Award History

USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Announced

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has announced the latest inductees into the NCAA Division III Athlete Hall of Fame.

SEE MORE: USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame

The following former student-athletes will be honored for their outstanding performances and contributions to the sport: Ryan Bak of Trinity College, Elizabeth (Woodworth) Kujawa of UW-Oshkosh, Uzoma Orji of MIT, Kym Orr of SUNY Fredonia, Healy Thompson of Williams and Nancy (Cisar) Nelson of Central (Iowa).

Ryan Bak

Ryan Bak won three individual national championships and earned ten All-America honors during his legendary career. Two of Bak’s NCAA titles came indoors, where he won the 1500 meters in 2002 and the 5000 meters in 2003. His other podium-topping effort was at the 2002 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, where he trumped a talented field by seven seconds. Bak was named USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Year twice and USTFCCCA Regional Athlete of the Year once.

Kym Orr

Kym Orr raised the bar so high for NCAA Division III high jumpers that very few athletes have been able to reach it nearly four decades later. He set two NCAA DIII records as a senior in 1985: his first came indoors when he topped 2.21m (7-3) at the Fredonia State Early Season Open in January; then, he cleared 2.24m (7-4¼) at the SUNYAC Outdoor Championships for a still-standing division best. Between those feats, Orr made history when he won the first men’s high jump title ever awarded at the NCAA DIII Indoor Championships.

Healy Thompson

Healy Thompson won a total of five individual national championships and earned All-America honors a remarkable 14 times. All five of Thompson’s national titles came in the shot put, including three indoors. Thompson made a lasting impact on the NCAA Division III record book at the 2003 Indoor Championships when she demolished the all-time division best with her winning heave of 15.51m (50-10¾). Her prowess wasn’t limited to the shot put, as she finished top-8 three times in both the hammer throw and weight throw.

Elizabeth Woodworth

Elizabeth (Woodworth) Kujawa is one of the most decorated student-athletes in NCAA Division III history. She won an astounding nine national championships in track & field, including three consecutive indoor and outdoor 800-meter run titles from 2002 to 2004 to become the only athlete in NCAA DIII history to accomplish that feat. Kujawa was dominant in 800-meter victory at the NCAA Championships, setting five facility records and winning by an average margin of 2.75 seconds. She ended her collegiate career as the NCAA DIII record-holder in the outdoor 800 with her 2:06.49 effort from the 2004 Drake Relays. Kujawa also stood out in cross country, finishing individual national runner-up twice in 2003 and 2004.

Nancy Cisar

Nancy (Cisar) Nelson was a dynamic sprinter, winning four individual NCAA titles and becoming the first athlete to sweep the 200-meter and 400-meter crowns at the same Outdoor Championships in 1984. In addition to individual success, which also included eight more All-America honors, Nelson was a member of Central’s title-winning 4×100 relay squads in 1982 and 1983. Nelson’s feats beget team success, too, as the Dutch finished on the podium in three consecutive years from 1982 to 1984, highlighted by a national title in 1982.

Uzoma Orji

Uzoma Orji won four individual national championships and collected 12 All-American honors during his illustrious career. He left his biggest mark in the weight throw at the 2005 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, when he set a division record of 19.74m (64-9¼) in a winning effort. Orji swept the NCAA shot put titles in 2006 and posted runner-up finishes in the hammer throw and weight throw that year as well. He was a two-time USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Year and four-time USTFCCCA Regional Athlete of the Year.