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The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) has named UW Oshkosh’s Ayla Mitchell, a senior from New Richmond, as its 2009 Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women’s cross country.

Mitchell captured the individual title as UW Oshkosh finished third at the WIAC Women’s Cross Country Championship Oct. 31 in Whitewater. She finished first at the meet in 2007 and second in 2008.

With her latest victory, Mitchell becomes the fifth UW Oshkosh runner to claim multiple WIAC titles. She joins three-time champion Tiffany (Speckman) Ebensperger (1994, 1996-97) and two-time winners Laura Horejs (1990-91), Cheryl Niederberger (1987-88) and Liz Woodworth (2003-04).

Mitchell, who placed third in 2008 and 13th in 2007 at the NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country Championship, was named the 2008 NCAA Division III Midwest Region Cross Country Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Mitchell, an elementary education major, has a 3.90 cumulative grade point average. She was named to the 2009 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field Third Team and is a two-time member of the USTFCCCA’s All-Academic Team.

She has been named to UW Oshkosh’s Dean’s List several semesters and the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll twice since transferring from the University of Minnesota after her freshman year. She also has volunteered in area elementary schools and assisted with numerous community distance running events.

Mitchell becomes the ninth person in UW Oshkosh history to receive the WIAC’s Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in the sport of women’s cross country. Previous UW Oshkosh winners were Joan Handziak (1982), Niederberger (1988), Marina Colby (1989), Melissa Langlois (1991), Nicole Iverson (1996), (Speckman) Ebensperger (1997), Sara Holewinski (2001) and Woodworth (2004).

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