|Amherst's Hamill Wins NCAA Today's Top VIII Award|
Amherst's Hamill Wins NCAA Today's Top VIII Award
By Cate Smith '05, Acting Asst. Sports Information Director
In her collegiate career, Hamill racked up eight All-NESCAC tabs, 13 All-Region nods, and an astounding 18 All-America awards to go along with her five national crowns. She currently holds Amherst records for the indoor 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter, and the 10,000-meter in outdoor competition. In addition, she is a member of the record-holding distance medley relay teams for both indoor and outdoor track and field. In her time at Amherst, Hamill was honored with the Gordon B. Perry Memorial Award for scholarship and citizenship and at graduation in May 2005, when she received a B.A. in psychology, she shared the Howard Hill Mossman Trophy with soccer, squash and lacrosse standout Ashley Harmeling '05. The award is presented annually to the member of the senior class who has brought, during his or her four years, the greatest honor in athletics to the College. Amherst head cross country and track and field coach Erik Nedeau said, quite simply, Hamill is "by far the best woman I've coached, without a doubt."
The other honorees of this year's award are: Samantha Arsenault, University of Georgia (Swimming and Diving); Sarah Dance, Truman State University (Swimming and Diving); Nick Hartigan, Brown University (Football); DeMeco Ryans, University of Alabama (Football); Richelle Simpson, University of Nebraska (Gymnastics); Christine Sinclair, University of Portland (Soccer); Jamie Southern, Fresno State University (Softball).
Past recipients of the NCAA Today's Top VIII Award include sports greats Doug Flutie (Boston College '85), Cheryl Miller (USC '87), John Elway (Stanford University '83), Aly Wagner (Santa Clara University '03), Peyton Manning (University of Tennessee '98), Eli Manning (University of Mississippi '04), Rebecca Lobo (University of Connecticut '96), Drew Brees (Purdue University '01), Lisa Fernandez (UCLA '94), Steve Young (Brigham Young University '84), and Tiki Barber (University of Virginia '97).
A highly-touted high school recruit, Hamill burst onto the collegiate
running scene in her rookie season, finishing as Amherst's top-runner
in every cross-country meet but the season opener, and racked up All-NESCAC,
All-New England, All-Region, and All-America honors, leading the Jeffs
to a seventh-place showing at the national meet. Hamill began her indoor
track career in similar style, becoming the first Jeff woman to win an
Open New England Championship event when she notched a first-place finish
(among a field of Division I, II and III competitors) in the 3,000-meter
run. At the 2002 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships
at Ohio Northern University, Hamill took home her first of five career
national crowns, in the 5,000-meter race. The national title capped an
extraordinary rookie campaign, in which she shattered previous school
records in the 1,500-meter, 3,000-meter, 5,000-meter and 4x800-meter
relay events. The outdoor season brought more of the same, as Hamill
notched her third All-America nod and took third place in the 5,000 at
the NCAA Outdoor National Championships.
As a senior co-captain in 2004, Hamill continued her barrage on her collegiate running competition, taking third at the NESCAC Championships and fifth at both NCAA Regionals and Nationals. During the indoor season, she bested the field in the 3,000-meter at NCAA Regionals as well as the 5,000-meter at NESCACs, NCAA Regionals, and Open New Englands before earning her fourth career national title to complete the three-peat at indoor nationals at Illinois Wesleyan University. She was also named New England Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year by the NCAA at the Championships. In her final season, Hamill won the NESCAC and NCAA Division III Regional Championships in the 5,000-meter and took second in the same event at Open New Englands and Nationals, hosted by Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. She capped her prolific career as Amherst's most storied and decorated runner with her fifth national title in the 10,000. Her time of 34.00.43 bested her closest competitor by more than a minute, and appropriately, as Hamill's performances had done her entire career, shattered the stadium record and turned out the year's best time in Division III.
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