After winning the 2018 NCAA Individual Cross Country Championship, University of Colorado senior Dani Jones has been named the USTFCCCA Women’s National Athlete of the Year, while head coach Mark Wetmore has been named the USTFCCCA Women’s National Coach of the Year.
Jones won the national championship on Nov. 17 with an amazing kick down the stretch, defeating the heavy favorite, Weini Kelati (New Mexico). Jones crossed the finish in 19:42.8, while Kelati recorded a time of 19:45.3.
With the victory, Jones became seventh Buff in school history to win an individual cross country championship. She is the second female to win an NCAA in school history, following in the steps of Kara Grgas-Wheeler (Goucher), who won in 2000 and also led her squad to the team title. Mary Decker (Slaney) won a national cross country title in 1978 when the women competed in the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women).
Jones had a very successful senior season, winning her second straight Pac-12 individual title in October. She led CU in every race this season, including a sixth-place finish at regionals. Jones has now recorded three straight All-America honors on the cross country course. Besides her first place finish on Saturday, she was 22nd in 2016 and 10th in 2017.
Wetmore earned his award after coaching the Buffs to the NCAA team championship, marking the third time since 2000 that CU has won the team title. The Buffs, which were tied for third heading into nationals, defeating top-ranked New Mexico 65-103. The Buffs posted the third lowest score since the race changed from 5K to 6K in 2001. CU put all five scorers in the top-25, including three in the top-15.
This is the third time Wetmore has been named the women’s national coach of the year; he has also earned the honor three times on the men’s side.