Delaware, Ohio – Gustavus Adolphus junior track and field athlete Elizabeth Weiers (Le Center, Minn.) has been named the recipient of the Elite 89 award for the 2014 NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships. Weiers, who majors in english, currently carries a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average. She was presented with the award during the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Banquet held on Wednesday, May 21 at the Gordon Field House on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University.
The Elite 89, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships.
A standout hammer throw specialist for Head Coach Dale Bahr, Elizabeth Weiers earned a trip to the NCAA Championships after putting together the best spring season of her collegiate career. Weiers highlighted the Gustavus women’s track and field team’s MIAC Championships by earning gold in the hammer with her best toss of the season. With a toss of 168-feet 7-inches, she became Gustavus’s first MIAC champion in the hammer throw since Tona Schmidtke won the title in 2001. She achieved the top spot on the podium against her conference opponents in record-breaking fashion, topping her own school-record of 166-feet 10-inches set earlier in the year at the Carleton Relays on April 19.
“Liz has an unbelievable work ethic,” mentioned Bahr. “She does what it takes to be her best every time out. In fact, we have yet to see anything but her best. That is just the way she works, getting better every time, and she applies that concept to everything she does, which is the reason why she has earned this award. Her dedication and expectations of herself are incredible, and we could not be more proud of what Liz has accomplished.”
Outside the hammer throw cage, Weiers is the archetype NCAA Division III student-athlete.
“Elizabeth is one of the strongest, steadiest, most reliable students/English Majors it has been my pleasure and privilege to teach and to advise,” said Elizabeth’s academic adviser, Deborah Downs-Miers, an Associate Professor in English and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. “Her academic work is always as significant as it is interesting, for she is drawn to studies which illumine significant issues while being astute readings of texts. This academic perspective is completely consistent with Elizabeth’s constant drive to push herself, to do more. Never resting on her many and well-deserved laurels, Elizabeth chooses to do things like study abroad in China, studying Chinese in order to expedite that choice, which was not a requirement–it was simply the most appropriate path, in relation to living in the Chinese culture. Elizabeth chooses that which she deems important and then ensures she will be able to engage as fully and effectively as possible: she lives to the fullest the examined life, and uses her experiences wisely to benefit all she encounters.”
At Gustavus, courses in the Department of English seek to acquaint the student with historical and current developments in language and literature, to foster a sense of literary values, and to develop the student’s competence as a writer. According to chair and associate professor, Rebecca Fremo, on the department’s website, “One of the terms that we use in literary studies is in medias res, a term that literally means ‘in the midst of things.’ We apply the term to narratives that open in the middle of the action. Details about the time before we enter the narrative get filled in over the course of the text through flashbacks or dialogue as we listen to the narrator tell the story.”
Now in its fifth year of existence, Weiers becomes the fifth Gustavus student-athlete to receive an Elite 89 Award. Weiers follows in the footsteps of four women’s hockey players including Nara Higano (2010), Sarah Yungner (2011), and Marah Sobczak (2012), Carolyn Draayer (2013).
On Thursday, May 22, Weiers will compete in the hammer throw at the NCAA Championships for the first time in her career. She enters the competition ranked 19th with the throw she recorded at the MIAC Championships. The hammer throw will begin at 4:30 p.m. (EST) and is the first women’s throwing event of the weekend.
For more information on the Elite 89 award winners, log on to NCAA.com/elite89.
Video – Weiers accepts Elite 89 Award at NCAA Championships Banquet