UW-Oshkosh's Cazzola raises the bar
Cazzola brings home three national titles for Titans
NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- Wisconsin-Oshkosh junior Christy Cazzola has been rewriting the record books all season and the Division III NCAA championships at Al B. Carius Track turned out to be no different.
Cazzola finished the two-day meet with three national titles -- two individual and one relay.
On Friday, the Titans’ distance medley relay of McKenzie Kelly, Stephanie Jahn, Kylee Verhasselt and Cazzola dominated the competition, finishing in 11:32.24. They beat the previous meet record by almost two seconds and the facility record by 16.
On Saturday, Cazzola broke the facility record in the mile with a time of 4:48.11. Not long after that, she sprinted to a 16:15.58 in the 5,000 meter, which was almost a full minute faster than the previous facility record.
“All the hard work, all the dedication, all the sacrifice that goes into competing as an athlete, it’s always wonderful to see good things come out of that,” Cazzola said. “It’s always the best feeling when you run a great time or you’ve done something for your team that you need to do and so for me it just feels really good that I can contribute and see my hard work paying off.”
Cazzola currently holds the DIII records for the 800 meter (2:05.76) and the mile (4:43.13) and while remaining focused enough to post nation-leading times can be difficult for any student-athlete, this 27-year-old has a lot more on her plate than most, with a family, classes and athletics to keep up with.
“It’s not easy,” Cazzola said. “It’s all the supportive people I have in my life. I couldn’t do it without everybody that I have. It’s just like they are placed there perfectly and everything happens for a reason so I guess this is where I’m supposed to be and this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Initially, when she was looking at colleges, Cazzola wasn’t even sure if she wanted to start running track and field again.
“I wasn’t looking to run [in the beginning], I was just looking to go back to school and the location just worked out well for me from where I was living,” Cazzola said. “I was choosing between Oshkosh and Green Bay and with the idea of running in the back of my mind, Oshkosh was the better choice.”
After earning five indoor national titles, and now the 2013 national team title, it seems like Cazzola made the right choice.
“I think Christy has worked hard through her career…some of the successes are starting to pay off more for her and she’s happy and having fun,” co-head coach Drew Ludtke said. “It’s great to have Christy, but now we have a whole team working and that’s what’s really good, that’s what’s most rewarding.”