Feb. 19, 2009
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - For the fourth-consecutive year, the Navy women's track program has produced one of the conference's most well-rounded student-athletes as junior Erica Ziel (Saginaw, Mich.) was named the Patriot League Women's Indoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the league office announced Thursday.
Ziel, who earlier this fall became the first Navy women's cross country runner to earn the scholar-athlete-of-the-year distinction, collects the honor thanks to her contributions as one of the Mids' top distance runners and her 3.81 cumulative GPA as an oceanography major.
She is just the third Navy track athlete to be awarded the league's scholar-athlete-of-the-year laurel, joining recent graduates Kirsten Andrews '07 and Vicki Moore '08, who claimed both the indoor and outdoor scholar-athlete of the year nods during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, respectively. Andrews was also tabbed as the Patriot League's outdoor honoree during her junior season in 2006.
The Saginaw, Mich. native ranks 22nd in her class of 1,000-plus midshipmen in Overall Order of Merit, stands seventh in Millitary Order of Merit and has earned mention on both the Commandant's and Superintendent's Lists in each of her five semesters on the Yard.
This winter, Ziel has produced five top-five performances, including a pair of runner-up finishes, while competing primarily in the 3,000m and 5,000m races. She owns the second-fastest 5K time in the Patriot League this season with her ECAC-qualifying 17:21.83 clocking attained on December 2 (Navy junior Amy Watson's 17:08.28 ranks No. 1).
She was also an important contributor in the Mids' Star Meet victory over Army on February 7, earning runner-up honors in the 3K race with the conference's fourth-best 3K time.
Ziel and the Mids' talented corps of distance runners will look to score big this weekend as Navy hosts the 2009 Patriot League Indoor Track & Field Championships. The three-day women's championship kicks off on Friday at 12:15 pm with the pentathlon competition.
To be eligible for the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average and be a starter or key player in his/her sport. Freshmen are not eligible for this honor.
The Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year for each individual sport comprises the pool of nominees for the Patriot League Male and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards given out over the summer. One male and one female are selected for this honor.
### GO NAVY! ###