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McDougal Honored as USATF Athlete of the Week
McDougal (Peru, N.Y.) outkicked Oregon's Galen Rupp by one second on Nov. 19, to win the first NCAA national title of his career, which includes 12 All-America honors. He became the first Liberty runner to win the national cross country championship and only the second Liberty athlete to capture a NCAA Division I national title. Liberty assistant track & field/cross country coach Heather (Sagan) Zealand finished first in the mile at the 2002 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
McDougal's USATF Athlete of the Week award is his first since Oct. 17, 2005, when he was honored for winning the Pre-Nationals cross country meet in record time. He also earned the distinction as a freshman, on Oct. 5, 2004, after winning the Great American Cross Country Festival championship. The senior's first USATF weekly recognition came while he was still in high school, on Nov. 18, 2003. McDougal captured the award as a result of winning the male 15-19 age group at the New York Road Runners Cross Country Championship in New York City's Van Cortlandt Park. His time of 15:08 on the 5K course was the fastest ever run by a high school athlete at Van Cortlandt.
USATF's Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. Some of the 2007 weekly honorees have included Allyson Felix, Ryan Hall, Jeremy Wariner and Alan Webb.
McDougal will open his senior track & field season this Saturday, when he runs the 5,000 meters at the Liberty Kickoff, at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. He is entered in a field which includes some top-notch competition, in a race set for approximately 4:15 p.m. McDougal is aiming to run 13:48.90 or faster, which would automatically qualify him for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in March.