By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hannah Helker of Oklahoma Baptist has been named the NAIA Women's Cross Country National Runner of the Week, the national office announced Wednesday. Helker was chosen for her performance during the week of Oct. 7 – 13 and was selected out of a pool of conference and independent award winners. With this week’s award, Helker becomes the first two-time Cross Country National Runner of the Week of 2013. Helker was also selected twice in 2012.
Helker, a junior from Edmond, Okla., won the NAIA Preview Meet on Oct. 12 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. Helker bested the 268-runner field, covering the 5-kilometer course in 17:02.46. She outpaced the field by over a minute—the next runner finished in 18:08.44—and led the No. 15-ranked Bison to a third place finish behind No. 9 Dordt (Iowa) and No. 14 Taylor (Ind.) with a team 5k time of 1:34:31.
In a 30-team preview meet field that included 10 ranked teams and three teams who received votes in last week’s coaches’ poll, Helker’s Bison placed ahead of numerous notable programs including: No. 10 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), No. 16 Cornerstone (Mich.), No. 18 Doane (Neb.), No. 20 Aquinas (Mich.), No. 22 Indiana Tech, No. 24 Shawnee State (Ohio), No. 25 Indiana Wesleyan and receiving votes teams Baker (Kan.), Wayland Baptist (Texas) and Central Methodist (Mo.).
On the men’s side, Helker’s counterpart Adam Godwin topped the 272-runner field with an 8-kilometer time of 24:34.21, leading the No. 13-ranked Bison to a fourth place finish behind No. 3 Aquinas, No. 8 Lewis-Clark State and No. 4 Shawnee State. Godwin earned NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Runner of the Week honors for his performance. Helker and Godwin achieve the first Cross Country National Runner of the Week sweep since College of Idaho’s Hillary Holt and Greg Montgomery did so on Oct. 26, 2012.
For the complete player of the week calendar, click here.
Nominees: Allie Skobel, Benedictine-Springfield (Ill.); Emily Schultz, Columbia (Mo.); Sami Berry, William Woods (Mo.); Kristen Garwood, Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.); Susana Marqeuz, Point (Ga.); Joanna Sowers, Northwest (Wash.); Allison Duvenez, Northwest Christian (Ore.); Meaghan Ciochon, Judson (Ill.); Sarah Ray, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Allison Steinbeck, Taylor (Ind.); Christina Sandberg, Indiana Wesleyan; Alyssa Rapovy, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho); Erin Kibler, Westminster (Utah); Megan Breeding, Rocky Mountain (Mont.); Nicole Brist, Great Falls (Mont.); Hannah Kellerman, The Master's (Calif.); Lauren Opp, Dordt (Iowa); Katie Smelker, Mount Marty (S.D.); Lauren Jaqua, Baker (Kan.); Megan Greener, Central Methodist (Mo.); Amanda Buhr, Missouri Valley; Brielle Lund, Tabor (Kan.); Valarie Segay, Kansas Wesleyan; Hana Jiraskova, Point Park (Pa.); Halle Richards, Shawnee State (Ohio); Talisa Budder, Haskell (Kan.); Emily Weber, College of Saint Mary (Neb.) (Neb.); Eveline Niyokwizigigwa, Mount Mercy (Iowa); Nicole Woodall, St. Ambrose (Iowa); Samantha Goff, Jamestown (N.D.); Ethel Ajanga, Wiley (Texas); Sarah Jerotich, Wayland Baptist (Texas); Deborah Park, Science & Arts (Okla.); Katrina Nolan, Oklahoma City; Sierra Zemanick, Southern Wesleyan (S.C.); Allison Denetchee, William Carey (Miss.); Emily Dolan, Spring Hill (Ala.); Brittany Aikens, Brenau (Ga.); Jessy Scarpone, SCAD Savannah (Ga.); Lauren Dunleavy, Ave Maria (Fla.); Melissa Carder, USC Beaufort (S.C.); Anna Ahrens, Southeastern (Fla.); Amanda Penton, St. Thomas (Fla.); Annabel Steiner, Embry-Riddle (Fla.); Liciane St. Jean, Warner (Fla.); Stacey Baron, Davenport (Mich.); Julie Oosterhouse, Cornerstone (Mich.); Jaclyn Sawasky, Madonna (Mich.); Laura Condron, Indiana Tech; Mariah Ridal, Siena Heights (Mich.).
2013 Women's Cross Country Composite Award Winners
Week 1 (September 18): Ayded Reyes, Cal State San Marcos
Week 2 (September 25): Lindsey Martin, Columbia (Mo.)
Week 3 (October 2): Hannah Helker, Oklahoma Baptist
Week 4 (October 9): Maria Bernard, British Columbia
Week 5 (October 16): Hannah Helker, Oklahoma Baptist