Zerzan Chosen NWC Runner of the Week for Third Time during 2006 season

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University women’s cross country runner Sarah Zerzan (Jr., San Carlos, CA/Notre Dame HS) earned her third Northwest Conference Women’s Runner of the Week award after her dominating performance at the Mike Hodges Invitational, hosted by Clackamas Community College on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Zerzan claimed first place in a race that featured two NCAA Division I teams, and her first place finish helped lead the Willamette women to a second place finish in the team standings. Zerzan also was chosen NWC Women’s Runner of the Week on Sept. 11 and Oct. 2. Willamette competes in NCAA Division III.

Zerzan, who completed the 5-kilometer course in 16:25.11, won by 22.45 seconds over Dana Buchanan from the University of Oregon, who clocked in at 16:47.56. Oregon won the team title with a score of 24, while the Bearcats finished in second with 50 points, well ahead of the University of Washington in third place with 76 points.

Oregon and Washington are NCAA Division I teams and both have been ranked throughout the season in the Top 10 of the West Region Rankings. The Willamette women’s cross country team is currently #10 in the nation in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) rankings for NCAA Division III.

Competitors in the women’s race ran approximately 120 meters less than 5 kilometers due to an error by the meet staff. Zerzan’s time of 16:25.11 counts for the race, but will be converted to 16:49.33 for a new Willamette record for the women’s team at the 5-kilometer distance. Zerzan set the previous record at the Charles Bowles Invitational at Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem, Ore. on Sept. 30, 2006.

When Zerzan ran 17:11.0 at the Charles Bowles Invitational last month she set a new school record that dated back to 1985. The previous record of 17:29.0 was set more than 20 years ago by Kara Crisifulli.

Zerzan and the Bearcats will compete at the Beaver Classic hosted by Oregon State University on Saturday, Oct. 21 at Avery Park in Corvallis, Ore. The meet is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. (PDT).