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Rohann Asfaw named Cross Country National Athlete of the Week

Asfaw becomes the first-ever Cavalier to win the award

<p>Asfaw is the first male ACC athlete to earn the honor since Syracuse’s Justyn Knight in 2017.&nbsp;</p>

Asfaw is the first male ACC athlete to earn the honor since Syracuse’s Justyn Knight in 2017. 

Senior Rohann Asfaw was named the NCAA Division I Men’s Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Tuesday. The award follows the Virginia men’s cross-country team’s win at the Virginia Invite Friday.

The National Athlete of the Week is presented by USTFCCCA Communications Staff at the start of every week. According to the USTFCCCA’s press release, “the award seeks to highlight not only the very best times, marks and scores on a week-to-week basis, but also performances that were significant on the national landscape and/or the latest in a series of strong outings.” 

“It’s nice to be recognized for my performance, but I am keeping in mind that not many teams are competing this season,” Asfaw said. “I’m definitely not going to let it boost my ego.”

Asfaw becomes the first-ever Virginia athlete to win the award for cross-country. Additionally, he is the first male ACC athlete to earn the honor since Syracuse’s Justyn Knight in 2017. Asfaw was also named the men’s ACC Cross Country Performer of the Week by the conference office Wednesday.

In the first meet of the season, Asfaw led the Cavaliers, placing first in the 8K race and besting the rest of the competition by over eight seconds — his finishing time was 24:03.1.

“From a Rohann [Asfaw] perspective, I mean, what can you say,” said Vin Lananna, director of track and field and cross country, after the Virginia Invite. “Those are good people that he beat. He did a great job, time is great. So, it’s a great start and I’m excited that these guys have something to aim for.”

The Cavaliers had a strong showing in their first meet of the season. They defeated Wake Forest and North Carolina at Panorama Farms with all five of Virginia’s top male runners placing in the top 10. 

“It’s a big confidence boost heading into the season for sure,” Asfaw said on the win. “As for the team, I think we set the tone for how we want to be running the rest of the season.”

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams are back in action Wednesday when they travel to Cary, N.C. to compete in the NC State Invitational.

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