XC’s Houlihan Named USTFCCCA National Athlete Of The Week
TEMPE, Ariz.—For defending her title at the Roy Griak Invite, Arizona State cross country’s senior Shelby Houlihan was named U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Week, the organization announced on Monday.
This is the second time in Houlihan’s career that she has earned the USTFCCCA honor, the first coming last season, also following a win at the Griak Invite.
“Winning at the Griak Invite is a big deal,” head coach Louie Quintana said. “With that kind of national-level field, going up against big time runners from the likes of Michigan State and Boise State, it was a good early-season test for Shelby, but there is a lot more to come. She really had to grind it out the whole race, and it wasn’t easy. This is good preparation for her down the line, especially with Wisconsin coming up in three weeks and NCAAs not long after.”
A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Houlihan won the Jack Johnson Women’s 6k race in 20:34.5, becoming just the third woman in the 29-year history of the event to win back-to-back races (Fran ten Bensel, Nebraska; 1990-91 and Kim Smith, Providence; 2003-04).
Former Sun Devils Amy Hastings (2005) and Kari Hardt (2008) are the other two Sun Devils who have won the event.
Houlihan has now won a race in each of the last three seasons, and the last time that occurred for a Sun Devil runner was when Hastings won five races from 2003 to 2005.
As a team, the Sun Devils placed four finishers in the top-50 to finish sixth out of the 35 teams with 222 points. Last season, ASU finished 10th with 283 points.
Houlihan, a 2014 NCAA Outdoor Champion in the 1500m run and seven-time All-American, has earned the honor twice in her career in cross country, most recently finishing eighth in the 2013 race, the highest finish since 2000. The 2012 Pac-12 Cross Country Newcomer of the Year, Houlihan has led the Sun Devils in each race she’s run in during the each of her fall campaigns.
The men’s USFTCCCA National Athlete Of The Week was also a Griak Invite winner, Southern Utah’s Nate Jewkes.
Up next for the ASU cross country teams is the Thunderbird Classic on Saturday, Oct. 11 in Mesa, Ariz.
USTFCCCA National Athletes Of The Week
Men - Nate Jewkes, Southern Utah
Women - Shelby Houlihan, Arizona State
Men - Valentin Pepiot, Academy of Art
Women - Samantha Rivard, Minnesota Duluth
Men - David Chelimo, Colby
Women - Sarah Quinn, MIT