KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Matt Ditzler of Friends (Kan.) has been named NAIA National Men's Cross Country Runner of the Week and Azusa Pacific's (Calif.) Lauren Jimison has been tabbed NAIA National Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week, the national office announced Wednesday. Ditzler and Jimison were selected based on their performances from Oct. 3 - 9. They were chosen out of a pool of conference/independent/unaffiliated group runners of the week selections.
Ditzler posted an 8K time of 24:41.9 to finish second at the Fort Hays State Open held in Hays, Kan., on Oct. 8. The time established a new personal best for the senior and shattered the Friends' record by 33 seconds. Ditzler, a native of Huntington, Ind., helped power the 14th-ranked Falcons to a second-place finish with 60 points. The 12-team field included NCAA Division I and II programs.
Jimison earned her second NAIA National Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week honor after claiming top-honors at the Vanguard (Calif.) Invitational held in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Oct. 8. The senior completed the 5K course in 17:10, shattering the course record of 17:23, en route to winning her second individual title in three races this season. Jimison, a native of El Dorado Hills, Calif., had a 34-second advantage on the runner-up, who was running unattached. Her efforts, combined with four other Cougars that finished among the top seven, lifted top-ranked Azusa Pacific to the team title with 36 points.
The next Runners of the Week announcement will be on Oct. 19.
Men’s Nominees: Thomas Zunie, Haskell (Kan.); Matt Pieri, Xavier (La.); Yonas Mebrahtu, Graceland (Iowa); Christopher 'Will' Kirkikis, Spring Hill (Ala.); Greg Montgomery, College of Idaho; Jairus Kipkemoi, Wiley (Texas); Daniel Tubei, Park (Mo.); Kennedy Kithuka, Wayland Baptist (Texas); Aaron Buchler, Indiana East; Nick Reynolds, William Penn (Iowa); Jared Courtright, Cornerstone (Mich.); Galen Dills, Shawnee State (Ohio); Evans Kirwa, Embry-Riddle (Fla.); Andrew Albert, Indiana Wesleyan; Monte Larsen, Morningside (Iowa); Daniel Guerrero, Reinhardt (Ga.); Phil Rizzo, St. Francis (Ill.); Wade Meddles, Azusa Pacific (Calif.); Anthony Pizzo, The Master's (Calif.).
Women’s Nominees: Talisa Budder, Haskell (Kan.); Zahri Jackson, Xavier (La.); Kate Imwalle, Spring Hill (Ala.); Jordan Arnold, Friends (Kan.); Sarah Johnson, College of Idaho; Katelyn Olvera, Central Methodist (Mo.); Lindsey McDonald, Park (Mo.); Milca Villegas, Wayland Baptist (Texas); Aleona Reyes, Jamestown (N.D.); Carlie Rider, Indiana East; Chelsee Lisk, St. Ambrose (Iowa); Alina Dhaseleer, Aquinas (Mich.); Beka Bentle, Indiana Wesleyan; Sharon Ronoh, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Selena Hutson, South Carolina Beaufort; Linda Rongoey, Reinhardt (Ga.); Jessa Sughroue, Doane (Neb.); Rachael Dean, Saint Xavier (Ill.); Holly Kopp, The Master's (Calif.).
2011 Composite Award Winners (Men’s; Women’s)
Week 1: Evans Kirwa, Embry-Riddle (Fla.); Lauren Jimison, Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
Week 2: John Gilbertson, The Master's (Calif.); Gina Paletta, Concordia (Ore.)
Week 3: Evans Kirwa, Embry-Riddle (Fla.); Danielle Brenon, Houghton (N.Y.)
Week 4: Silas Kisorio, Oklahoma Christian; Ally Manley, Northwest Christian (Ore.)
Week 5: Matt Ditzler, Friends (Kan.); Lauren Jimison, Azusa Pacific (Calif.)