NCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (Feb. 24)

NEW ORLEANS – The cross country season is winding down!

That doesn’t mean that the performances are getting any less thrilling.

Here are the four individuals who were named National Athlete of the Week on Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

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 – Abdihamid Nur, Northern Arizona

Sophomore | Mogadishu, Somalia/Phoenix, Arizona

Victory was sweet for Abdihamid Nur this past weekend.

Competing at the Battle Born Collegiate Challenge in Las Vegas, Nur covered the 8K tract in 22:30.5, just 0.2 seconds faster than teammate Nico Young at 22:30.7. Nur and Young worked together throughout the proceedings before Nur pulled away down the homestretch for the win.

Behind Nur’s victory and Young’s runner-up finish, Northern Arizona ran away with the team title. The Lumberjacks put four runners in the top-5 – Nur, Young, Luis Grijalva (fourth) and Blaise Ferro (fifth) – and scored just 20 points, 28 fewer than runner-up Stanford.

This is the second time this season that an athlete from Northern Arizona has been named National Athlete of the Week. Luis Grijalva took home honors on October 20, 2020, following his victory at the OSU Cross Country Invitational.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Ella Donaghu, Stanford

Fifth Year | Portland, Oregon

Ella Donaghu is 2 for 2 this cross country season.

Donaghu picked up her second victory of the year this past weekend, capturing the individual crown at the Battle Born Collegiate Challenge in 19:44.0. It turned out to be a 4.9-second win for Donaghu over teammate Zofia Dudek.

Stanford finished runner-up in the team standings to meet champion New Mexico.

This is the second time this season that Donaghu has been named National Athlete of the Week. Donaghu previously earned it for her victory at the FSU Winter XC Classic two weeks ago.

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Jared Putney, Seattle Pacific

Sophomore | Issaquah, Washington

Jared Putney made the most of his only cross country race this season.

Putney, a sophomore from Issaquah, Washington, earned his first collegiate win at the CWU Winter Invite. He navigated the 8K course in a personal best time of 26:06.5. Putney’s 44.1-second victory led a 1-2-3 Falcon finish as Seattle Pacific took top honors over Central Washington.

This is the first time in program history a male athlete from Seattle Pacific has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Dania Holmberg, Seattle Pacific

Senior | Eagle, Idaho

Dania Holmberg ran unopposed in Washington.

The senior from Eagle, Idaho, notched her first collegiate victory of her career at the CWU Winter Invite, navigating the 6K course in 22:46.3 for a 52.7-second win. Holmberg led a 1-2 finish as the Falcons earned the victory over Central Washington.

This is the first time in program history a female athlete from Seattle Pacific has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.