National Athlete Of The Week
Big Rapids, Mich. - After an impressive performance to win the 2013 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Women's Cross Country individual championship on Saturday (Oct. 26) in Houghton, Ferris State University's Samantha Johnson (Troy) has received acclaim on both a league and nationwide level.
This past weekend, Johnson was chosen as the 2013 GLIAC Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year and recognized for her accomplishments by league commissioner Dell Robinson upon the conclusion of the race.
In addition, she has also been named the National Athlete of the Week by the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for her efforts. She's the first Bulldog runner to claim National Athlete of the Week recognition in the history of the award.
Johnson overcame both cold and windy weather in Michigan's Upper Peninsula along with topping runners from defending national champion and nationally top-ranked Grand Valley State to take the GLIAC individual title in 21:57.13 over the 6K course at Michigan Tech.
Her victory came at the expense of runner-up 2012 GLIAC Champion Allyson Winchester of GVSU, who finished 12 seconds back. It was Winchester who held a one-second lead over Johnson after two-thirds of the race, but Johnson was able to pull away from the defending champ over the final mile.
The 2013 GLIAC Championships were hosted by Michigan Tech at the Nordic Training Center for the first time in 13 years.
Besides claiming GLIAC Athlete of the Year honors after the title-winning performance, Johnson also was an All-GLIAC First Team honoree. Senior teammate Anna Rudd (Leslie) was a second-team honoree based on her 10th place overall showing as FSU took seventh place in the team standings.
On the men's side, Ferris State placed fifth at the league championships and had an all-conference second team member in Spencer Gerber, who led the way with an 11th-place performance.
Ferris State will next take part in the 2013 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 9, in Kenosha, Wis. Both Bulldog teams are currently ranked among the region's top 10 squads heading into the regional championships and both have also been ranked among the nation's top 25 at various points this season.