Senior Angela Bizzarri was named the Midwest Region Athlete of the Year, announced Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Nov. 18, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior Angela Bizzarri was named the Midwest Region Athlete of the Year, announced Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Bizzarri garnered the honors for her strong performances throughout the season, including her victory at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on Nov. 14.
Bizzarri took home the crown at the NCAA Midwest Regionals after finishing runner-up in each of the previous three seasons. The Mason, Ohio, native ran the 6K race in a season-best time of 20.07.5 and topped the nearest competitor by almost seven seconds. She is also the first Illini to tally top-10 finishes at the regional in all four seasons.
This season has been one of the strongest of Bizzarri's collegiate career. Along with winning the NCAA Midwest Regional title, she also took the top spot at the Pre-Nationals Invitational on Oct. 17, beating out 246 other runners in the White Race. At the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 1, the senior had the highest showing of her career at the conference meet by finishing in second place to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors for the fourth consecutive year.
The last and only other Illini to receive this honor was Cassie Hunt in the 2004 season. Hunt is also the only other Illini besides Bizzarri to win the NCAA Midwest Regional individual title.
Next up, Bizzarri will compete in the last cross country meet of her college career at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 23. The senior finished sixth at last year's championships, and looks to improve on that with a top-five finish this year.