National Boys Performer of the Week (11/22-11/26)

* Daniel Simmons (left) was this past week's NPOTW winner, Aydon Stefanopoulos (right) is a nominee for this week's National Performer of the Week

Photo Credit: John Harris/MileSplit & DeAnna Turner/MileSplit

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If an undefeated season, state title and NXR title wasn't enough, American Fork senior Daniel Simmons is the most recent athlete to earn National Performer of the Week honors. 

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Simmons picked up his tenth win of his 2023 campaign, this time at NXR Southwest. 

Simmons successfully defended his title from 2022, crossing the line in 14:41.13, additionally leading the Cavemen to the regional title as well. 

In one of the closest NPOTW races we've seen this season, the reigning National Gatorade Player of the Year edged out Athens Drive's Noah Valyo by the slimmest of margins, picking up 36-percent of the votes compared to Valyo's 34-percent.

This marks Simmons' first NPOTW honors of the season. Congratulations to the American Fork star, and as always, congratulations to the other four nominees.

Here are this week's five nominees for the National Performer of the Week.

Aydon Stefanopoulos, Los Gatos (CA): Heading into Saturday's CIF DII Championships, there were several names that floated to the top of the contender conversation, but the Wildcat junior threw outside predictions, into the wind and did his own thing. In the biggest upset of the day, Stefanopoulos not only avenged his runner-up finish at the CIF Central Coast Section Finals, but he took down a field full of athletes that had previously ran faster than him, including the fastest in the entire state. Stefanopoulos picked up his first CIF title in 14:58.40, winning with roughly seven seconds to spare.

Patrick Koon, Leon (FL): The Stanford commit simply can't stop winning. For the ninth straight time this season, the five-time FHSAA state champion added a Foot Locker South Region title to his résumé, doing so in 14:48.61, his second fastest time of the season. Koon pulled away for a six second win and comfortably secured his second ticket to Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. After missing last year's qualifier due to injury, it's sweet revenge for the senior as he'll enter into next week's championship as one of the top contenders.

Evan Noonan, Dana Hills (CA): I may be wrong, but I'm not sure if anyone had a better day than Noonan this past weekend. Not only did he successfully defend his CIF D3 title, but he also led Dana Hills to another team state title. If that's not good enough, he also more than helped secure the team's spot on the starting line at Nike Cross Nationals this Saturday in Portland, Oregon. For Noonan, this was his fifth win of the season, pairing incredibly nicely with his Woodbridge title. 

Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay (MI): After coming within three seconds of a MHSAA title, Westphal wasted no time getting back into the win column in Kenosha, Wisconsin, winning the Foot Locker Midwest region. Westphal was the lone man under 15:00, sneaking under the barrier in 14:59.2. This was the sixth victory of the season for the soon-to-be Michigan State Spartan and his second straight race in the 14s. For Westphal, it'll be his first national championship appearance in cross country of his high school career.

Byron Grevious, Phillips Exeter Academy (NH): In just his fourth race of the season, the future Stanford Cardinal got the job done yet again, this time at NXR Northeast, cruising to a 17 second victory to avenge his runner-up finish as a junior. Grevious clocked 15:32.8, the fifth fastest time in Bowdoin Park history, and the fastest time the course has seen since 2016. Grevious also joined a coveted list of just 12 athletes to ever dip below 15:40 on this course, displaying the caliber of athlete he is. He'll head back to NXN after finishing 12th as a junior. 

NPOTW's Previous Winners:

Week 01: Daniel Hruska, Cherry Creek (CO)

Week 02: Ethan Edgeworth, Cold Springs (AL)

Week 03: Bazil Mathes, Monticello (VA)

Week 04: Will Conway, Floyd Central (IN)

Week 05: Clay Shively, Trinity Academy (KS)

Week 06: Cameron Todd, Brebeuf Jesuit (IN)

Week 07: Noah Valyo, Athens Drive (NC)

Week 08: Nolan McGinn, Fayetteville-Manliius (NY)

Week 09: Juan Gonzalez, Fremont (NE)

Week 10: Brennan Draper, Chaparral (CO)

Week 11: Ethan Gonzalez, Richland Hills North (TX)

Week 12: Cameron Todd, Brebeuf Jesuit (IN)

Week 13: Daniel Simmons, American Fork (UT)