M-F Athletic National Athletes of the Week (Jan. 24)
NEW ORLEANS – The season just keeps getting better.
Here are our M-F Athletic National Athletes of the Week for January 24!
- NCAA Division I Men – Jordan Geist, Arizona
- co-NCAA Division I Women – Julien Alfred, Texas
- co-NCAA Division I Women – Masai Russell, Kentucky
- NCAA Division II Men – Eli Kosiba, Grand Valley State
- NCAA Division II Women – Denisha Cartwright, Minnesota State
- NCAA Division III Men – Sam Blaskowski, UW-La Crosse
- NCAA Division III Women – Kenadee Wyat, Mount Union
- NAIA Men – Jacob Ulrich, Life (Ga.)
- NAIA Women – Addy Wiley, Huntington (Ind.)
- NJCAA Men – Rivaldo Marshall, Indian Hills (Iowa) CC
- NJCAA Women – Miracle Ailes, Iowa Western CC
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 14 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 – Jordan Geist
Senior | Throws
Jordan Geist wants to remind you that he’s still here.
Geist launched the shot an NCAA-leading 21.48m (70-5¾) this past weekend at the Lumberjack Team Challenge. That also tied Geist with the No. 10 performer in collegiate history.
It has been a long journey for Geist, who last PR’d in April 2019 at the Triton Invitational. Nearly four years later, Geist is as close to that 21.59m (70-10) marker as he’s been since that day.
This is the first time in program history that a male athlete from Arizona has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Geist joins Sage Watson (February 7, 2017) as the only two Wildcats to be lauded for their performances under a roof.
co-NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Julien Alfred, Texas
Grad Student | Sprints
Castries, St. Lucia
Julien Alfred is already in her record-breaking postseason form.
Actually, Alfred is better than that … in January. Yes, January.
Alfred, competing at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, bettered her own collegiate record in the Women’s 60 Meters to 7.02. That took 0.02 seconds off the mark that she previously set last year at the NCAA DI Indoor Championships.
Not long before that, Alfred posted the fastest qualifying time in the prelims of 7.05, which is now tied for the third-fastest mark in collegiate history.
This is the second time this season that a female athlete from Texas has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week. Kennedy Simon first earned national honors back on December 6.
co-NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN – Masai Russell, Kentucky
Grad Student | Hurdles
We’re in a Golden Age of collegiate hurdling.
Masai Russell of Kentucky extended that era into 2023.
Russell, competing at the Red Raider Open in Lubbock, Texas, shattered the collegiate record in the Women’s 60-Meter Hurdles when she went 7.75. That topped the previous all-time best of 7.78 jointly held by Grace Stark of Florida and 2013 The Bowerman winner Brianna Rollins.
The Maryland native headlines an all-time collegiate top-5 that features four women who clocked blistering marks in the past two years: Stark (t-No. 2, 7.78), Alia Armstrong of LSU (No. 3, 7.81) and Paula Salmon (No. 4, 7.83) are the others. All four of those incredible athletes are still active, so if the collegiate record wasn’t safe at 7.78, it won’t be at 7.75.
A female athlete from Kentucky has now been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week in three of the past four indoor seasons: Abby Steiner received laurels three times during her Bowerman-winning 2022 campaign and Olivia Gruver was lauded once three years ago.
NCAA DIVISION II MEN – Eli Kosiba, Grand Valley State
Junior | Jumps
Eli Kosiba is soaring to new heights.
It was at the GVSU Mike Lints Alumni Meet that Kosba of Grand Valley State cleared 2.23m (7-3¾) to win the Men’s High Jump. With that clearance, Kosiba matched the No. 8 performer in NCAA DII history. It was also an improvement upon his previous national leader of 2.20m (7-2½), giving him the two best jumps in the division this year.
This is the fourth time in program history a male athlete from Grand Valley State has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. Kosiba joins Isaac Harding (2022), the Lakers’ DMR (2021), and Zach Panning (2017).
NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN – Denisha Cartwright, Minnesota State
Junior | Sprints/Hurdles
Denisha Cartwright entered rare territory on Saturday in Iowa.
Cartwright, competing at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational, matched the second-best performer in NCAA Division II history in the Women’s 60 Hurdles after clocking 8.07 in the Hawkeye Pro Prelims. The Minnesota State standout is 0.02 seconds away from the NCAA DII record of 8.05 set by Indira Spence of Adams State back in 2010. She then went on to finish fifth in the finals with another all-time performance of 8.16.
At the same meet, Cartwright also placed second in the 200 meters at 23.87 and sixth in the 60 meters (7.37). Cartwright was named Track Athlete of the Meet for her efforts.
This is the second time this season – and third overall – that Cartwright has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. She also earned the honor back in 2021.
NCAA DIVISION III MEN – Sam Blaskowski, UW-La Crosse
Sophomore | Sprints/Jumps
Sam Blaskowski is still fast.
Come to think of it, he might be faster.
