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Zienasellassie Earns Season's First Athlete of the Week Honor

NAU's Futsum Zienasellassie (Photo: Michael Scott)
NAU's Futsum Zienasellassie (Photo: Michael Scott)

OGDEN, UTAH – This past weekend, the unanimous No. 1 nationally-ranked Northern Arizona men's cross country team faced its first test of the season and passed with flying colors, winning the 2016 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational thanks in large part to the low-stick performance of three-time XC All-American Futsum Zienasellassie.

Zienasellassie, making his cross country season debut last Friday in Wisconsin, never dipped below 15th and maintained an impressively solid pace as he raced in for second place and a 23:55.1 time. This was the second-consecutive time the North Central High School graduate finished as the runner-up at this specific race, with the last time coming in 2014 (seeing as he redshirted 2015).

With his help, Zienasellassie and company bested the likes of 17 current top-30 nationally-ranked teams, including No. 2 Stanford and No. 4 BYU. Last time Zienasellassie and the Lumberjacks won this meet was back in 2013—the same season they went onto tie the program's highest finish at NCAA National Championships (2nd).