Zerzan Repeats as First Team Academic All-America Selection

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University distance runner Sarah Zerzan (Sr., San Carlos, CA/Notre Dame HS) has been named First Team ESPN The Magazine College Division Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country Academic All-America for the second consecutive year, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). She was one of just 15 players chosen First Team All-America.

Zerzan, who competed in cross country and track and field for the Bearcats, graduated from Willamette this spring with a 3.94 cumulative grade point average. She majored in Chemistry (Biochemistry track).

She won back-to-back NCAA Division III individual national championships in cross country in 2006 and 2007. Her efforts this past fall also helped WU place ninth in the team standings at the NCAA National Championships. In track and field, she placed second in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 2007. She earned All-America honors three times in cross country and one time in track and field.

Her four-year career at Willamette led to several prestigious awards for her overall efforts. Earlier this year, she was one of just eight student-athletes from throughout the NCAA's three divisions to receive the NCAA Today's Top VIII Award. She was selected as the winner of the Honda NCAA Division III Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Award for 2007-08 and also was nominated for the award in 2006-07. She received the Jean Williams Award this spring as Willamette's top senior female student-athlete based on leadership, scholarship and athletic success.

Zerzan set six records at Willamette. In cross country, she achieved WU's best-ever times at 5 kilometers (16:49.4) and 6 kilometers (20:32.7). She earned records in track and field in the 1,500-meter run (4:31.52), the 3,000-meter run (9:39.01), the 5,000-meter run (16:28.54) and the 10,000-meter run (35:20.17).

As a cross country runner, Zerzan won three NCAA West Regional titles (2005, 2006, 2007) and two Northwest Conference championships (2006, 2007). She took first place at the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships in under wet and muddy conditions in West Chester, Ohio, with a time of 22:31. She won the 2007 NCAA title in 20:54 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

Zerzan was the NCAA Division III National Female Athlete of the Year in cross country in 2006 and 2007. She was chosen NCAA Division III West Region Athlete of the Year in cross country during the same two seasons.

She helped Willamette continue its championship winning streaks in cross country. The Bearcat women's team has now won six consecutive NWC titles and has claimed first place at the West Regional Meet five seasons in a row.

Zerzan won NWC individual track and field titles in the 1,500-meter run in 2007 and the 10,000-meter run in 2008. She was limited to only two competitions this spring due to injury, but recorded an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 37:37.35 in the 10,000 during the NWC Championships. She helped the Bearcats win the NWC women's team title for the seventh consecutive season.

She took second place in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Championships in 2007 and achieved an 11th place finish in 2006. She was named NCAA Division III West Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year in 2007.

The College Division includes players in NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and the NAIA. Willamette competes in NCAA Division III.

Athletes chosen for the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team were starters or key reserves with cumulative grade point averages of 3.2 or higher (4.0 scale). Each player was at her current college or university for at least one academic year.

Sarah Zerzan has been named First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America for the second year in a row.

Sarah Zerzan has been named First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America for the second year in a row.