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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | August 16, 2022

Cross Country Awards: The history of the USTFCCCA’s cross country national athlete of the year

2021 women's cross country championship | FULL RACE

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's (USTFCCCA) Cross Country National Athlete of the Year award is given to the most outstanding male and female NCAA cross country athletes. BYU swept the men's and women's awards in 2021, with Conner Mantz and Whittni Orton winning, respectively.

Here's everything you need to know about the annual honor.

How does National Athlete of the Year voting work?

The National Athletes of the Year for Division I cross country are voted on by member coaches of the USTFCCCA. The voting is based on results from the voting year's DI cross country championships and the regular season.

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When is the National Athlete of the Year winner announced?

The DI cross country men's and women's National Athlete of the Year winners are announced after the conclusion of the DI cross country championships.

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National Athlete of the Year winners by school

24 schools have won at least one National Athlete of the Year award, whether that be a men's or women's win. From those 24, just 13 schools have won multiple awards in their history.

BYU, Colorado, Oregon, Texas Tech and Wisconsin lead all schools with four total National Athlete of the Year. BYU added to their total with the 2021 men's and women's awards.

Here are the schools with the most combined (men's and women's) National Athlete of the Year awards.

No. of NAtional Athletes of the Year School
4 BYU, Colorado, Oregon, Texas Tech, Wisconsin
3 Liberty, Villanova
2 Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa State, New Mexico,
North Carolina, Providence
1 Alabama, Dartmouth, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Iona,
Missouri, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, South Alabama,
Syracuse, UCLA

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Men’s winners by school

Here are the schools with the most men’s National Athlete of the Year awards.

No. of  National Athletes of the Year School
4 Oregon
3 BYU, Colorado, Liberty, Wisconsin
2 Arizona, Arkansas
1 Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, Providence,
South Alabama, Syracuse, Texas Tech, UCLA,
Villanova

Women’s winners by school

Here are the schools with the most women’s National Athlete of the Year awards.

No. of  National Athletes of the Year School
3 Texas Tech
2 New Mexico, North Carolina, Villanova
1 Alabama, Arizona, BYU, Colorado, Dartmouth, Illinois,
Iona, Iowa State, Missouri, Northern Arizona,
Notre Dame, Providence, Wisconsin

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National Athlete of the Year winners by conference

Here are the conferences with the most combined (men's and women's) National Athlete of the Year awards.

No. of  National Athletes of the Year Conference
12 Pac-12
6 Big 12
5 Big East, Big Ten
4 ACC, SEC, WCC
3 ASUN
2 Mountain West
1 Big Sky, Ivy, MAAC, MAC, Sun Belt

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Men’s winners by conference

Here are the conferences with the most men’s National Athlete of the Year awards.

No. of  National Athletes of the Year Conference
10 Pac-12
3 ASUN, Big Ten, WCC
2 Big 12, Big East, SEC
1 ACC, MAC, Sun Belt

Women’s winners by conference

Here are the conferences with the most women’s National Athlete of the Year awards.

No. of  National Athletes of the Year Conference
4 Big 12
3 ACC, Big East
2 Big Ten, Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC
1 Big Sky, Big Ten, Ivy, MAAC, SEC, WCC

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Complete history of past National Athlete of the Year recipients

BYU swept the 2021 men's and women's DI cross country National Athlete of the Year awards with Conner Mantz and Whittni Orton winning the men's and women's awards, respectively.

With the win, Mantz became the fifth man to win consecutive awards joining Edward Cheserek (Oregon, 2013-15), Sam Chelanga (Liberty, 2009-10), Simon Bairu (Wisconsin, 2004-05) and Godfrey Siamusiye (Arkansas, 1995-96). Colorado is the only school to have two different consecutive winners with Jorge Torres (2002) and Dathan Ritzenhein (2003).

On the women's side, Sheila Reid (Villanova, 2010-11), Sally Kipyego (Texas Tech, 2006-08) and Shalane Flanagan (North Carolina, 2002-03) are the only women to win consecutive awards.

See the full list below.

Year Athlete School Gender
2021 Conner Mantz BYU Men's
  Whittni Orton BYU Women's
2020 Conner Mantz BYU Men's
  Mercy Chelangat Alabama Women's
2019 Edwin Kurgat Iowa State Men's
  Weini Kelati New Mexico Women's
2018 Morgan McDonald Wisconsin Men's
  Dani Jones Colorado Women's
2017 Justyn Knight Syracuse Men's
  Ednah Kurgat New Mexico Women's
2016 Patrick Tiernan Villanova Men's
  Karissa Schweizer Missouri Women's
2015 Edward Cheserek Oregon Men's
  Molly Seidel Notre Dame Women's
2014 Edward Cheserek Oregon Men's
  Kate Avery Iona Women's
2013 Edward Cheserek Oregon Men's
  Abbey D'Agostino Dartmouth Women's
2012 Kennedy Kithuka Texas Tech Men's
  Betsy Saina Iowa State Women's
2011 Lawi Lalang Arizona Men's
  Sheila Reid Villanova Women's
2010 Sam Chelanga Liberty Men's
  Sheila Reid Villanova Women's
2009 Sam Chelanga Liberty Men's
  Angela Bizzarri Illinois Women's
2008 Galen Rupp Oregon Men's
  Sally Kipyego Texas Tech Women's
2007 Josh McDougal Liberty Men's
  Sally Kipyego Texas Tech Women's
2006 Josh Rohatinsky BYU Men's
  Sally Kipyego Texas Tech Women's
2005 Simon Bairu Wisconsin Men's
  Johanna Nilsson Northern Arizona Women's
2004 Simon Bairu Wisconsin Men's
  Kim Smith Providence Women's
2003 Dathan Ritzenhein Colorado Men's
  Shalane Flanagan North Carolina Women's
2002 Jorge Torres Colorado Men's
  Shalane Flanaga North Carolina Women's
2001 Boaz Cheboiywo Eastern Michigan Men's
2000 Keith Kelly Providence Men's
1999 David Kimani South Alabama Men's
1998 Adam Goucher Colorado Men's
1997 Mebrahtom Keflezighi UCLA Men's
1996 Godfrey Siamusiye Arkansas Men's
1995 Godfrey Siamusiye Arkansas Men's
  Kathy Butler Wisconsin Women's
1994 Martin Keino Arizona Men's

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