Just a few days removed from winning the individual title at the NCAA Division III Championship, UW-Oshkosh's Christy Cazzola (Sr. • Kaukauna) was selected as the National Female Athlete of the Year for the 2012 women's cross country season by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Cazzola became the third UW-Oshkosh athlete to win a national cross country title when she raced to victory at the NCAA Division III Championship held Nov. 17 in Terre Haute, Ind. Cazzola posted a 6,000-meter time of 20:53 to outdistance Ohio Northern University's Alison Steinbrunner by 15 seconds. It was the third All-America award for Cazzola, who also finished second in the nation a year ago and fourth in 2010.
Earlier this year, Cazzola successfully defended her NCAA Division III Midwest Regional title while winning her third straight WIAC championship. She also finished second at the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind.
In her last 10 races, Cazzola won six times and finished second in the other four. She competed against 2,431 women in those races and lost to just four of them, including Agnes Kemboi of NCAA Division I Texas Christian University at the Notre Dame Invitational.
Cazzola carries a 3.29 grade-point average as a major in special education. The four-time NCAA Division III track and field champion was a member of last year's College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America team.
Tim Nelson of UW-Stout was named the NCAA Division III National Male Athlete of the Year.