Illinois' Angela Bizzarri Voted Honda Award Winner in Cross Country

Dec. 9, 2009

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Senior and eight-time All-American Angela Bizzarri was named the winner of the 2010 Honda Sports Award in cross country, the Collegiate Women Sports Awards announced Wednesday. Bizzarri beat out Florida State senior Susan Kuijken, Washington sophomore Kendra Schaaf, and Virginia junior Catherine White in a national ballot among 1,000 NCAA member schools to capture the honor of the nation's top collegiate female athlete in cross country. Along with this award, the senior is now automatically nominated for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.

"It felt really special to be considered for the Honda Sports Award and to find out that I have won is such an honor," Bizzarri said. "When I learned more about this award, I noticed some of the names of women who had been honored by this program, like Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Mia Hamm. It's an amazing feeling to be included in the company of such recognizable athletes."

The 2009 cross country season was undoubtedly the best season yet for the senior during her illustrious college cross country career. Bizzarri stunned the nation by winning the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championship title in a school record breaking 6K time of 19:46.8 and was named the USTFCCCA National Cross Country Athlete of the Year. The Mason, Ohio, native also took the top spot at the NCAA Midwest Regional, after coming in second place for the previous three years. After that win, Bizzarri was honored as the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Athlete of the Year.

At the Big Ten Championships, she had the highest showing of her career at the meet, finishing in second place. She garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors for the fourth year in a row, which made her the first Illini in school history to do so. Bizzarri also claimed first place at the Pre-National Invitational by beating out 246 other runners with an impressive 6K time of 20:27.

The other Honda award winners will be chosen from basketball, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, and track & field. These winners will be announced in the coming months. All of the NCAA-member institutions will vote to determine the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the winner will receive the Honda-Broderick Cup in Los Angeles in June, 2010.