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Aiken named GNAC cross country player of the week

By Spencer Martin

Editor’s Note: This is a release from MSU Billings Athletics Communications.

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Great Northwest Athletic Conference has named Montana State University Billings senior Nikki Aiken (Belgrade, Montana) women’s cross country player of the week for her performance on Saturday in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Aiken got first place in the Hardrocker Cross Country Classic at Robbinsdale Park in a 5K race including four schools. Aiken’s first place time of 21:25.40 marked her first career win in her esteemed five year career at MSUB. The Yellowjackets took third place among four teams at the Hardrocker overall.

“Nikki had a great week,” commented head coach Jon Woehl. “She has worked really hard over the past five years both in the classroom and on the course. This is definitely one of the payoffs for all her hard work. She ran a good race on a tough course and there was good competition in Rapid City. She led the race the entire time with the chase pack not far behind. It’s a hugely exciting for our team because only one person can win the race. It’s special and a good way to start the year.”

All five runners for MSUB women’s cross country are returners this fall and Aiken is the most senior member as team captain. As a junior, Aiken was named women’s cross country runner of the year by the MSUB Athletic Department.

Though this is her first time winning GNAC player of the week for cross country, Aiken did earn a similar award in January 2018 for indoor track and field competition. Aiken has also been awarded academic all-conference for both cross country and track and field. She is the first MSUB athlete to win a cross country race since 2014.

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