NCAA Champs Sathre, Del Piccolo Earn National Athlete of the Year Titles

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

November 21, 2011   

NEW ORLEANS – For winning NCAA Division III championships last Saturday, Ben Sathre of St. Thomas (Minn.) and Chiara Del Piccolo of Williams earned USTFCCCA National Athletes of the Year for the 2011 cross country season.

NATIONAL MEN’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Ben Sathre, St. Thomas (Minn.)

A senior from Chaska, Minn., Sathre led the NCAA DIII national championship race for most of the eight-kilometer course with SUNY Geneseo’s Lee Berube close by. And, with a fast start, Sathre led by five seconds by the first mile split (4:34), and went on to win by five seconds over Berube for his first national cross country crown.

Sathre’s final time was 23:44.3, just two seconds off the meet-record time of 23:42.3 set in 1999 by Puget Sound’s Dave Davis.

He was the first from St. Thomas to win a men’s cross country national crown since Nicholas Manciu in 1982.

Earlier in the season, Sathre led wire-to-wire and garnered a 20-second win in the NCAA Central Regional for his second-straight region title. Sathre also won the MIAC title by more than 32 seconds.

Past National Men’s Athletes of the Year

2010: Anders Hulleberg, Haverford
2009: Ricky Flynn, Lynchburg
2008: Peter Kosgei, Hamilton
2007: Tyger Sigl, UW Platteville
2006: Macharia Yuot, Widener
2005: Neal Holtschulte, Williams



A sophomore from Basalt, Colo., Del Piccolo took the national crown in 20:52.1, five seconds ahead of nearest challenger Christy Cazzola of UW-Oshkosh. Del Piccolo was part of the led pack throughout the race, but only overtook the lead in the final 1000 meters.

The last athlete from Williams to win a national women’s cross country title was Jessica Caley in 1995.

Part of a four-meet winning streak, Piccolo also took the win at the NCAA New England Regional by 14 seconds. In addition, Del Piccolo won the NESCAC meet this fall.

Past National Women’s Athletes of the Year

2010: Wendy Pavlus, St. Lawrence
2009: Wendy Pavlus, St. Lawrence
2008: Marie Borner, Bethel (Minn.)
2007: Sarah Zerzan, Willamette
2006: Sarah Zerzan, Willamette
2005: Hailey Harren, Gustavus Adolphus


USTFCCCA 2011 National Award Winners, Division III, Cross Country

National Athlete of the Year: Ben Sathre, St. Thomas (Minn.)
National Coach of the Year: (announced Tuesday)

National Athlete of the Year: Chiara Del Piccolo, Williams
National Coach of the Year: (announced Tuesday)