By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SALEM, Ore. -- Taylor Ostrander (Sr., Kenai, AK/Kenai Central HS), who has particiapted in cross country and track and field all four seasons at Willamette University, has been selected as the winner of the Jean Williams Award for 2015-16 as the top women's senior student-athlete. She received the award during the annual Athletics Awards Night on Monday, May 2 at Cone Field House.
The Williams Award is presented annually by the Athletics Department to a graduating senior female student-athlete who has developed and demonstrated strong leadership skills and outstanding athleticism, while maintaining a high rank of scholarship during her collegiate career.
Ostrander ranks ninth in NCAA Division III in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:53.52 and is 31st in the nation in the 10,000-meter run. She won the NWC championship in the 5,000-meter run for the third consecutive season with a time of 17:32.92 and is ranked 46th in the nation. She won the NWC title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2014.
She is on track to become just the third Willamette student-athlete to qualify for eight NCAA championships in a career with four in cross country and four in track and field. The others are Nick Symmonds ('06) and Michaela Freeby ('15).
On Willamette's all-time track and field lists, Ostrander is third in the steeplechase (10:40.86), fifth in the 10,000 (37:00.02) and sixth in the 5,000 (17:13.53).
In cross country, she earned All-America honors in 2015 by placing 26th at the NCAA Championship, while helping WU place 10th in the team standings. Willamette was 12th in the nation in 2013 and finished 15th in 2014.
Ostrander won the NWC individual cross country title and was named NWC Women's Runner of the Year in 2014. She helped Willamette win the NWC cross country team title in 2013 and 2014, as well as the NCAA West Regional title in 2014 and 2015. She is ranked sixth all-time for the Bearcats in the 6-kilometer race at 21:33.95.
Community service for Ostrander includes working as a biomechanics instructor at Awesome Academic Adventures in the summer of 2015. She has volunteered at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank (2011-13) and at the Secor Park restoration project (2013). She volunteered with the Tracy Hoffman Run for Leukemia in 2014 and 2015. She volunteered and competed in the Salmon Run Race Series in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Ostrander, an Exercise Science major, is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She was named First Team Capital One Academic All-District VIII in 2013-14 and 2014-15. She has received All-Academic honors from the USTFCCCA seven times in cross country and track and field.
Additional Honors and Awards
All 69 of Willamette's senior student-athletes were honored during the Athletics Awards Night. Athletes with four full seasons on an intercollegiate team received the traditional Willamette blanket by Pendleton. Students with less than four seasons on a team received a framed Willamette letter award.
The J.H. Booth Award, issued each year to the top men's senior student-athlete, went to Hans Lehndorff (Sr., Boulder, CO/Boulder HS), who has competed in football and track and field for four seasons with the Bearcats.
Kylea Johnson (Sr., Onalaska, WA/Onalaska HS), a sprinter on the Willamette women's track and field team, was named the Women's Senior Scholar-Athlete and Lehndorff was chosen as the Men's Senior Scholar-Athlete for having the highest cumulative grade point averages among the graduating seniors.
Former Willamette swimmer Dan James ('92) was chosen as the Alumnus of the Year. Long-time groundskeeper for football, track and field, and baseball Walt Bier was selected for the Sue J. Rausch Distinguished Service to Willamette Athletics Award. Dr. Jed Rembold, assistant professor of physics, received the Julie Abendroth, Ed. D., Professor of the Year Award.