M-F Athletic National Athletes of the Week (Oct. 10)

NEW ORLEANS – Cross country is in full swing!

Here are the M-F Athletic National Athletes of the Week for October 10!

  • NCAA Division I Men — Seth Weprin, Dartmouth
  • NCAA Division I Women — Daphnee Lavassas, Miami (Fla.)
  • NCAA Division II Men — Dayton Brown, Saginaw Valley State
  • NCAA Division II Women — Amanda Montplaisir, Minnesota State
  • NCAA Division III Men — Jeffrey Love, Connecticut College
  • NCAA Division III Women — Natalie Bitetti, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
  • NAIA Men — Joe Anderson, Dordt (Iowa)
  • NAIA Women — Morgan Lawson, Grand View (Iowa)
  • NJCAA Division I Men — Braden Minor, Salt Lake City CC
  • NJCAA Division I Women — Damaris Chewon, New Mexico JC
  • NJCAA Division II Men — Sebastian Hernandez, Daytona State (Fla.)
  • NJCAA Division II Women — Kate Brockman, Mesa (Ariz.) CC
  • NJCAA Division III Men — Nicholas Keeling, DuPage (Ill.)
  • NJCAA Division III Women — Lilly Alberts, Harper (Ill.)

Find out more about each of these athletes by 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 16 collegiate cross country athletes, when applicable (male and female for each of the three NCAA divisions, the NAIA 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 – Seth Weprin, Dartmouth

Senior | Dallas, Texas

Seth Weprin made the first individual win of his collegiate career count.

Weprin captured top individual honors at the 2022 NEICAAA Championships in Boston. He traversed the famed 8k tract at Franklin Park in 24:40.4, less than two seconds ahead of runner-up Alec Troxell of Maine. Weprin’s low stick helped Dartmouth finish sixth.

This was the second meet in a row that Weprin competed at Franklin Park. He finished 62nd in the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown two weeks ago in 25:32.3. That means Weprin improved his mark by nearly one full minute between those meets (we know about varying conditions).

Weprin is the first male athlete from Dartmouth named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. He joins trailblazer Abbey D’Agostino, who earned honors back in 2013.

NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Daphnee Lavassas, Miami (Fla.)

Sophomore | Miami, Florida

Daphnee Lavassas bided her time at the FSU Invitational.

When Lavassas made her move, nobody could keep up.

Lavassas ran to victory this past weekend in Tallahassee, Florida, covering the 5k course in 17:10.9, 5.7 seconds faster than runner-up Michaela Rose of LSU. That duo, along with Rose’s teammate Lorena Rangel Batres, were lockstep at the 4k split before Lavassas pulled away.

It has been a strong start to the season for Lavassas, who finished fourth at the Virginia Invitational and then took 30th in a strong field at the Roy Griak Invitational two weeks ago.

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

NCAA DIVISION II MEN — Dayton Brown, Saginaw Valley State

Junior | Rockford, Michigan

Dayton Brown got the job done in Romeoville, Illinois.

It was at the Lewis Crossover that Brown topped the 213-man by dipping under the 24-minute barrier over 8k for the first time in his career. Brown broke the tape in 23:43.8 for a 5.2 second victory over Trent Cochran of Colorado Christian. This marked the second win for Brown this season, as he also won The Races at SVSU to open up the season.

This is the second time in program history a male athlete from Saginaw Valley State has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. CarLee Stimpfel was the first to do so on October 11, 2021.

NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN — Amanda Montplaisir, Minnesota State

Senior | Buffalo, Minnesota

Amanda Montplaisir was the ultimate low stick for Minnesota State.

Montplaisir took home top honors at the UW-Parkside Lucian Rosa Invitational, traversing the 6k course in 21:20.3. It was a 12.2 second victory for Montplaisir over Bethany Sholl of Cedarville. Montplaisir’s winning effort also lifted the Mavericks a runner-up finish in the team standings with 60 points to place ahead of third-place No. 19 Wayne State (Mich.), fourth-place No. 27 Rogers State, fifth-place No. 23 Southwest Baptist and sixth-place RV Hillsdale.

This is the first time in program history a female athlete from Minnesota State has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Jeffrey Love, Connecticut College

Senior | Union, New Jersey

Jeffrey Love is poised for a breakout season.

Love won the individual title at the James Earley Invitational this past weekend, traversing the 8k tract in 24:55.7, just 0.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Nathan Tassey of Roger Williams. Both Love and Tassey broke away from the pack early and pushed each other to the finish line (If you want to compare, the third-place athlete was 37 seconds behind both Love and Tassey).

Just one week earlier, Love took 13th overall at the NCAA DIII National Preview Meet in East Lansing, Michigan. And back in May, he earned All-America honors in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA DIII Outdoor Track & Field Championships (Love finished eighth with a PR of 29:56.53).

This is the first time since 2019 that an athlete from Connecticut College has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. Love is the third athlete in program history to earn national honors, joining former standouts Danny Aschale in 2019 and Mike LeDuc way back in 2013 (LeDuc was just the fifth NCAA DIII athlete honored).

NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Natalie Bitetti, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps

Junior | La Crescenta, California

Natalie Bitetti stormed to victory this past weekend.

