Western Nelson earns fourth All-American honor in cross-country

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Western Nelson (Burroughs High, 2009) senior, Cal State San Marcos, men's cross-country: The former Burbank Leader Male Athlete of the Year selection ended his career with the Cougars by earning his fourth All-American honor.

Cal State San Marcos wrapped up a successful campaign Nov. 23 with a 13th place finish at the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics National Championships in Lawrence, Kan. The Cougars finished with 329 points — the same as Morningside (Iowa) — but fell to the Mustangs on a sixth-man tiebreaker.

On a cold day with temperatures in the low-20s, the Cougars finished with a total team time of 2 hours, 8:35 minutes. The Cal State San Marcos team finished within 100 points of seventh-place Shawnee State in the 32-team competition, which was won by Oklahoma City College with 77 points.

Leading the way for San Marcos was Nelson, who claimed his fourth NAIA All-American award with his 12th-place finish. Nelson becomes the only athlete in Cougars history to have been honored as an All-American in all four seasons of a sport. He is also the only senior cross-country runner in the NAIA that has been named an All-American in each of the last four years.

Nelson's season-best mark of 24:52.6 covered the 8-kilometer course at a five-minute-per-mile pace.

Cal State San Marcos finished as the top NAIA team in California and has now placed in the top 20 at the NAIA National Championships in all 15 years of its existence.

Jasmine Smith (Bellarmine-Jefferson High, 2012) freshman forward, San Jose State women's basketball: The former Bell-Jeff standout has made the successful transition from the high school ranks to the collegiate level with the Spartans.

In San Jose State's latest game, a 95-61 loss Tuesday to UC Davis, Smith had 10 points to go along with nine rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot.

The loss dropped San Jose State to 4-3.

In the Spartans' previous game, an 88-60 loss to UC San Diego on Nov. 23, Smith tallied 13 and 10 rebounds. The game marked the fourth time in six games that Smith recorded a double-double.

Smith has been able to put up solid numbers despite not starting in any of the Spartans' seven games this season. On the year, Smith is third on the team in scoring, averaging an even 13 points a game. In addition, she is averaging 9.1 rebounds and two steals a contest.

San Jose returns to action Tuesday with a game at Baylor.

Rishonda Napier (Bellarmine-Jefferson High, 2012) sophomore guard, Southern Illinois University women's basketball: After a successful first season with the Salukis a year ago, the former all-state player for the Guards is having another productive year.

As a freshman, Napier made an instant impact with Southern Illinois. She ranked second on the team in minutes played (958), ranked second with an average of 11.3 points per game, scored 339 points for the season — which ranks seventh in SIU history among freshmen — scored in double figures in 18 games with four games of 20 points or more and led the Salukis with 57 three-pointers made, which ranks ninth for a single season.

This season, the Salukis have struggled out of the gate, losing their first five games.

In the team's latest game, Napier scored seven points Wednesday in 82-59 loss at home to Marshall.

On the season, Napier has started four of five games and is third on the team in scoring, averaging 7.2 points a contest. She is also averaging 3.6 rebounds a game to go along with two assists.

SIU will play its next game Monday at Central Arkansas.

Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World