FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona University cross country star Diego Estrada earned Big Sky Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors Tuesday after winning the individual title at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree on Saturday.
"Diego's win was great for our team, especially when he made up 50 meters on the leader toward the end of the race," said Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Eric Heins. "It was even more amazing that he made up that ground on the toughest part of the course."
Estrada, who finished the race with a time of 23:34.34, was trailing the race leader by almost nine seconds at the 6K mark of the 8K race. Over the next 1,000 meters, he reduced that deficit to less than one second, and in the final 1K Estrada not only took over the lead, but placed at least 50 meters between himself and his nearest competitor.
"My goal going into the race was a top-two finish," said Estrada, who finished 13th at last year's NCAA National Championships. "I didn't really want to settle for second place, so I went for the win and was able to take advantage of the leader falling behind."
Estrada's next event will be the Adidas Wisconsin Invitational in two weeks, so he has plenty of time to recuperate and improve even more on a season that already looks promising.
"I'm looking forward to preparing [for Wisconsin]," said Estrada. "I'm just going to run hard and compete for another top-three finish."