INDIANAPOLIS - Senior Christy Cazzola of UW-Oshkosh has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after winning the NCAA Division III 6 Cross Country Championships 6 km in 20:53.
After finishing as the runner-up at last year’s national championships and fourth in 2010, Cazzola (Kaukauna, Wisc.) was able to win her first cross country title. Cazzola now owns five NCAA Division III national titles.
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With 500 meters to go Cazzola was in second place behind Amherst College’s Keri Lambert, but Cazzola was able to close the gap and run past Lambert. Cazzola opened up a lead of 15 seconds over second place Alison Steinbrunner (Ohio Northern) and another 5 seconds over Lambert, who finished third.
“It meant so much for me to win a cross country title,” Cazzola said. “It was so different than track championships, especially for me coming from the middle distances to win a 6 kilometer race. It was a huge accomplishment.”
Cazzola is a 27-year-old mother of two who was a standout athlete in high school before deciding to take time off before enrolling in college and resuming her running career.
“I have so many more responsibilities as a mom of two, a student, and working some of the time,” Cazzola said. “It can be a little overwhelming at times, but it is worth it.”
Now in its 11th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2012 Winners: January 5, Landon Peacock; January 11, Kirubel Erassa; January 18, Shalane Flanagan; January 26, John Nunn; February 1, Gunnar Nixon; February 8, Jenn Suhr; February 14, Jillian-Camarena Williams; February 22, Brycen Spratling; February 28, Chaunte Lowe; March 7, Eric Broadbent; March 14, Ashton Eaton; March 21, Jeanne Daprano; March 27, Wallace Spearmon; April 3, Trevor Barron; April 9, Kevin Castille; April 18, Brittney Reese; April 25, Amy Sproston; May 2, Leo Manzano; May 9, Stephanie Brown-Trafton; May 16, Allyson Felix; May 23, Nick Hartle; May 30, Kimberlyn Duncan; June 6, Jessica Cosby and Meghan Vogel; June 13, Jesse Williams; June 20, Shelby Ashe; June 27, Ashton Eaton; July 4, Allyson Felix; July 12, Christian Cantwell; July 18, Gunnar Nixon; July 25 Evan Jager; August 1, Denzel Harper; August 15, Allyson Felix; August 23, Reese Hoffa; August 29, Carmelita Jeter; September 5, Matt Tegenkamp; September 12, Aries Merritt; September 19, Ben True; September 26, Willie Banks; October 3, Jan Holmquist; October 10, Dathan Ritzenhein; October 17, Alana Hadley; October 22, Sarah Baxter; October 31, Laura Hollander; November 7, Cody Moat; November 14, Neely Spence; November 21,Christy Cazzola