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Cross Country’s McNeill Named Mountain Region Athlete of the Year

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Northern Arizona senior runner David McNeill was named Mountain Region Men's Athlete of the Year for the third-consecutive season Wednesday afternoon by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). This is the fourth-straight year that a member of the NAU men's team has claimed the regional honor as former Lumberjack Lopez Lomong won the award in 2007.

"David McNeill is a great runner and has earned every award that he has received," said Eric Heins, Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. "Winning another Mountain Region award is very appropriate considering how solid the competition is in this region."

McNeill won the award after making history this past weekend. The native of Melbourne, Australia, claimed his third-straight individual title at the Mountain Region Championships in a time of 29:24.1, six seconds better than second-place finisher Miles Batty of BYU. Dating back to 1978, it was the first time an individual has won the Mountain Region individual three straight times.

"It's going to be hard to replace David, but we have guys who I think are capable of continuing that tradition," Heins said. "It shows that athletes that come here improve and succeed. It speaks highly of the success that NAU cross country has had recently and in its history."

The latest Mountain Region award gives McNeill five for his career. Last year, the nine-time All-American swept the region, claiming the cross country, indoor and outdoor athlete of the year awards.

McNeill and the rest of his teammates will close out the 2010 campaign Monday afternoon at the NCAA Cross Country Championships from the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The men's race begins at approximately 10:48 p.m. MST.

A live webcast of the championships will be broadcast from 10-11:30 a.m. MST, Monday, Nov. 22, on NCAA.com. In addition, highlights from the championships will be included as part of the CBS NCAA Fall Seasonal Show scheduled to air on Saturday, December 18 from 11:00-12:00 p.m. MST on CBS HD.

DID YOU KNOW…Based on AHRRC information NAU athletics has a significant impact on the Flagstaff economy. Lumberjack student athletes add $8.7 million to the Northern Arizona economy and visiting teams contributed $650,000 to the hotel and restaurant economy of Flagstaff.