NCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (Nov. 10)

NEW ORLEANS – Is cross country happening?

Do we enjoy handing out awards?

Since both answers are “Yes,” then you better believe we have National Athletes of the Week at the NCAA Division I and NCAA Division III levels.

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 12 collegiate cross country athletes, when applicable (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions and three 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 – Casey Clinger, BYU

Sophomore | American Fork, Utah

Casey Clinger is back and better than ever.

Clinger, competing in his first collegiate season since returning from a two-year mission, picked up the first collegiate cross country win of his career this past weekend when he won the individual title at the Weber State Invitational in 23:50.9. He was nearly seven seconds faster than runner-up Bronson Winter of Weber State and helped BYU narrowly win the team title, 28-29.

Just a few weeks ago, Clinger started his sophomore campaign at the OSU Invitational in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The native of American Fork, Utah, took third in a loaded field.

This is the third year in a row that a male athlete from BYU has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. Clayton Young started the trend in 2018, followed by Conner Mantz in 2019 and now Clinger kept the train rolling.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Kailee Perry, Bowling Green

Sophomore | West Liberty, Kentucky

Kailee Perry didn’t waste any time making an impact.

Perry established herself as a contender for the individual title at the 2020 Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championships on November 21 and was named National Athlete of the Week in one fell swoop, based on her effort this past weekend at the season-opening Falcon XC Invitational hosted by Bowling Green.

The sophomore from West Liberty, Kentucky, posted an 18-second victory in 21:09.5, as she beat athletes from seven other MAC programs to the finish line.

This is the first time in award history than an athlete from the MAC has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Joe Freiburger, Wartburg

Senior | Holy Cross, Iowa

“Undefeated” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Joe Freiburger capped an unblemished fall this past weekend when he won his second consecutive individual title at the A-R-C Cross Country Championships. Freiburger is just the fourth male athlete to repeat as individual champion since the turn of the millennium.

Locked in a pack with five other runners at the 3 mile split, Freiburger began to push the pace and dropped all but one of them by the 5.8K split. Freiburger then broke away for good over the next half-mile, putting a sizable distance between himself and the chase pack. He eventually won the race in 25:38.5, beating teammate Dalton Martin by nearly five seconds.

This is the fourth time this season that Freiburger has been named National Athlete of the Week, which sets a new all-time standard for NCAA Division III male athletes in award history.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Aubrie Fisher, Wartburg

Sophomore | Ackely, Iowa

Aubrie Fisher avenged her only loss of the season in a big way.

Fisher pulled away late to win the individual title at the A-R-C Cross Country Championships in 21:56.9, nearly seven seconds ahead of the previously undefeated Kassie Rosenbum of Loras.

It was just a few weeks ago at the Wartburg Triangular where Rosenbum beat Fisher and two-time defending A-R-C champion Carina Collet, also of Wartburg. But on the course at Central College, Fisher was ready for her toughest rival, matching her stride-for-stride over most – not all – of the 6K course.

That’s because Fisher surged ahead and put the winning distance between herself and Rosenbum over the final mile in Pella, Iowa.

This is the second time this season that Fisher has been named National Athlete of the Week.