Zerzan Selected for Prestigious NCAA Award

Sarah Zerzan, a runner on the Willamette University cross country and track and field teams, is one of the just eight senior student-athletes from the NCAA's overall membership to be selected to receive the NCAA Today's Top VIII Award for 2007.

Zerzan and seven other athletes were selected for the prestigious award for their athletic and academic achievements, plus character and leadership. The awards will be presented Jan. 13 at the NCAA Honors Celebration in Nashville, Tenn., as part of the annual NCAA Convention.

Zerzan (San Carlos, Calif./Notre Dame High School) is part of an exceptional group of individuals selected for the award. Previous winners include Peyton Manning (football, University of Tennessee, 1998), David Robinson (men's basketball, U.S. Naval Academy, 1988), Cheryl Miller (women's basketball, University of Southern California, 1987), Steve Young (football, Brigham Young University, 1984) and John Elway (football, Stanford University, 1983).

Zerzan won back-to-back NCAA Division III individual national championships in cross country in 2006 and 2007. She became only the third athlete to repeat as the women's champion in the 27-year history of the NCAA Division III National Championships. She helped Willamette place ninth in the team standings at the 2007 NCAA National Championships, while earning All-America honors for the third consecutive season.

In track and field, she took second place in the women's 5,000-meter run at the 2007 NCAA Division III National Championships. She was 11th in the 5,000-meter run at the 2006 National Championships. Last spring, she won the Northwest Conference title in the 1,500-meter run, helping Willamette claim the team title.

Zerzan was named NCAA Division III National Female Athlete of the Year in cross country in 2006 and 2007. She recently was selected as the nominee from cross country for the 2007-08 NCAA Division III Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Award. Zerzan also was the nominee from cross country for the Woman Athlete of the Year Award in 2006-07. Just 11 student-athletes are chosen as nominees each academic year.

Zerzan has a 3.93 cumulative grade point average and is majoring in biochemistry. She plans to attend medical school next year. In the summer of 2006, she studied abroad in Costa Rica, where she helped conduct ethnobiology field research through interviews with Costa Rican indigenous people.

She is a member of the steering committee for Willamette's chapter of the Student Global AIDS Campaign. She has volunteered at Waldo Middle School in the Russian-English bilingual mentorship program, she has served as a Spanish-English mentor at Richmond Elementary School, and she is member of the Chemistry Club.