Dec. 5, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior cross country standout Stephanie Madia (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny HS) has been chosen as one of four finalists for the 2005-06 Honda Sports Award in cross country, it was announced Monday by the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards. The honor is presented annually to the nation’s top women’s cross country runner, with the recipient also becoming a nominee for the Honda-Broderick Cup, awarded each year to the nation’s outstanding female student-athlete of the year, regardless of sport.
Joining Madia (pronounced muh-DEE-uh) on this year’s Honda Award cross country ballot are Caroline Bierbaum of Columbia, Victoria Mitchell of Butler, and Johanna Nilsson of Northern Arizona. Nilsson won the individual title at last month’s NCAA Championships, while Bierbaum, Madia and Mitchell finished second through fourth, respectively. The latter three runners all were separated by less than five seconds.
Voting for the Honda Sports Award in cross country will take place this week, with selections made by senior woman administrators at all NCAA member schools. In addition to having a student-athlete on the Honda Sports Award ballot, each school with a finalist will receive a $1,000 fonation to its women’s athletic fund, courtesy of American Honda. The winner’s program will receive a $5,000 award.
Madia’s third-place finish at the NCAA Championships, matching the best-ever by a Notre Dame female runner, capped off a stellar senior season that saw the three-time Irish captain place sixth or higher in all five races she ran, including four top-three finishes. She earned her second All-America honor at the NCAA Championships, becoming one of only five two-time All-America honorees in the program’s history, as Notre Dame wound up seventh in the team standings for its fourth consecutive top-10 NCAA finish.
“Stephanie is very deserving of such an honor,” Irish head women’s cross country coach Tim Connelly said. “She has worked incredibly hard in her schoolwork and running during her Notre Dame career, and has made significant improvements each year, culminating in this season’s finish at the NCAA Championships. In addition to the great contributions which she has made on the cross country course, Stephanie has been a tremendous leader for our team. She has been selected a team captain by her teammates for her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, and she has taken that leadership role very seriously. The fact that our team has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships each of her four seasons speaks volumes of her tremendous leadership.”
In other Irish women’s cross country news, sophomore Sunni Olding (Minster, Ohio/Minster HS) has been awarded All-America honors for the second time in as many seasons after her 34th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Olding joins departing senior Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y./Elmira HS) as the only Notre Dame women’s cross country runners ever to earn All-America citations in each of their first two years at the school.
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