M-F Athletic National Athletes of the Week (Sept. 19)

NEW ORLEANS – Welcome to a new era.

Here are the M-F Athletic National Athletes of the Week for September 19, 2022!

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 14 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

Theo Quax, Northern Arizona

Junior | Auckland, New Zealand

Theo Quax bided his time at the Coaching Tree Invitational.

When Quax finally made his move, nobody could keep up.

Quax pushed the pace in the final 1k to drop the lead pack – which had been a tight-knit unit at that time – and win by 8.4 seconds over a field that included 2021 Mid-Atlantic Region champion Parker Stokes. The Northern Arizona junior stopped the clock at 23:26.3 for the first victory on the grass circuit in his collegiate career (Quax won on the track in 2019).

It was a clean sweep of the top-3 places in Bloomington, Indiana, as Quax, Santiago Prosser (second, 23:34.7) and Kang Nyoak (third, 23:44.1) gave the top-ranked Lumberjacks just six points through three scored runners. NAU added a few more and finished third with 60 points.

The Lumberjacks were one of 11 teams at the Coaching Tree Invitational whose coach either competed for or was on the staff of legendary Indiana coach Ron Helmer at one point in his legendary career. NAU, guided by Michael Smith, was joined by Columbia, Elon, Georgetown, George Washington, Miami (Ohio), eventual team champion North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Vanderbilt and Villanova.

This marks the fourth time in program history that a male athlete from NAU has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

Brynn Brown, North Carolina

Sophomore | Denton, Texas

Brynn Brown would not be denied this past weekend.

Brown won the individual title at the Coaching Tree Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana, as she traversed the 6k course at the Sam Bell XC Course in 20:18.6. That was about two seconds faster than the Georgetown duo of Sami Corman (20:20.3) and Chloe Scrimgeour (20:20.6).

The native Texan led three North Carolina athletes in the top-10, which coupled with two others in the top-15, meant a team title for Chris Miltenberg’s squad. The Tar Heels scored 37 points, 16 fewer than runner-up Georgetown.

North Carolina was one of 11 teams at the Coaching Tree Invitational whose coach either competed for or was on the staff of legendary Indiana coach Ron Helmer at one point in his legendary career. The Tar Heels, guided by Miltenberg, were joined by Columbia, Elon, Georgetown, George Washington, Miami (Ohio), Northern Arizona, Ohio, South Dakota, Vanderbilt and Villanova.

This is the second time in program history that a female athlete from North Carolina has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA Division II

Gidieon Kimutai, Missouri Southern

Junior | Eldoret, Kenya

Gidieon Kimutai is back.

In his first cross country race since placing fifth at the 2019 NCAA DII Cross Country Championships, Kimutai set a new personal best over the 8k course at the Missouri Southern Stampede. The native of Eldoret, Kenya crossed the line in 23:37.3 to win by more than 16 seconds over teammate Ryan Riddle. The 1-2 finish led by Kimutai lifted the Lions to the team title with 48 points on their home course.

This is the third time in Kimutai’s career that he has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. He previously earned the honor on September 23, 2019 and October 14, 2019.

Jenna Ramsey, Colorado School of Mines

Sophomore | Hutchison, Kansas

Jenna Ramsey is ready to leave her mark.

Ramsey, a transfer from Emporia State, had her first race in an Orediggers uniform – and picked up her first victory in the process. It was at the MSU Roadrunners Invite that the sophomore from Hutchison, Kansas broke the tape in 21:31.5 to lead a 1-2-3-5-6 finish for Colorado School of Mines. The Orediggers went on to win with 17 points over a field that featured several ranked NCAA DII programs.

This is the second time in program history a female athlete from Colorado School of Mines has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. Megan Wenham was the first Oredigger to earn the honor on September 10, 2018.

NCAA Division III

Frank Csorba, Lynchburg

Junior | Boydtown, Virginia

Frank Csorba is primed for a breakout season.

Csorba won the individual title at the CNU XC Regional Preview this past weekend with a time of 24:16.7, which set a conference record and program record for the fastest mark ever turned in over the 8k distance. That was a near 19-second victory for the junior, who opened the season with a fourth-place effort at the Liberty Challenge behind three NCAA DI athletes. Here, Csorba topped a field composed of NCAA DI and NCAA DIII competitors.

Last year, Csorba trumped a talented, NCAA DIII-heavy field at the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle by nearly nine seconds and later placed second at the ODAC Championships.

This marks the first time in program history that an athlete from Lynchburg has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

Kassie Parker, Loras

Grad Student | Guttenberg, Iowa

Kassie Parker is back in a familiar place.

