Schaaf Named A Finalist For The Honda Award

Nov. 24, 2009

Runner-Up Finish For Schaaf Leads UW To 3rd At NCAAs

Fresh off her second-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, Husky sophomore Kendra Schaaf was named a finalist for the Honda Award, it was announced today by the Collegiate Women's Sports Awards committee. Schaaf is one of four Division-I women up for the honor, given annually to the top student-athlete in the sport.

The winner will be decided by nationwide voting among NCAA member schools and will receive the Honda Sports Award for cross country and become a nominee for The Honda-Broderick Cup awarded annually to the nation's outstanding collegiate woman athlete of the year. In addition to the honor of this selection, American Honda will donate $1,000 to the women's athletic fund of each nominee's university. The winner's program will receive $5,000.

Now in its 34th year, the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program recognizes annually the top woman collegiate athlete in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, each of whom receives the Honda Sports Award. In addition, the program honors the top women collegiate athletes representing Division II and Division III schools each year, as well as the recipient of the Honda Inspiration Award.

A native of Craven, Saskatchewan, Schaaf and Angela Bizzarri of Illinois surpassed Florida State's Susan Kuijken, one of the pre-race favorites, before the final straightaway at Monday's NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana. The two battled to the finish but Bizzarri pulled away at the end to win by 4.8 seconds with Schaaf taking runner-up honors. It was the greatest finish by a Husky since 1982, when Regina Joyce was also the national runner-up. Schaaf improved upon her 12th-place finish as a freshman, and led the Huskies to third in the team race.

In six meets this year, Schaaf crossed the line first at three and was second in the other three. She opened the year with a meet-record win at the Sundodger Invitational, then won again at the Notre Dame Invitational. At the Pre-National Meet, Schaaf placed second behind Bizzarri. She owned a large lead at Pac-10s, but a perceived injury slowed her down and led to a runner-up finish. Schaaf rebounded at West Regionals, cruising to an 11-second victory in her first run at the Regional meet. She then earned her second-consecutive All-America honors with the second-place finish at NCAAs.

Schaaf is the first Husky nominated for the Honda Award in cross country since Joyce in 1982-83. She is now one of 11 Husky women nominated in their respective sports all-time, with 14 nominations combined. The awards were first given in the 1976-77 season. Only two Huskies have ever won the Honda Award for their sport: Courtney Thompson for volleyball in 2005-06, and Danielle Lawrie last season for softball.

To determine the Honda Sports Award winners in each of the 12 sports, ballots are distributed during the year to senior women's sports administrators at all NCAA-member schools. The winner will be announced December 4.

2009-2010 Cross Country Honda Sports Award Nominees:
Angela Bizzarri University of Illinois
Kendra Schaaf University of Washington
Susan Kuijken Florida State University
Catherine White University of Virginia

Washington's All-Time Honda Award Nominees
Regina Joyce, Cross Country, 1982-83
Yumi Mordre, Gymnastics, 1986-87
Melinda Beckenhauer, Volleyball, 1989-90
Heather Meyer, Softball, 1995-96
Sara Pickering, Softball, 1996-97
Kristina Kraszewski, Tennis, 1999-2000
Jennifer Spediacci, Softball, 1999-2000
Kristen Rivera, Softball, 2002-03
Kristen Rivera, Softball, 2003-04
Kristen Rivera, Softball, 2004-05
Courtney Thompson, Volleyball, 2005-06 - Winner
Courtney Thompson, Volleyball, 2006-07
Danielle Lawrie, Softball, 2008-09 -- Winner
Kendra Schaaf, Cross Country, 2009-10

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