Blaskowski equaled his PR in the 60 meters of 6.70 this past weekend at the inaugural Pat Healy Classic and now has two all-time top-5 marks in NCAA DIII history. Here’s the thing: Blaskowski clocked that initial PR last year at the WIAC Indoor Championships in late February, so fast forward one year later, and this performance came one month earlier. Blaskowski is still the fastest man in NCAA DIII since 2014.
At the same meet this past weekend, Blaskowski soared 6.89m (22-7¼) in the long jump to finish as the top NCAA DIII athlete in the field. Blaskowski is an accomplished jumper, having earned two All-America honors last year, including a third-place NCAA finish outdoors.
This is the second year in a row that Blaskowski has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season. An athlete from UW-La Crosse has been lauded in three of the past four years: Blaskowski in 2023 and 2022; Andrew Jarrett in 2020.
NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN – Kenadee Wyat, Mount Union
Senior | Sprints
Wheeling, West Virginia
Kenadee Wyat is back to her old ways.
That’s a great thing if you’re Mount Union.
Wyat, who earned three individual All-America honors last year in each of the three sprints at the NCAA DIII Indoor Championships, is now ranked among the top-5 nationally in each of those events. She entered the weekend second nationally in the 400 meters at 56.40, but added the national lead in the 200m at 24.75 and then sizzled the track on her way to the No. 5 mark in the 60m at 7.70.
This is the first time in program history that a female athlete from Mount Union has been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.
NAIA MEN – Jacob Ulrich, Life (Ga.)
Senior | Sprints
East Wenatchee, Washington
Jacob Ulrich ran his first 400 meters of the year at the Samford January Invitational.
The result was the same as the 600 meters a week earlier at the Rod McCravy Memorial – a victory with an NAIA-leading time. In the Samford meet, Ulrich’s 47.33 not only took the national lead but also marked the fastest time by an NAIA athlete in the last two years.
Ulrich actually has a say in three NAIA-leading marks this year – in addition to his 1:17.33 600, he anchored Life’s 3:12.59 4×400 team that was third at the McCravy meet. Last year, Ulrich anchored the Running Eagles’ 4×400 team to the NAIA Indoor title after finishing runner-up in the 600.
NAIA WOMEN – Addy Wiley, Huntington (Ind.)
Freshman | Distance
What better way to spend an hour than how Addy Wiley did this past Friday evening at the Warrior Invitational at Indiana Tech.
She merely won three events, each with an NAIA-leading time.
First up at 5:10 p.m. was the 600 meters, in which Wiley’s 1:29.77 won the race by over four seconds with a mark that is the fastest-known time in NAIA history. At 5:40, she captured the 800 meters in 2:09.76, winning by over 20 seconds to move to No. 4 all-time NAIA indoors. Finally, at 6:00 Wiley completed her incredible triple with a 2:51.56 clocking in the 1000 meters to win by more than nine seconds with a performance that makes her No. 8 on the all-time NAIA list.
Wiley now is the current NAIA national leader in four events, having also clocked a 9:24.28 in the 3000 meters in December.
The runner-up in November at the NAIA Cross Country Championships, Wiley was a two-time M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week in cross country this past fall.
NJCAA MEN – Rivaldo Marshall, Indian Hills (Iowa) CC
Sophomore | Mid-Distance
Rivaldo Marshall is M-F National Athlete of the Week for a third time this indoor season – and for good reason.
After two December performances to remember, Marshall was fast again in his first January race of the year. His 2:23.23 clocking in the American Track League’s Hawkeye Pro 1000 Meters made him the third-fastest NJCAA athlete of all time as he lowered his PR by over four seconds.
The reigning NJCAA Outdoor champion in the 800 was briefly the fastest NJCAA indoor runner after a scintillating 1:48.46 in December on an oversized track.
The fourth male athlete from Indian Hills to earn NAOW honors indoors, Marshall’s third such distinction joins former Warriors star Kenny Bednarek as the program’s other three-time honoree in indoor track & field.
NJCAA WOMEN – Miracle Ailes, Iowa Western CC
Sophomore | Jumps
After competing in the 60 and long jump a week ago, Miracle Ailes put her focus on high jump at the Northwest Missouri Open.
Focus is putting it mildly, as Ailes cleared a likely NJCAA indoor record of 1.87m (6-1½) in winning the competition. Her mark bettered the 1.84m (6-0½) set by Jelena Rowe of South Plains (Texas) in 2018.
Ailes was locked in early, winning the competition at her entering height of 1.62m (5-3¾). She had a clean record through 1.80m (5-10¾), equaling her PR from winning the event at last year’s NJCAA Indoor Championships. She then went straight to the record height, clearing on her third attempt, before retiring after two misses at 1.93m (6-4).
This is the first M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week honor for Ailes indoors, adding to the one she earned outdoors last year. She is the sixth Reiver woman to be named Athlete of the Week in indoor track & field.