NCAA & NJCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (Oct. 14)

NEW ORLEANS – There was strong racing to be had across the nation this past weekend.

Here are 10 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.

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 – Thomas Chaston, Colorado State

Freshman | Colorado Springs, Colorado

Guess how close the finish was at the UCCS Open this past weekend.

If you said, “0.2 seconds,” then you’d be right.

That’s how slim of a margin Thomas Chaston of Colorado State beat Konrad Steck of Air Force to earn the individual title at the meet. Chaston crossed the finish line in 24:41.1, compared to Steck’s 24:41.3.

This is the second time in program history that an athlete from Colorado State has been named National Athlete of the Week. The last time was on September 25, 2017 when Jerrell Mock earned the honor after winning the Roy Griak Invitational.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Jessica Pascoe, Florida

Senior | New South Wales, Australia

With 1.1 miles to go in the FSU Invitational on Saturday, Jessica Pascoe held a slim lead over Arina Kleschchukova of New Orleans and unattached Ella Swigler of Florida State.

Pascoe turned that one-second advantage at the time into a six-second win as she pulled away over the last mile of the 5K to nab the individual title. She crossed the finish line in 17:20.1 to earn her third consecutive win, as she also broke the tape first at the Panorama Farms Invitational two weeks ago and then four weeks ago at the Mountain Dew Gator Cross Country Invitational.

This is the second year in a row that Pascoe has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. She nabbed her first honor back on October 29, 2018 when she won the individual title at the SEC Championships.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Gidieon Kimutai, Missouri Southern

Sophomore | Eldoret, Kenya

Three races and three wins for Gidieon Kimutai.

The sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya took home his third individual crown this season, this time at the Lewis Crossover. Kimutai completed a wet and muddy 8K course in 25:07.2 for a one second victory over Tanner Chada of Grand Valley State, who was the National Athlete of the Week on September 30.

This is the second time Kimutai has been named National Athlete of the Week this season, previously receiving it on September 23, and the fourth overall honor in men’s cross country for Missouri Southern

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Allie Ludge, Grand Valley State

Senior | Grand Rapids, Michigan

Tough race conditions in Romeoville, Illinois didn’t phase Allie Ludge.

The Grand Valley State senior stormed to a win at the Lewis Crossover to earn her second collegiate career victory on the grass circuit. Ludge navigating the 6K course in 22:12.1 to finish more than 23 seconds ahead of second-place. She also led the Lakers to a team title with 32 points.

This is the second time that a female athlete from Grand Valley State has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season, joining Sarah Berger when she earned the honor on September 17, 2018.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Dadley Ogetii, St. Lawrence

Senior | Nairobi, Kenya

Dadley Ogetii picked a fine time to win the fourth individual title of his collegiate career.

Ogetii cruised to a victory at the 28th annual Richard C. Hoffmann Invitational this past weekend, crossing the finish line of the 8K tract in 25:26.2. That was a near three-second victory for Ogetti, who beat Ivan Frantz of Rochester (N.Y.).

This is the first time that a male athlete from St. Lawrence has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Parley Hannan, Ithaca

Senior | Orlean, Virginia

Parley Hannan ran away from the pack on her way to victory at the 28th Annual Richard C. Hoffmann Invitational this past weekend.

Hannan led by one second at the 1K split, pushed that to 10 seconds by the 2 mile split and eventually won by nearly 29 seconds in a time of 22:08.9.

This is the first time that an Ithaca runner has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season since 2017.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Wesley Banguria, Colby (Kan.) CC

Sophomore | Eldoret, Kenya

A third race by Wesley Banguria this year saw the sophomore cross the finish line first for the third straight time in dominating fashion.

Banguria’s triumph came at the Fort Hays State Tiger Open, as he won the 8K Black race by 54 seconds in 23:11.8. The Gold race winner had a time that would have been 57 seconds back.

This is Banguria’s third time as National Athlete of the Week. No other Trojan has earned the honor twice.

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

Freshman | Nairobi, Kenya

Faith Linga Chepengat made it look easy Saturday.

Her 16:53.3 time over 5K won the Black race at the Fort Hays State Tiger Open by a 1½ minutes, and the solo effort would have won the Gold race by 30 seconds.

This is the third time that Chepengat has been named National Athlete of the Week this season. That is the most by any Reiver, topping the pair of honors that Sylvester Barus earned in 2015.

NJCAA DIVISION III MEN – Luis Antonio Fernandez, Suffolk CC

Sophomore | Centereach, New York

Luis Antonio Fernandez used the course preview of the upcoming national championships to his advantage this past weekend.

Fernandez ran the fastest time in program history at Stanley Park in 26:30.7 to finish ninth out of 206 runners.

This is the second time this season that Fernandez has been named National Athlete of the Week. He also earned the honor on September 16.

NJCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Alexandra Smith, Suffolk CC

Freshman | Shoreham, New York

Are y’all familiar with Alexandra Smith yet?

Well, if she keeps running like she has, you’ll get to know her a lot better.

Smith finished seventh at the James Early Invitational this past weekend, crossing the finish line in 18:35.1, which is the second fastest 5K mark in program history. The fastest 5K mark in program history is what Smith ran last week at the Highlander Tech XC Challenge.

This is the fourth time this season that Smith has been named National Athlete of the Week.