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    Female Athlete of the Year Finalists Boast Impressive Resumes
    Megan Fudge, women's tennis

    Megan Fudge, women's tennis

    May 20, 2010

    The Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announces its finalists for 2010 Dike Eddleman Female Athlete of the Year. The six finalists were honored at the annual Scholar-Athlete Reception and the winner will be named in mid-June after all the spring seasons have been completed.

    Here are the 2010 Illinois Dike Eddleman Female Athlete of the Year finalists:
    Angela Bizzarri, cross country and track and field
    Laura DeBruler, volleyball
    Megan Fudge, tennis
    Sarah Schmidt, gymnastics
    Jenna Smith, basketball
    Danielle Zymkowitz, softball

    Angela Bizzarri has been a dominant runner on Illinois cross country and track and field Teams. In the 2009 cross country season, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, and the Honda Sports Award winner named her National Cross Country Athlete of the Year. She won the 2009 NCAA national title with a school-record time of 19:46; which was the first ever by an Illinois women's cross country runner. Bizzarri earned first-team All-Big Ten and All-American honors in all four cross country seasons, making her the first Illini in the school's history to do so. During her indoor track season, Bizzarri won the 3,000m Indoor NCAA title with another school record time of 8:57.40. She chalked Big Ten indoor titles in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters. She was earned All-America honors for the ninth time in her career and tied the school record in the mile with a time of 4:40.68. She added her third and fourth Big Ten titles of the year during the outdoor championships, winning the 1500 and 5,000 meters.

    Junior Laura DeBruler is also in the running for Female Athlete of the Year because of her superior performance on the volleyball court leading her team to the NCAA Tournament. She was first-team All-American, making her only the fourth Illini volleyball player to do so in the program's history. She was first team All-Region and named to four All-Tournament teams, including being named MVP of the State Farm Illini Classic and the Bluejay Invitational. Named first-team All-Big Ten, DeBruler was also twice named Big Ten Player of the Week. She ranked second in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation in kills (4.46 kills per set) and second in the conference and 14th in the nation in points (4.96 points per set). DeBruler set Illinois' all-time record for 20-kill matches with her 30th of her career after tallying 21 kills at Michigan State on October 2. She ranks fifth on Illinois' all-time kills list (1,668) and ninth on the all-time digs list (978).

    Megan Fudge led the Illini tennis team to its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and a third-place finish in the Big Ten. She finished the season 23-11, playing primarily at number two singles, and was ranked 85th nationally. In doubles she posted a 24-12 record while being ranked at 51st nationally. Fudge was a four-time All-Big Ten and a four-time team most valuable player. Demonstrating the importance of education she was a two-time ITA Scholar-Athlete and two-time Academic All-Big Ten. She ranks third in school history with 97 career single wins recorded three-straight 20-win seasons.

    Sarah Schmidt, a senior all-around competitor on the gymnastic team, qualified as an individual in the category for the NAA Championships. She was named first-team All-Big Ten as well as Academic All-Big Ten selection. Schmidt won the floor title at all six Big Ten duals and tied her own school record (9.950) on floor. She scored a career-best 39.425 in the all-around March 13, tying the fifth-best score in the school's history. She was second on team with 12 individual titles this season. She set or tied her career high on all four events and in the all-around during the 2010 season.

    Senior Jenna Smith left her mark on the Illini basketball team, departing as the school record holder in many categories. She was a three-time First Team All-Big Ten in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and was a finalist for WBCA All-America honors. Smith averaged 18.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. From the field she shot 50.1 percent, 88.4 percent from the free throw line, and 39.5 percent from the three-point range. She was ranked second in the nation in double-doubles, eighth in rebounding, and 10th in free throw percentage. She led the Big Ten in rebounding, free throw percentage, and minutes played. She is one of only seven players in the nation to average 18+ points and 10+ rebounds in 2009-2010. She broke several records this season including the Big Ten and Illinois single-season rebounding records with 387, the Illinois single-season records for blocked shots (70) and double-doubles with 21, and she finished off her Illinois career as the school's all-time leader in points with 2,160, rebounds (1,217), blocks (231), double-doubles (53), games started (121), and minutes played (4,561). Smith was a three-time Big Ten player of the week. She ranks second in Big Ten history in career rebounds, ninth in career blocks, and 10th in career points. Smith is one of only two players in Big Ten history to rank in the conference's career top-10 in points, rebounds, and blocks. She is also one of only four players in Big Ten history with 2,000+ points and 1,000+ rebounds in a career.

    Junior Danielle Zymkowitz, two-time captain of the softball team, has her Illini back in the NCAA Tournament this weekend in Missouri. The team's leading hitter, she ranks second the Big Ten and 21st in the NCAA with a season batting average of .421. Additionally, she ranks third in the Big Ten and 10th nationally in runs scored (55), leads the Big Ten in hits and third in bases stolen. To date she is eithth in the NCAA with 35 stolen bases. Along with her quickness, she is an excellent leadoff hitter for the Illini. She leads the Illini in hits (72), walks (20), and fewest strikeouts (13). This captain has led Illinois to the best season in school history and the team's first national ranking since 2004 and best record of 43-6 (tied for fewest losses in the country). Zymkowitz's career batting average of .374 ranks first in Illinois history. She also ranks second in Illinois history with 69 stolen bases.

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