Zerzan Wins Williams Award, Nebert Receives Booth Award, at WU Athletic Awards Night

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Sarah Zerzan and Lucas Nebert, who have competed in cross country and track and field throughout their Willamette University careers, received the top awards during the WU Athletic Awards Night on Sunday, April 27. The event was held at the Mission Mill Museum.

Zerzan won the Jean Williams Award, which goes to a senior female athlete who has shown exceptional leadership, scholarship and athletic success throughout her years at Willamette. Nebert was chosen as the winner of the J.H. Booth Award, which is presented each year to the senior male athlete who most exemplifies and demonstrates outstanding leadership, scholarship and athleticism

In cross country, Zerzan won back-to-back NCAA Division III individual national championships in 2006 and 2007. As a track and field runner, She placed second at the NCAA championships in the 5,000-meter run in 2007. She has been an All-America selection three times in cross country and once in track and field.

She achieved First Team All-Northwest Conference honors all four years in cross country, while winning three West Region individual championships and two NWC individual titles. She was named the NCAA Division III National Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year twice.

In track and field, she won the NWC championship in the 1,500-meter run in 2007 and took first place in the 10,000-meter run this spring. She was the West Region Women’s Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2007.

Zerzan, who is majoring in Chemistry (Biochemistry track), received the NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award, which goes to just eight student-athletes from throughout the NCAA’s three divisions. She has been selected for an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was one of three finalists for the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship. She was chosen as the Ad Rutschman Small College Women's Athlete of the Year as part of the Oregon Sports Awards in 2006.

WU cross country records held by Zerzan are 16.49.4 for 5 kilometers in 2006 and 20:32.7 for 6 kilometers, also in 2006. She is the Willamette track and field record holder in the 1,500-meter run (4:31.52 in 2007), 3,000-meter run (9:39.01 in 2007), 5,000-meter run (16:28.54 in 2007) and 10,000-meter run (35:20.17 in 2007).

She has been active in community service and is on the steering committee for Willamette’s chapter of the Student Global AIDS Campaign. She has been a Russian-English and Spanish-English mentor at area schools.

She was named First Team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America in 2006-07 in the combined category of cross country and track and field with a cumulative GPA of 3.93. She also has qualified for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team in cross country and track and field.

This year, she has been nominated for the second year in a row for the NCAA Division III Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Award. She has helped Willamette win four NWC team titles and four West Region team titles in cross country, plus four NWC team championships in track and field.

Nebert has earned All-Northwest Conference honors three times in track and field and two times in cross country. He has achieved All-West Region status twice in cross country. In track and field, he scored points for the Bearcats at the Northwest Conference Championships each of the past four seasons. He ranks ninth all-time at Willamette in the steeplechase with a time of 9:25.50 in 2006.

In 2006, he placed fourth in the NWC in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He finished second in the conference in the steeplechase in 2007 and was third in the steeplechase this spring.

He was a member of the Willamette’s men’s cross country teams that won NWC and NCAA West Region titles in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He helped the Bearcats win conference titles in men’s track and field in 2005 and 2006.

Academically, he has a 3.80 grade point average and is majoring in Biology and Chemistry. He has been selected as a 2008 recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. He also has been a Chemistry tutor at Willamette and has earned NWC All-Academic Awards in cross country and track and field all four years. He has been included on the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team two seasons in cross country.

Willamette also honored the seniors on its 20 intercollegiate teams during the Athletic Awards Night. The traditional Willamette blankets were distributed to four-year seniors, along with certificates for seniors who competed as Bearcats for only a portion of their collegiate careers. Approximately 80 seniors were recognized for contributions to Willamette Athletics.

Several special awards chosen by the Willamette coaching staff were presented. The Charles Bowles Coach of the Year Awards went to Head Coach Matt McGuirk (cross country, track and field) and to Assistant Coach Wally Wing (men's basketball). Sarah Kirk, an assistant professor of Chemistry at Willamette, was chosen Professor of the Year.

Alan Bushong, executive director of Capital Community Television (CCTV) in Salem, Ore., received the Community Service Award. WU alumnus Sam Lapray was selected for the Meritorious Alumni Award. Jim Tursi, who resigned as Willamette's head women's soccer coach at the end of the 2007 season, was recognized for his 15 years with the Bearcats.

Sarah Zerzan has won two NCAA Division III individual national championships in cross country. She also has been selected for an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Sarah Zerzan has won two NCAA Division III individual national championships in cross country. She also has been selected for an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Lucas Nebert has received a Fulbright Scholarship. In track and field, he scored points for the Bearcats at four NWC championship meets.

Lucas Nebert has received a Fulbright Scholarship. In track and field, he scored points for the Bearcats at four NWC championship meets.