NCAA & NJCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (September 13)

NEW ORLEANS – Here are our National Athletes of the Week in NCAA & NJCAA Cross Country for September 13, 2021!

Performances from the first few weeks of the cross country season were considered.

NOTE: NJCAA Division III honors will return at a future date.

Find out more about each of these athletes 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 the NJCAA).

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 – Adriaan Wildschutt, Florida State

Junior | Ceres, South Africa

Adriaan Wildschutt isn’t going to surprise people any longer.

Wildschutt, who opened a lot of eyes with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships this past spring, made his 2021 debut at the Covered Bridge Open, hosted by Appalachian State two weeks ago. He led from the gun and kept pushing the pace, winning the 8k race by nearly 20 seconds in 24:48.6. It was the fastest time at the meet since they increased the distance of the men’s race from 6.4k to 8k beginning in 2017.

This is the first time that a male athlete from Florida State has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season since 2016 (Harry Mulenga).

NCAA DIVISION WOMEN – Tierney Wolfgram, Nevada

Sophomore | St. Paul, Minnesota

Tierney Wolfgram proved she could run well over long distances last year.

Now, Wolfgram is ready to show her strength on the cross country course.

Wolfgram, who set the American junior record in the marathon last November at 2:31:49 and finished 76th at the U.S. Olympic Trials – Marathon earlier in the year, posted the first win of her collegiate career at the University of San Francisco Invitational. The sophomore from St. Paul, Minnesota, covered the 6k tract in 20:47.9, which was nearly 29 seconds faster than the runner-up.

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

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Christian Noble, Lee (Tenn.)

Senior | Greenfield, Indiana

Christian Noble is picking up where he left off.

After a breakout season last year, Noble continued his winning ways at the City Auto Memphis Twilight XC Classic. The senior from Greenfield, Indiana completed the 4-mile course in 19:13.04 to win by more than 20 seconds over second place. Noble also led the tenth-ranked Flames to a team victory over No. 8 Alabama-Huntsville as well as several NCAA Division I teams.

This is the third time in the past two years that Noble has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. He previously earned the honor on October 6, 2020, and October 20, 2020.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Elysia Burgos, Southwest Baptist

Junior | Edmond, Oklahoma

Elysia Burgos hit the ground running.

Coming off of a strong track campaign in 2021 that saw Burgos earn All-America honors on the track, the junior from Edmond, Oklahoma kicked off the cross country season with a victory at the Southwest Baptist Invitational. Burgos completed the 5k course in 18:13.24, less than a second ahead of teammate Tessa Valdivia. She also helped the Bearcats pick up the team win in a field that featured several nationally-ranked teams in NCAA Division II.

This is the second National Athlete of the Week honor for Burgos during the cross country season. She previously earned the honor on September 23, 2019.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Justin Kelly, Rowan

Junior | Marlton, New Jersey

A wrong turn didn’t keep Justin Kelly from winning in his Rowan debut.

Kelly, who joined the Profs after transferring from NCAA Division I Stony Brook, captured the individual title at the Salisbury University Fall Classic two weeks ago. The junior from Marlton, New Jersey, covered the 8k tract in 25:07.0, despite needing to backtrack halfway through the race when he realized the chase group wasn’t behind him.

This is the first time that a male athlete from Rowan has been named National Athlete of the Week in cross country since 2017 (Kevin Veltre).

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Kassie Rosenbum, Loras

Senior | Guttenberg, Iowa

Kassie Rosenbum is back to her record-setting ways.

Rosenbum, who had a standout junior year in 2021, distanced herself from the pack at the All-American Invitational hosted by Luther College this past weekend. The senior from Guttenberg, Iowa, broke a six-year-old course record with her winning effort of 17:41.0 (previous record was 17:42.6), which was 6.2 seconds faster than the runner-up.

This is the third time in the past two years that Rosenbum has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. Rosenbum previously earned the honor on September 29, 2020, and October 27, 2020.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Kelvin Bungei, Iowa Central CC

Sophomore | Kitale, Kenya

Kelvin Bungei has started off the 2021 campaign the way he finished his 2020 season – untouchable.

The reigning NJCAA Division I cross country champion opened up with two impressive wins, starting with a victory at the Hawkeye Invitational on September 3 in which his 18:21.4 time for 6k held off a slew of NCAA Division I runners in muddy conditions. Bungei followed that performance by storming the 4-mile course at the Luther All-American Invitational on September 11 in 19:58.4 to best teammate Aspel Kiprob by 4.2 seconds.

This is the third time that Bungei has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season, having won the honor twice last year.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Chloe Garcia Grafing, Iowa Central CC

Freshman | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Chloe Garcia Grafing’s first race for Iowa Central CC was memorable, finishing sixth in the Luther All-American Invitational to lead the powerhouse program on September 11. She covered the 5k course in 19:31.1, as the Tritons’ first four runners were freshmen.

Iowa Central CC won three straight NJCAA Division I cross country titles before missing the meet last year due to the pandemic.

Garcia Grafing is the sixth woman from Iowa Central to be named National Athlete of the Week for cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION II MEN – D’Artagnon Beaver, Hawkeye (Iowa) CC

Freshman | Rockford, Illinois

In his debut at the 8k distance, D’Artagnon Beaver was the top NJCAA Division II finisher at the Les Duke Invitational on September 11, finishing 33rd in a time of 27:25.1.

A week earlier, Beaver was again the RedTails’ top runner, clocking 16:24.5 over 5k for eighth place as the top NJCAA runner in the Corridor Clash on September 3.

Beaver is the second male athlete from Hawkeye (Iowa) CC to earn National Athlete of the Week honors during the cross country season.

NJCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Olivia Bloyd, Heartland (Ill.) CC

Sophomore | Moline, Illinois

Olivia Bloyd won the Titan-Hawk Invitational on September 10 in 20:05.1, leading a 1-2-3-5-6 Hawk finish to lead Heartland CC to the team title.

She was 12th in last year’s NJCAA Division II Cross Country Championships as the Hawks finished second by three points.

Bloyd is the first athlete from Heartland CC to be named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.