Zimbabwean middle and long distance runner Faith Nyathi’s star continues to shine in the United States of America (USA) after she was announced as the Women’s Athlete of the Week announced by the Conference USA (CUSA) office last Tuesday.
CUSA is an intercollegiate athletic conference whose current member institutions are located within the Southern United States and Western United States. The conference participates in the top tier National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Division I in all sports.
The 23 year-old Nyathi, who hails from Ndolwane in Matabeleland South’s Bulilima district initially moved to the US two years ago after being offered an athletic scholarship at El Paso Community College.
After her impressive performances in El Paso, Texas, Nyathi, who is widely regarded as one of the country’s top runners was offered another scholarship opportunity at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Nyathi has wasted very little time in making an impact at her new university after earning the first weekly award of the cross-country season for Middle Tennessee.
This past weekend in Memphis, Nyathi led the Blue Raiders, as the Middle Tennessee State University athletics team is popularly known, to a first-place finish ahead of Alabama and University of Mississippi.
Her time of 17:05.91 in the women’s cross country was a personal-best and gave her a first overall finish in a field of 181 runners.
“This is a great honour for Faith,” said Blue Raiders head coach Keith Vroman.
“She’s been training at a high level for her debut season in NCAA Division I cross-country and we are looking forward to see what she can do this season.”
CUSA Women's Athlete of the Week, Faith Nyathi! 👏
— Middle Tennessee XC/Track & Field (@MT_TrackField) September 5, 2023
Nyathi will be aiming to continue her brilliant start to the season when the Blue Raiders men’s and women’s cross-country team travel to Huntsville, Alabama for the Southern Showcase on September 15.
Nyathi, who has been in USA since August, 2021 is a beneficiary of the Costa Takawira Mangwende Foundation scholarship programme initiated in 2015 by former sportsperson, Costa Takawira.
Takawira, who is the chief executive officer of Baldmin Holdings, a leading engineering firm in Zimbabwe with operations within the SADC region Africa, is working in partnership with another USA based ex-athlete, Philemon Hanneck to secure scholarships for gifted Zimbabwean athletes to the US, where they get access to better facilities and advanced coaching.
He hopes the move to colleges and universities in the USA will give local athletes better opportunities to develop their careers and hopefully represent Zimbabwe at the Olympics as well as World Athletics Championships in future.