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NAU Cross Country Sweeps Big Sky Athlete of the Week Honors

OGDEN, Utah - The Big Sky Conference has selected the men's and women's Cross Country Athletes of the Week. Northern Arizona's Futsum Zienasellassie was named men's AOTW, while NAU's Melanie Townsend was named women's AOTW.

"For Futsum to be just a few seconds behind those seniors as a sophomore is great," said director of track & field and cross country Eric Heins.

Zienasellassie, a sophomore from Indianapolis, Ind., Competing for the first time this season Futsum helped NAU to a second-place finish at the Cowboy Jamboree that featured the likes of No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 29 Michigan State and reigning national champion Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech.

Zienasellasie finished fourth in the men's 8K with a time of 24:30.67.

Townsend, a sophomore from Melbourne, Australia, continues to impress this season as she lead the Lumberjack women to a third-place finish at the Cowboy Jamboree which featured the likes of No. 18 ranked Oklahoma State and an impressive Kentucky team.

"It's rewarding to see Melanie run so well," said Heins.  "She stayed in Flagstaff over the summer to train and it's paying off."

Townsend finished third in the women's 5K with a time of 17:47.74.