* Brennan Draper (left) won the 10th NPOTW poll; Robert Mechura (right) is one of five nominees for the Week 11 edition of National Performer of the Week
Photo Credit: MileSplit
Earlier this season, Chaparral senior Brennan Draper was 20 seconds back of Benjamin Anderson, the individual champion of the Liberty Bell Invitational, while Draper was sixth.
Last weekend, Draper got some sweet revenge, out-kicking Anderson for a Colorado Class 5A state championship, the first of his career.
As the pair rounded the final turn and the finish line was in sight, Draper shifted into one final gear, pulling away by five seconds for the exciting victory. Draper stopped the clock in 15:14.4,
After finishing 25th as a junior, Draper was able to put that in the rear-view mirror and end his senior campaign on the highest of notes, with four straight wins, plus a league, regional, and the CHSAA 5A title.
Draper picked up 44-percent of last week's votes, the only nominee above 30-percent.
Let's give a big round of applause to Draper for becoming the tenth NPOTW this season, and to the nominees alongside him as well.
Here are the nominees for the next edition of the National Performer of the Week.
Jack Meier, West Salem (OR): In 2022, he was the lone non-senior in the top five and one of just four in the top 20. Without missing a beat, Meier picked up the state title over the weekend, winning the Class 6A crown in 15:23.7. Meier comfortably put 17 seconds between himself and the chase pack, cruising to his third win of the season and his sixth straight sub-15:30 performance.
Joe Barrett, Christian Brothers (NJ): Despite not joining in on the fun until the end of September, the Colt junior went a perfect four-for-four, including wins at the Manhattan Invitational and NJSIAA NPA title. Barrett led his squad to a 1-5 finish, and their fourth consecutive team win, as their perfect season continues.
Seth Norder, Grand Haven (MI): After a series of runner-up finishes at state and regional titles over the last few seasons, the soon-to-be Michigan State Spartan claimed up his first state title of his high school career, running the fastest time the meet has seen since 2020. Norder won with roughly a three second margin between himself and the runner-up, crossing in 14:54.3, picking up his sixth win of the year and securing his eighth top five finish. Just for kicks, it was also Norder's eight consecutive sub-15:30 performance.
Robert Mechura, Roseville Area (MN): What better time time to run a new PR than while at the state championship? You'll have to ask the junior yourself, because that's precisely what Mechura did over the weekend, winning the 3A title over the 2022 runner-up Sam Scott. Mechura held on down the final straightaway, clocking 15:04.2, a new PR. The junior lost just once this fall, making this his sixth win of his penultimate high school cross country season.
Ethan Gonzalez, Richland Hills North (TX): There's no better word for Gonzalez's performance in the UIL 5A Championship, as the senior won his first state title in 14:55.8, a brand new PR. This was only his third race of the season, but also his third straight victory. He snuck his way into the course record book, now the 24th fastest to ever make their way through the cross at Old Settler's Park.
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)