Photo by: UC San Diego Athletics
Sam Blake was interviewed following his first ever, individual cross country victory at the Cougar Challenge in San Marcos.

Sam Blake Named USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week in Division-II Cross Country

UC San Diego

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LA JOLLA, Calif. Sam Blake of the University of California men’s cross country team has earned the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) National Athlete of the Week award for NCAA Division-II cross country. 

Announced Monday afternoon, Blake’s strong performance at the Cougar Challenge in San Marcos last Friday caught the eyes of several nationwide. 

In his first career triumph as a redshirt senior, Blake ran an individual all-time best 8K of 24-minutes, 11.0-seconds. Blake’s first-place finish came down to the wire as he crossed the line a nine-tenths of a second faster than 2018 All-American, senior Queens (N.C.)’s Anthony Raftis. 

In a race composed of six teams including various NCAA West Region competitors and 53 individual participants, Blake uplifted the UC San Diego men to a third-place team finish.

This makes Blake the first athlete at UC San Diego to receive National Athlete of the Week honors in cross country. 

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With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country.  The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference.  UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent.  A total of 82 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships.  In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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