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Newby, Osborne and Zelinskas Named to USTFCCCA All-Academic Team

July 6, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Ashley Osborne (left) and Piper Newby were both named to the USTFCCCA Women's Division I All-Academic Track and Field team for the first time.

Ashley Osborne (left) and Piper Newby were both named to the USTFCCCA Women's Division I All-Academic Track and Field team for the first time.

Liberty student-athletes Piper Newby, Ashley Osborne and Arlene Zelinskas have each earned inclusion on the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Women's Division I All-Academic Track and Field team.

Arizona State's Sarah Stevens and Wake Forest's Michelle Sikes won the 2007 Division I Indoor and Outdoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, respectively, highlighting the list of 415 honorees. To be eligible for inclusion on the team, athletes must carry a 3.25 GPA and obtain either an automatic or provisional qualifying mark for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships or an outdoor regional qualifying standard.

Newby (Jr., Hayden Lake, Idaho), a kinesiology major with a 3.44 cumulative GPA, earned her spot on the all-academic team by qualifying for the NCAA East Regional Championships in the steeplechase. She capped off a breakthrough season by running a personal-best and school-record time of 10:35.19 at the regional meet, placing 14th in the event.

The Big South steeplechase champion, Newby was a member of the Big South All-Academic team for cross country in 2006. She has also been included on the Big South Presidential Honor Roll on three occasions.

Osborne (So., Bristol, Va.), a nursing major, maintains a 3.85 GPA. She became the first Liberty female runner ever to dip under the 17-minute mark for 5,000 meters, doing so at Duke on April 6. Her best time of the year, a school-record 16:42.79 clocking at the Penn Relays, earned Osborne her first trip to the NCAA East Regional Championships.

Osborne played a key role in the Lady Flames' first Big South outdoor track and field team title since 2003, earning top-four finishes at 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters. The sophomore is a two-time Big South Presidential Honor Roll member.

Zelinskas (Sr., Dayton, Ohio), who graduated in May with a 3.96 GPA in biology, is part of the USTFCCCA All-Academic team for the second consecutive season. She previously became the fifth Academic All-American in the history of the Liberty women's track and field/cross country program, garnering second-team recognition.

On the track, Zelinskas helped Liberty capture the 2007 Big South Women's Outdoor Track Championship, contributing 38.5 points to the Lady Flames' first conference title since 2003. She holds numerous school and conference records, was a 15-time all-conference performer and won eight Big South event titles. Zelinskas capped off her Liberty career by competing in the high jump, 100-meter hurdles and 4 x 100 relay at the NCAA East Regional Championships. She also provisionally qualified for the national indoor meet with her Big South-record pentathlon score of 3,882.

Zelinskas captured a number of awards during her final campaign at Liberty. She was named Big South Conference Woman of the Year and was nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Zelinskas also received the 2007 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award, which is Liberty's highest athletics honor. The recent graduate, who made the Dean's List eight times at Liberty, merited a spot on the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Academic All-State team in both 2006 and 2007.

At the conference level, the Buckeye State native won a pair of Big South Outdoor Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year distinctions (2006 and 2007) and was twice recognized as the Big South Indoor Track & Field Women's Outstanding Performer of the Year (2006 and 2007). She was a four-time member of the Big South All-Academic team and earned inclusion on the Big South Presidential Honor Roll in each of her four years at Liberty.