Zerzan Among Final 30 Nominees for NCAA Woman of the Year

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- Former Willamette University cross country and track and field standout Sarah Zerzan has been chosen as one of the top 30 honorees for the 18th annual NCAA Woman of the Year Award. A committee of representatives from NCAA member schools named the final 30 honorees from an original field of 130 conference selections.

The Woman of the Year Award recognizes outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled academically and athletically in addition to demonstrating strong community service and leadership. To be eligible, a female student-athlete had to earn a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport. She also had to compete during the 2007-08 academic year. In addition, each nominee had to complete intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2008 spring season and had to earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Zerzan achieved a 3.94 cumulative grade point average while earning a degree in Chemistry (biochemistry track). She graduated from Willamette in the spring of 2008.

In cross country, she won back-to-back NCAA Division III individual national championship in 2006 and 2007. She helped Willamette to a ninth place finish in the team standings at the NCAA National Championships in 2007. Zerzan also won three NCAA West Regional titles (2005, 2006, 2007) and two Northwest Conference championships (2006, 2007).

As a result of her success, 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 during the same two seasons. Zerzan earned All-America honors three times in cross country.

In track and field, Zerzan won Northwest Conference individual titles in the 1,500-meter run in 2007 and the 10,000-meter run in 2008. She placed second in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 2007.

Injuries limited her participation during her senior season, but she still recorded an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 37:37.35 in the 10,000-meter run during the NWC Championships. This performance aided the Bearcats in winning their seventh consecutive NWC women’s team title. She was named NCAA Division III West Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year in 2007 and earned All-America honors once in track and field.

Zerzan has accumulated several distinguished awards as a result of her efforts at Willamette. She was named Honda NCAA Division III Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year for 2007-08 after being nominated for the award for the second year in a row. 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 named to First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America twice. In addition, she accepted the Jean Williams Award this spring as Willamette’s top senior female student-athlete based on leadership, scholarship, and athletic success.

The field of 30 honorees for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award will be narrowed to the top nine finalists -- three from each division -- in early October. A national winner from among the nine finalists will be announced during the awards dinner on Oct. 19 in Indianapolis.

Sarah Zerzan, who won two NCAA cross country titles, is one of 30 finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Sarah Zerzan, who won two NCAA cross country titles, is one of 30 finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Sarah Zerzan was named All-America three times in cross country and once in track and field.

Sarah Zerzan was named All-America three times in cross country and once in track and field.