Columbia, Mo. - Mizzou junior Karissa Schweizer was named the Honda Sport Award winner for cross country, announced by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) on Wednesday. Schweizer is now a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year, which will be awarded at the 2017 Honda Cup on June 26, 2017, in Los Angeles, Calif.
"I am extremely grateful to be recognized by Honda for this award," said Schweizer. "I am especially thankful for my team, my coaches and my family, who I could not have achieved success without."
"Karissa embodies what every parent, coach, faculty, alumni and citizen would want to see in a student-athlete," said Mizzou Track & Field Head Coach Brett Halter. "She is a tireless worker, but will always find time for those in need around her or in the community. We are thrilled for Karissa that Honda has honored her with this prestigious award, one that represents the very best of collegiate athletics."
In a season where Schweizer set and re-set personal-records in each race, Schweizer polished off her junior campaign with a NCAA Cross Country National Championship on Nov. 19, in Terre Haute, Ind. Schweizer stayed near the front of the pack through the first 5K of the race, then kicked into high-gear over the last 400 meters, passing numerous runners en route to her first National Championship. Schweizer finished the 6,000m race with a personal record time of 19:41.6.
With the victory, Schweizer became Mizzou's first female National Champion in cross country and the first in program history since Keith Bacon won the Men's National Title in 1955. Schweizer and junior Jamie Kempfer (Festus, Mo.), who finished 27th, earned All-America honors, marking the first time Mizzou has had an All-American since 2003 and the first time Mizzou has had a pair of All-Americans since 1984.
In six meets this season, Schweizer finished first in five races, winning at the Commodore Classic (Sept. 17), Chile Pepper Festival (Oct. 1), SEC Championships (Oct. 28), NCAA Midwest Regional (Nov. 11) and NCAA Championships (Nov. 19). The Tiger junior became the first individual conference champion in program history since 1997 and first regional champion since 2003. Following her success, Schweizer was named the SEC Women's Runner of the Year and NCAA Midwest Regional Women's Runner of the Year. Schweizer was the first in program history to be named conference athlete of the year and first since 2003 to be named regional athlete of the year.
The junior campaign has added to an already impressive resume as Schweizer was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2014 and earned All-America honors at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a third place finish in the 5,000m race.