West Texas A&M senior track star Fatim Affessi has won program record five individual NCAA Division II national championships. [Trevor Fleeman/ WT athletics]In the history of West Texas A&M athletics there’s not a more decorated individual than track star Fatim Affessi.
With that said, Affessi will go down as arguably the greatest athlete in school history for her accomplishments over the past four years.
What she’s done is unprecedented.
Afessi is a five-time NCAA Division II national champion, a three-time long jump national title winner, she’s been recognized six times as either a national or Lone Star Conference Field Athlete of the Year, but what’s most important to her, is she’s a part of two national championships for the Lady Buffs 2017 outdoor team, and the 2018 indoor squad.
What’s heartbreaking, is the most recent news that swept the United States late last week. Affessi, on top of the 1,000’s of student-athletes across the country, learned that the NCAA cancelled all spring sports and championships due to COVD-19 concerns.
“We were getting set to compete at the National Indoor Track Meet in Alabama,” Affessi said. “It was very confusing. First they told us they wouldn’t have a banquet, then no fans would be watching us. Then they told us nationals was cancelled. We had been practicing everyday to prepare. It’s all so disappointing.”
Affessi was in the midst of a stellar senior season. Through the indoor portion of the schedule she dominated at every meet, winning the LSC long jump crown (42-5) for a third straight year, followed up by taking the conference triple jump championship (21-feet).
Affessi was named the LSC Indoor Track and Field Oustanding Female Athlete of the Year for a second straight year, destined to add more hardware to already stacked trophy case before the NCAA canceled all spring championships.
WT third-year track and field head coach Matt Stewart says, Affessi is a definite program changer, and the driving force behind the Lady Buffs success.
“Fatim has continued to put us on map with her performances and all of her accolades,” said Stewart, who was named the LSC Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year for a third consecutive season. “Her ambition to be the best has has helped us win two national championships. She’s been driving dorce to all we’ve accomplished. We’ve had a lot of good athletes, but no one is as decorated as her. I don’t know if we’ll ever have anyone like her ever again. She’s a complete jumper and sprint, the full package.”
Affessi is a 10-time NCAA Division II All-American over her four year career at West Texas A&M. [Trevor Fleeman/ WT athletics]
Affessi couldn’t do it without her coaches at WT, and credits them for who she is today. When she came to Canyon from Geneva, Switzerland — thanks to Athletes USA, who contacted the coaching staff to help find her a school — it was her first time experiencing the Texas Panhandle. Affessi says she’s became an adult because of WT, and cherishes every moment in the track program.
“It’s so hard to describe my feelings right now because this season ended so sudden,” said Affessi, who also won a national title as a part of the 1600 meter relay at the outdoor championships in 2017. “But WT gave me my chance when others wouldn’t. The coaches have been tremendous, and always took care of us. I love it here, and I couldn’t think of being anywhere else.”
Affessi’s jump coach, and WT assistant track coach Ryan Gibson has formed a close bond with his pupil. Gibson says Affessi’s tremendous talents means everything to the sport of track.
“It’s heartbreaking what she’s having to go through right now,” Gibson said. “Fatim competes at such a different level. What makes her great, is she’s an ambassador for the sport, and the represents the university so well.
“She’s established that culture of success and helped us win national titles. There aren’t many like her.”
Affessi is eligible for another senior season next year due to the recent NCAA cancellations.
WT athletic director Michael McBroom on Affessi.
”Fatim will stand as one of the very best to ever compete for WT, hands down. It has been magical to watch her jump, especially at the peak moments with a championship on the line. She belongs in the upper echelon of Buffs and Lady Buffs who proved themselves to be the among the elite in their eras, such as Joe Fortenberry, Mercury Morris, Maurice Cheeks, Sarah Butler and a few others, but not many. Every championship, every award, every accolade is a result of her relentless pursuit of perfection. Very few athletes have extraordinary talent with a relentless drive, but Fatim is one of those few. What a privilege for us to watch her compete wearing maroon and white.”
Affessi’s career resume at West Texas A&M
2020 LSC Women’s Most Outstanding Female Field Athlete of the Year
2019 UTSFCCCA Outdoor National Field Athlete of the Year
2019 Indoor National Field Athlete of the Year
2019 USTFCCCA South Central Region Female Field Athlete of the Year
2019 LSC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year
2019 LSC Championships Most Outstanding Women’s Field Athlete
First Lady Buff in program history to win two individual national championships. Affesi won the long jump and ran a leg on the 1600 meter relay in 2017.
Part of two West Texas A&M NCAA Division II national championships teams — 2017 outdoor national title, 2018 indoor national championship.
10-Time NCAA Division II All-American
10-time LSC champion in the triple and long jump
5-time individual NCAA Division II national
3-time Triple Jump NCAA Division II national champion