NCAA & NJCAA XC National Athletes of the Week (October 25)

NEW ORLEANS – Here are the NCAA Cross Country and NJCAA Cross Country National Athletes of the Week for Monday, October 25, 2021!

Let’s see who stood out across the nation.

Find out more about each of these athletes by clicking their names 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 – Abdel Laadjel, Providence

Freshman | Lucan, Ireland

Abdel Laadjel didn’t take long to top the podium.

Running in only his second collegiate meet this past weekend, Laadjel picked up the win at the CCSU Mini Meet. He covered the 5k course in 14:41.1, nearly 11 seconds faster than his next closest competitor, and helped the Friars finish third in the team standings.

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

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Angie Rafter, Central Connecticut

Senior | Danielson, Connecticut

Angelia Rafter has quietly been having a strong season.

Rafter picked up her third win of the 2021 fall campaign at the CCSU Mini Meet this past weekend. She covered the 3k distance in 9:30.8, nearly eight seconds faster than the runner-up and well ahead of the 87 other women in the race.

Other victories for Rafter this season included the season-opening Marist Invitational and then at the Ted Owen Cross Country Invitational in late September. Rafter also finished fifth at the NEICAAA Cross Country Championships three weeks ago at Franklin Park.

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

NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Dillon Powell, Colorado School of Mines

RS Sophomore | Colorado Springs, Colorado

Dillon Powell and the Orediggers were golden at the RMAC Championships.

In his fourth collegiate cross country race, Powell rolled to the individual crown at Applewood Golf Course. He navigated the 8k course in 24:07.1 for a 19.9 second victory over second-place Afewerki Zeru of UC-Colorado Springs. Powell also led the Orediggers to their third consecutive RMAC title and fifth in the past six years.

This is the fourth time in program history that a male athlete from Colorado School of Mines has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Natalia Novak, Academy of Art

Senior | Békéscsaba, Hungary

Individual and team titles come down to dramatic finishes at the PacWest Championships.

Academy of Art came out on top in both.

Natalia Novak captured the individual title in 22:15.1 over the 6k course at Kahuku Golf Course in Hawaii. The women’s race had multiple lead changes throughout until the final 2k. That’s when Novak pulled ahead and finished just over four seconds ahead of Biola (Calif.)’s Lynette Ruiz, who finished second in 22:19.2.

Novak’s title also lifted the Urban Knights to the program’s first PacWest Championship, edging Biola (Calif.) by one point, 42-43.

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

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Bram Mansbach, Hamilton

Sophomore | Atlanta, Georgia

Bram Mansbach used home-course advantage in his favor.

Mansbach earned the first individual title on the grass circuit in his collegiate career this past weekend as he won the Hamilton College Tune-up in 15:58.5. It was the second week in a row that Mansbach ran on Hamilton’s home course and posted another favorable result (Mansbach finished runner-up at the Hamilton College Invitational two weeks ago).

This is the fourth time in program history that a male athlete from Hamilton has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. Mansbach joins Adam Pfander (2013), Charles Pfander (2015) and Jack Pierce (2016) in that regard.

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Zoe Tomko, King’s (Pa.)

Freshman | Port Trevorton, Pennsylvania

Once Zoe Tomko took the lead, she wasn’t going to slow down.

Tomko outclassed the field at the LVC Last Chance Run Fast this past weekend, posting a 47-second victory over the competition. She covered the 6k course in 23:17.4 and led King’s (Pa.) to a runner-up finish in the team standings.

This is the first time in program history that an athlete from King’s (Pa.) has been named National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Dennis Mutai, Garden City (Kan.) CC

Freshman | Eldoret, Kenya

Dennis Mutai continued his impressive season.

Mutai was the top JUCO finisher in the NAIA Mid-States Classic, covering the 8k course in 24:42.2 in finishing third overall behind NAIA power Oklahoma City’s vaunted 1-2 of Zouhair Talbi and Shimales Abebe. He has been the first or second JUCO runner in all five of his races this year.

Mutai is the first male athlete from Garden City to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Aaliyah Moore, Monroe-NR (N.Y.)

Freshman | Georgetown, Guyana

Aaliyah Moore has had a month to remember.

Moore has now won four times in her last four races, most recently by taking the JWU Wildcat Classic with a 5k time of 18:15.1 to win by 6.1 seconds. Even in her lone loss to start the season, Moore was the top JUCO runner in the field.

Moore is the fourth woman from Monroe to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION II MEN – Ty Reynolds, Kaskaskia (Ill.)

Sophomore | Salem, Illinois

October has seen a new Ty Reynolds.

Reynolds, who was the Blue Devils’ No. 2 runner last year, surged into the squad’s No. 1 position at the beginning of the month and hasn’t looked back. He added top-JUCO runner honors for the first time in a race, taking fourth overall in the St. Louis Fall Classic with the program’s best-ever time of 26:34.8.

Reynolds is the first athlete from Kaskaskia to earn this honor in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Tanaeya Johnson, Mesa (Ariz.) CC

Sophomore | Chandler, Arizona

Tanaeya Johnson has Mesa fans smiling.

Johnson’s return after a month off is one reason for the excitement, as the Thunderbirds are at their highest-ever ranking of No. 5 in the NJCAA Division II Coaches’ Poll. Johnson has taken over the No. 1 spot on Mesa’s squad, and her latest effort has been her most impressive – a runner-up finish as the top JUCO runner in the Arizona Christian Firestorm Invitational with a time of 19:50.8 for her fastest-yet 5k clocking.

Johnson is the first female athlete from Mesa to be named National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION III MEN – Logan Van Buren, Clinton (N.Y.) CC

Sophomore | Port Henry, New York

Logan Van Buren is firmly in the history books for Clinton.

Earlier this year, the Cougars fielded a scoring team for the first time in program history and now they have a Mountain Valley Conference champion as Van Buren won the title with a 27:31.9 time in winning by 44.2 seconds over previous National Athlete of the Week Shazim Permaul of Hudson Valley (N.Y.) CC. It was the second win of the year for Van Buren, who earlier this month claimed the Cazenovia Homecoming Invitational.

Van Buren is the first athlete from Clinton to earn this award in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Leah Lloyd, Finger Lakes (N.Y.) CC

Freshman | Macedon, New York

Leah Lloyd was all alone.

Lloyd stormed to victory at the Mid-State Conference Championships, winning the title by a whopping 1:57 as she covered the 5k tract in 21:32.3. It was Lloyd’s second win of the year as she also claimed the season-opening Steven A. Warde Invitational. She has been the top JUCO runner in all five of her races this year.

This is the second time Lloyd has been named National Athlete of the Week, having also earned the honor on September 27.