That’s on top of the podium after a race.

Parker earned top individual honors in the Women’s 5k at the National Catholic Invitational hosted by Notre Dame this past weekend. The defending individual champion at the NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships stopped the clock at 17:02.6, 10 seconds ahead of Notre Dame’s Olivia Markezich, who finished 11th at the NCAA DI Cross Country Championships last year.

The Loras standout also set a school record for the fastest 5k time on a cross country course.

This marks the fifth time in the past three years that Parker (formerly known as Kassie Rosenbum) has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NAIA

Shimales Abebe, Oklahoma City

Junior | Los Angeles, California

Remember the name Shimales Abebe.

Chances are you haven’t forgotten it from the track & field seasons.

The Oklahoma City standout finished runner-up at the Missouri Southern Stampede this past weekend, as he distanced himself from the chase pack and crossing the finish line in 24:08.0.

Abebe, a two-time individual runner-up at the NAIA Cross Country Championships, has turned in two strong efforts in the past three weeks. The other was a dominating victory at the OCU Star’s Preview two weeks ago where he covered the 6k tract in 19:07.2 and won by 19 seconds.

This is the first time that an athlete from Oklahoma City has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

Shelby Christman, Huntington (Ind.)

Sophomore | Huntertown, Indiana

Nobody could stop Shelby Christman at the GRCC Raider Invitational.

Christman probably would have run right through them if they tried.

The Huntington (Ind.) standout cruised to an easy win in the meet hosted by Grand Rapids (Mich.) CC on Calvin University’s course. She traversed the 5k tract in 18:05.6, which was more than 30 seconds faster than the runner-up finisher.

Christman could be poised for a breakthrough season on the grass circuit. She entered the new campaign fresh off an outdoor season where she PR’d in both the 1500 and 10,000 meters.

This is the first time in program history that an athlete from Huntington (Ind.) has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NJCAA Division I

Sanele Masondo, Colby (Kan.) CC

Sophomore | Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

Sanele Masondo proved just as good on uneven terrain as on the track.

Last year’s NJCAA Division I champ in the outdoor 5000 proved good on the grass circuit, winning the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational 8k by 39 seconds in 23:31.0.

Masondo, who has a track PR of 14:22.23, led two other Trojans into the top-10 as Colby won the meet’s Gold Division team title with 32 points.

Masondo is the second male athlete to be named M-F Athletic National Athlete of Week from Colby, joining Wesley Banguria, who won the 2019 NJCAA DI championship.

Khloi Bird, Butler (Kan.) CC

Freshman | Topeka, Kansas

Khloi Bird won her first collegiate race in impressive fashion.

The freshman ran away from all competitors in the Missouri Southern Stampede’s College/JUCO Division, winning the 5K race by 16 seconds in 18:30.8.

Bird is the first athlete from Butler (Kan.) CC to be named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NJCAA Division II

Devan Crow, Allen (Kan.) CC

Sophomore | Gainesville, Georgia

Devan Crow made a huge improvement in two weeks.

Crow was the top NJCAA Division II runner in the Missouri Southern Stampede, finishing sixth in the College/JUCO 8k race in 25:57.7. He started off the year 67th in the Augustana Twilight Meet in early September.

This is Crow’s second time being recognized as the M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week in cross country, as he also earned the honor on October 6, 2020.

Barbara DeGood, Lansing (Mich.) CC

Freshman | Caledonia, Michigan

Barbara DeGood is making a great habit of being the top JUCO runner in every race.

Her latest impressive finish came in taking 5th in 19:09.2 for 5k in the Raider Invitational on her home course in Grand Rapids. A week earlier she was 6th in the Spartan Classic 6k.

DeGood is the second female from Lansing to earn M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week honors in cross country.

NJCAA Division III

Terry Purdon, Brookdale (N.J.) CC

Sophomore | Little Silver, New Jersey

It was a good time to run at home, and Teddy Purdon was a major part of the celebration at the Jersey Blues Invitational, winning the 5k race by 15 seconds in 16:57.

Purdon was 7th in last year’s NJCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.

This is Purdon’s second time being recognized as the M-F National Athlete of the Week in cross country, having earned the honor once last year.

Autumn Heaton, RC-Gloucester (N.J.)

Freshman | Pittsgrove, New Jersey

Autumn Heaton left no doubt in her latest race.

She led from the front and won the Jersey Blues Invitational by 33 seconds, clocking 22:05 for 5k. Even better, the Roadrunners claimed the team title as well.

Heaton is the fourth female athlete from Rowan to be honored as M-F Athletics National Athlete of the Week.