Competing at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on a notoriously tough course, Bitetti broke away from the pack and crossed the finish line in 21:28.0, 13.3 seconds ahead of runner-up Lynette Ruiz of Biola (Calif.). It marked an eight-second course PR for Bitetti, who finished third at this meet last year and then took 16th at the NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships in November.

This is the second year in a row that a female athlete from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the cross country season. Last year, it was Riley Harmon who was honored around this time for winning the same meet.

NAIA MEN – Joe Anderson, Dordt

Senior | George, Iowa

Joe Anderson led the way this past weekend.

Anderson won the individual title at the Defender Holiday Inn Express Classic in 24:19.6 and guided host Dordt (Iowa) to top team honors with 27 points. He beat teammate Eric Steiger – a former M-F National Athlete of the Week – by 3.4 seconds on the Dordt XC Course.

It was the first win on the grass circuit for Anderson, but not the first win of his collegiate career. Anderson won the 1500-meter crown at the GPAC Outdoor Championships last year, among other victories. He finished 57th at the 2021 NAIA Cross Country Championships.

This is the second time this season that a male athlete from Dordt (Iowa) has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week (Steiger back on September 25 following the Roy Griak Invitational).

NAIA WOMEN – Morgan Lawson, Grand View (Iowa)

Senior | Ottumwa, Iowa

Morgan Lawson is hitting her stride.

Lawson captured top individual honors this past weekend at the Defender Holiday Inn Express Classic, traversing the 5k tract in 18:02.7. That was 3.5 seconds faster than runner-up Jessica Kampman of Dordt (Iowa). Both Lawson and Kampman were top-20 finishers at the NAIA Cross Country Championships last year: Lawson took 19th overall; Kampman was in 20th place.

The Grand View standout is undefeated this season, having won the individual title at the Viking Invitational two weeks earlier. “Won” might be an understatement: Lawson rolled to victory by 1:18.1 seconds!

NJCAA DIVISION I MEN – Braden Minor, Salt Lake (Utah) CC

Freshman | Orem, Utah

Salt Lake (Utah) CC’s debut cross country season has the Bruins ranked in the top-10 of the NJCAA DI Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll, and Braden Minor is a big reason why.

Minor was the leading JUCO runner – and second collegian – in finishing seventh at the Steven Reeder Memorial. His time over the 7k course was 21:57.6 as the Bruins narrowly lost to NCAA DI Utah State 26-29.

Minor is the first athlete from Salt Lake CC to earn M-F National Athlete of the Week honors.

NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Damaris Chewon, New Mexico JC

Freshman | Kapsabet, Kenya

Damaris Chewon extended her winning streak to four meets as earned top honors at the Lubbock Christian Invitational in 18:07.2 for 5K.

Her winning margin 39.8 seconds is the closest of her four races this year, having claimed titles at the Western Texas Open, New Mexico JC Invitational and South Plains Invitational earlier this season.

This is Chewon’s second time as M-F Athletics National Athlete of the Week this year in cross country, joining Flomena Asekol in 2019 as repeat honorees for the T-Birds.

NJCAA DIVISION II MEN – Sebastian Hernandez, Daytona State (Fla.)

Sophomore | Wesley Chapel, Florida

Sebastian Hernandez went up against his stiffest competition of the year at the Florida State Invitational, with ranked squads from the NCAA Division II and NAIA levels among 30 teams.

Hernandez held his own, finishing 11th overall as the leading JUCO runner in 24:42.2 for 8K on the same Apalachee Regional Park course that is the site of this year’s NJCAA Division II Championships on November 12.

Hernandez is the second male athlete from Daytona State to be named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Kate Brockman, Mesa (Ariz.) CC

Sophomore | Mesa, Arizona

Kate Brockman continues to impress, leading Mesa (Ariz.) CC to the team title at the Manny Bautista Classic as the Thunderbirds – No. 1 in NJCAA Division II – matched up with some strong programs.

Brockman was second – and the leading NJCAA runner – with a time of 18:48.5 for 5K as Mesa outdueled Mt. SAC, reigning champions of the California Community College Athletic Association, 60-82. In third was in-state rival Central Arizona, currently No. 10 in the NJCAA Division I rankings.

This is Brockman’s second time this year as the M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week, making her the first repeat athlete – male or female – from Mesa CC in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION III MEN – Nicholas Keeling, DuPage (Ill.)

Freshman | Naperville, Ill.

Nicholas Keeling was untouchable in winning the Olde English Classic, winning by 54 seconds with a time of 26:07.1 for 8K.

Keeling’s showing was just the beginning of an avalanche of runners from the College of DuPage as the Chaps racked up a score of 19 points to easily outscore rival Harper (Ill.)’s 41. In the current NJCAA Division III rankings, DuPage is No. 2 and Harper is No. 5.

This is Keeling’s second time this year as the M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week. He is the only athlete from DuPage to earn this honor in cross country.

NJCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Lilly Alberts, Harper (Ill.)

Freshman | Richmond, Illinois

Lilly Alberts is making it difficult for anyone else to earn this honor.

Alberts’ latest effort was a 17-second victory at the Olde English Classic, covering the 6K course in 24:19.4 as the Hawks won the team title with 20 points.

Harper is the first female athlete to be named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week three straight times in NJCAA Division III cross country.