* Juan Gonzalez (left) won the ninth NPOTW poll; Brennan Draper (right) is one of five nominees for the Week 10 edition of National Performer of the Week
Photo Credit: Sam Schreiber/MileSplit & Brandon
A few weeks back, Fremont junior Juan Gonzalez defended his NSAA 1A state title by clocking a time of 15:26.6, finishing his regular season 7-1.
Gonzalez's strong performance also propelled him up to fifth all-time at the Kearney Country Club, joining some of the best runners in Nebraska state history, including Carson Noecker, Seth Hirsch and Gabe Hinrichs.
If the second state title wasn't enough, Gonzalez was named the National Performer of the Week in the season's most overwhelmingly dominate vote, collecting an unprecedented 84% of the votes.
Gonzalez joins the select list of 2023 winners, adding another accolade to an already incredible season. Congratulations to last week's nominees as well.
After a busy state championship weekend for a good amount of states, here are this week's five nominees for National Performer of the Week.
Manny Putz, Onalaska (WI): Despite having to cross-train the majority of, the Wisconsin star is firing on all cylinders, and most recently won his second straight WIAA Division I state title, holding off a strong group of upperclassmen, winning in 15:05.8. Putz worked his way up to the third-fastest performance ever seen at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. However, he is the fastest junior to ever run on the state championship course, and now only trails Chris Solinsky (14:54) and Olin Hacker (14:59). Putz also became the first guy since Drew Bosley to successfully go back-to-back in the state's largest division.
Nate Stadtlander, Meridian (ID): Less than two weeks ago, the Warrior junior was runner-up at the District III 5A meet, finishing nine seconds back of defending state champion Landon Heemeyer. Over the weekend, Stadtlander turned the tables and took him down, claiming his first ever Idaho state title. His 'upset' in the state's finale probably wasn't too big of a shock for a lot of people. A year ago, Stadtlander never ran faster than 15:43, but this year, only one of his eight races was slower than 15:37. This year he also won his first cross country race since entering high school, and then did that again five more times over the course of the season.
Brennan Draper, Chaparral (CO): Back in early September, Draper was 20 seconds back of Benjamin Anderson at the Liberty Bell Invitational. On Saturday, Draper rounded the final turn roughly a second ahead of the fastest guy in 5A. Once the finish line was in sight, the senior put it into high gear and pulled away, in the end winning by five seconds. After finishing 25th as a junior in 16:20, Draper's win over the weekend capped off what was an incredibly dominant senior campaign, more than making up for it. Draper ends his CHSAA season with four consecutive wins, as he won a league, regional and of course, a state title.
Cameron Todd, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep (IN): Running slower than 15:50 just once this fall, Todd kept things going with a 14:55.5 victory at the IHSAA State Championships, his first ever state title across both cross country and track. The Notre Dame commit stayed patient through two miles at Lavern Gibson, despite multiple competitors taking it out hot and putting a little distance between themselves and Todd. Ultimately, Todd did a lot of the dirty work over the last mile, finishing eight seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Todd ends his regular season with six wins, and eight top two finishes.
Ryan Pajak, Ringgold (PA): Week 6's NPOTW couldn't stay away, heading into his last cross country state championships undefeated thanks to his 33 second victory at the PIAA District 7 WPIAL. Pajak, has been nothing short of perfect this fall, winning by more than half-of-a-minute in all but one of his five victories. Not to mention, this was also his third course record of the year, shattering the previous record. Pajak now heads into the state championships with a full head of steam, and also as the top returner.
NPOTW's Previous Winners:
Week 1: Daniel Hruska, Cherry Creek (CO)
Week 2: Ethan Edgeworth, Cold Springs (AL)
Week 3: Bazil Mathes, Monticello (VA)
Week 4: Will Conway, Floyd Central (IN)