2016 Athletes of the Year
Collegiate Running Association announces 2016 Athletes of the Year
(Richmond, VA) - Bethany Sachtleben (Stafford, VA / Northern Virginia Community College) and Hayden Hawks (St. George, UT / Southern Utah University) have been named the 2016 Collegiate Running Association Athletes of the Year.
“The Collegiate Running Association recognizes one male and one female athlete within our membership each year for their outstanding efforts. We are thrilled by the success we’ve seen throughout the past year by Collegiate Running Association members enrolled in college classes. Our membership and alumni list continues to grow,” said Steve Taylor, Co-Founder of the Collegiate Running Association. “Both Bethany and Hayden are amazing athletes and exceptional students. They are among the top collegians who serve as an example for other college students balancing training, work and academic pressures faced daily. Competitive, successful, and dedicated, they have a love of the sport and support its growth across the multiple disciplines the Collegiate Running Association promotes (road, mountain and trail running)."
2016 Female Athlete of the Year - Bethany Sachtleben
Sachtleben had an impressive year, winning the 2016 Collegiate Mountain Running National Championship in Lincoln, NH and placing 2nd in the Collegiate 10K Road Race National Championship in Richmond, VA.
In her first-ever mountain race, Sachtleben was crowned the Collegiate Running Association’s 2016 National Champion, earning $750 for her victory. The race also saw her earn a spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team for the 32nd World Mountain Running Championships (WMRC) held in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria, as she placed 2nd overall in the USATF Championship division of the race, which was held concurrently with the collegiate race. At the World Mountain Running Championship in September Sachtleben placed 18th and helped the USA team win the Bronze Medal.
The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K hosted the Collegiate 10k Road Race National Championship for the 3rd consecutive year in 2016. Sachtleben used negative splits of 17:36 for the opening 5K and 17:09 for the 2nd 5K to run 34:45 to claim 2nd place and the $1,000 runner-up prize for reserved for collegians.
As a student, Sachtleben earned a Bachelor’s in Finance from George Mason University in 2015, where she also qualified for the NCAA Championships and won multiple Atlantic 10 Conference titles. She is currently enrolled in graduate classes at Northern Virginia Community College where she is completing a degree in Accounting while serving as a volunteer coach for the George Mason University track & field and cross country programs. Sachtleben also served as a volunteer guest speaker for the Virginia 529 Kids Run prior to the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K.
“I am starting to really love the half marathon” said Sachtleben when asked about her favorite race distance. “I like that the training for a half marathon involves a lot of volume but also allows me to still incorporate some speedier workouts. The race itself is the perfect distance because you can settle in and really enjoy yourself for the first 6 or 7 miles before it's time to focus and start feeling the pain. By that time though, you're already over halfway finished so it's no big deal!”
When asked how she finds balance with a professional running career and graduate school, Sachtleben explained: “I wake up really early so I can fit everything in! I also have an awesome job with flexible hours which allows me to start early and get off early so I can train before the sun goes down and then study in the evenings.”
2016 Male Athlete of the Year - Hayden Hawks
While a senior at Southern Utah University last spring, Hawks ran 13:53 (5000M) and 29:29 (10,000M) on the track in April. He holds personal bests of of 13:51.72 (5000M) and 28:53.12 (10,000M), was the 2015 Big Sky Cross Country Champion, and earned NCAA DI All-America honors in cross country. In 2016, Hawks competed in fifteen (15) races and was involved in multiple community service works.
After completing his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Human Performance (Pre-Med), Hawks quickly became an international force on the mountain and trail running scene. His race schedule was highlighted with his 2nd place finish in the Collegiate Mountain Running National Championship and 4th place finish in the USATF Mountain Running Championships held concurrently within the Loon Mountain Race (Lincoln, NH). With his finish he also earned an automatic berth to the U.S. Mountain Running Team for the 32nd World Mountain Running Championships held in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Hawks placed 4th overall in the World Mountain Running Championships and helped the U.S. team to its first ever Gold Medal.
Hawks, who picked up sponsorships from HOKA ONE ONE, NATHAN Sports and BUFF, continues to give back to the running community. He founded the Cedar City Track Attack (Volunteer Youth Track and Field Team), served on Southern Utah University’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and was a member of the Rural Health Scholars and Dean’s List. Along with serving as manager at the St. George Running Center, Hawks is a volunteer cross country coach at Desert Hills High School, Church Youth Teacher in St. George, and does physical therapy volunteer work in Cedar City.
Hawks’ most memorable running experiences in 2016 included the World Mountain Running Championships and The North Face 50 Mile Endurance Challenge where he went head-to-head with famed ultra-marathon runner Zach Miller. “We both went far under the CR and battled it out the whole race”, stated Hawks. “It is considered one of the fastest debut 50 mile race efforts in history. I was very fortunate to be so fit and went out fighting.”
“I love the longer races,” said Hawks who is currently undefeated for the 50K distance and had one of the fastest debuts ever for 50 miles on trails. “I love running and therefore love running as long as I can, especially on trails. There is nothing better than enjoying new trails and trying to hammer them as hard as possible. I tend to do better in the longer events and my endurance level has always been a strength. I plan to have a long ultra-marathon and mountain running career.”
The difficult balance of athletics and academics is something any college student-athlete can relate to. The academic pressures mount and keeping perspective is an important part of daily planning for Hawks. “I travel and race a lot,” reflects Hawks. “It is sometimes hard to balance academics, work, and running but I feel like I do a pretty good job. I don’t watch a lot of TV and don’t spend time on pointless stuff. Time is always used to increase my knowledge, study, and get my work done. I have learned how to manage my time well and find joy in learning and working. I was able to average a 3.7 GPA throughout college while getting my medical school prerequisites done, being a team captain, doing a lot of service, running 130 miles a week, and numerous other activities. I feel very fortunate to have a wonderful wife who motivates me and helps me not procrastinate. I don’t let stress drag me down and embrace and feed off of it. I set goals and don’t stop until they are achieved. My wife, parents, brother, and faith help me more than anything though! I love life and all its challenges.”
Previous Collegiate Running Association Athletes of the Year
2016 Bethany Sachtleben (Northern Virginia College, VA)
Hayden Hawks (Southern Utah University, U)
2015 Kellyn Taylor (Coconino College, AZ)
Joseph Gray (Calvary Bible College, CO)
2014 Megan Deakins Roche (Stanford University, CA)
Tyler McCandless (Penn State University, PA)