Sophomore Alexis Zeis of the University of Mary was named the cross country nominee for the Class of 2016 Division II Honda Athlete of the Year as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
She is now designated one of 11 finalists for the prestigious DII Honda Athlete of the Year honor. This will be voted on at the end of the academic year by national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of THE CWSA program, now in its 40th year.
“I am honored to be nominated for this award, especially for cross country and to be representing University of Mary,“ stated Zeis. “The will to become a national champion was from the hard work, sacrifices and dedication I gave to this sport. With the support from family, friends, teammates and coaches it was even more special.”
Zeis captured the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championship by .3 seconds in one of the closest finishes in NCAA history. Hailing from Bismarck, N.D., she placed 21st last year as a freshman and defeated the defending national champion in a final sprint to the finish line. She won all five of her races this season, including a conference and regional championship.
Most recently, she was named the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Year for the NCAA Division II cross country season. She is the second U-Mary student-athlete to win the national championship in the past three years.
“Lexi is the model for what we develop at the University of Mary,” said head coach Dennis Newell. “She pursues excellence in all aspects of her life within a balanced value system. We could not be prouder of Lexi for her efforts and ability to excel at such a high level.”
All sports nominees from DII and DIII become a finalist for the prestigious 2016 Honda Collegiate Athlete of the Year in their respective divisions, presented on a live telecast on June 27, 2016, in the Founders’ Room at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California in downtown Los, Angeles.
The sports nominees are recognized in 11 DII and DIII NCAA-sanctioned sports; cross country, basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, and track & field.
The CWSA, celebrating its 40th year, has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship thirty years ago in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.0 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.