Cazzola crowned athlete of the year
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 02:11
With a NCAA Division III Championship under her belt, Christy Cazzola was named the National Female Athlete of the Year by U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association for the women’s 2012 cross-country season.
Cazzola became the third UW Oshkosh athlete to win a national title by winning the 6,000-meter race by 15 seconds with a time of 20 minutes and 53 seconds after finishing second and fourth in previous years.
Cazzola said she was thankful for her award and the people that helped her become the best in D-III.
“It is an amazing honor and I am glad to have earned it,” Cazzola said. “I would contribute my success to all of the people who have believed in me and have supported me in my endeavors: My coaches, family, teammates, trainers, athletic directors and my friends. Lastly, I should include myself for not giving up and believing in myself to reach new competitive heights.”
In her last 10 races she finished first six times and was second in the rest, including running against many D-I athletes at the Notre Dame Invitational.
Head coach Andrew Ludtke couldn’t be more proud of Cazzola and the way she has been able to overcome obstacles in order to achieve what she has.
“She has had a busy schedule that kept her from getting in top shape,” Ludtke said. “She was working, raising two children, going to school full-time and trying to compete.”
Ludtke also said he believes having someone like Cazzola on the team helps develop younger athletes and gives them more purpose in school and running.
“Christy is a great person to have on the team,” Ludtke said. “She plays a special role in helping some of the younger athletes to have a focus on their lives. She can approach the younger athletes in a caring manner because of her experience in life.”
Cazzola works to challenge herself with the workouts when she is asked to run hard, so that makes it easy for the entire team to follow and see the work ethic from top upper-class athletes, including Mckenzie Kelly and Allie DeBaker.
Kelly said Cazzola has great work ethic and talent that collectively help her to be great.
“Christy has a few qualities that work together to make her successful,” Kelly said. “She is blessed with an amazing amount of talent, but it is also her ability to work hard and her competitive drive that allows her to put her talent to work.”
Despite all of Cazzola’s obligations and time constraints she maintains a 3.29 GPA in her major in special education while running to a D- III Championship.