyoming

Senior | Lyons, Colorado

Paul Roberts opened some eyes last year when he finished 20th at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.

It’s safe to say that Roberts wants more in his final year at Wyoming.

The senior from Lyons, Colorado, posted a victory at the Wyoming Invitational this past weekend in a time of 15:05.3, two seconds faster than he covered the same course last year. Other top athletes in the meet included NCAA top-10 finishers John Dressel and Joe Klecker, who both compete for Colorado, among others.

This is the first time that an athlete from Wyoming has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Abby Caldwell, Iowa State

Senior | Waverly, Iowa

Abby Caldwell earned a hard-fought win this past weekend at the Hawkeye Invitational.

Caldwell, a senior from Waverly, Iowa, held off the Iowa Central CC duo of Winrose Chesang – the NJCAA DI 5000 and 10,000-meter double champion this past outdoor season – and Elenora Curtabbi down the stretch and broke the tape to nab her first victory on the grass circuit as a collegian. She covered the 4K course in 14:02.0, 18 seconds faster than last year.

This is the first time that an Iowa State athlete has been named National Athlete of the Week since 2014. Crystal Nelson took home that honor back on October 20, 2014.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Joseph Humes, Hillsdale

Senior | Maybee, Michigan

Joseph Humes appears to have found his groove on the cross country course.

Humes, a senior from Maybee, Michigan, picked up the fourth win of his collegiate career on the grass circuit this past weekend at the Calvin Knight Invitational. He crossed the finish line in 24:49.9 for the 8K course, with the next closest competitor finishing 21 seconds back.

This is the first time National Athlete of the Week honor on the men’s side for Hillsdale.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Ida Narbuvoll, U-Mary

Senior | Narbuvoll, Norway

Ida Narbuvoll opened her season in dominating fashion at the MSU Moorhead – Dragon Twilight this past weekend.

The senior from Narbuvoll, Norway, won the Randy Smith 4K in 13:22.5, nearly a full minute ahead of the runner-up finisher.

This is the first National Athlete of the Week honor for U-Mary since the 2017 season. Alexis Zeis claimed her fifth honor back on September 25, 2017.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Nate Romberger, Messiah

Junior | Lewisberry, Pennsylvania

Nate Romberger appears ready to take the next step in his junior year.

Romberger, a native of Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, won the individual title at the Dutchmen Invitational hosted by Lebanon Valley College this past weekend. He crossed the finish line of the 8K race eight seconds ahead of the next closest competitor.

This is the first time that an athlete from Messiah has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Evie Bultemeyer, Trine

Junior | Fort Wayne, Indiana

Evie Bultemeyer started off her junior year in a big way this past weekend.

Bultemeyer, a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, picked up the individual title at the Calvin Knight Invitational. She topped 199 other athletes and crossed the finish line in 21:29.0, which was 11 seconds clear of the runner-up and set a school record for the 6K distance.

This is the first time that an athlete from Trine has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Dais Malebana, Cloud County CC

Freshman | Pretoria, South Africa

Repeating as National Athlete of the Week, Dais Malebana won the Augustana Twilight in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, covering the 4-mile course in 18:54.5 to edge Mason Phillips of NCAA Division II Sioux Falls, who ran 18:55.9.

Malebana made a name for himself on the cross country course before leaving his mark on the JUCO scene with a runner-up finish at the South African U20 Championships last year.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Faith Linga Chepengat, Iowa Western CC

Freshman | Nairobi, Kenya

Faith Linga Chepengat made her debut for the Reivers in a big way, finishing second at the Augustana Twilight in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She completed the 5K course in 16:47.01, just 0.1 seconds behind winner Abby Riperda of NCAA Division I South Dakota.

This is the first time that an athlete from Iowa Western CC has been named National Athlete of the Week during the country season since 2016. Shanieke Watson took home that honor back on October 24, 2016.