For four years at Cal State San Bernardino, Tanya Zeferjahn of Hesperia was called the best cross country runner in the history of the Coyotes program.
Now, she can be called national champion.
This past Friday, Zeferjahn – competing for Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., — captured the NCAA Division II 10,000 meter championship with a time of 35:38.46, finishing four seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
Sarah Waple, director of sports information for Queens, said Zeferjahn was the 10th seed in the field of 18 runners.
“Zeferjahn ran an even pace with a pack of 12 through the first 5,000 meters. The pack then was paired down to five over the next 3000 meters. When Kimi Shank of Missouri-Southern pulled away with 800 meters to go, Zeferjahn responded to her move.
“It wasn’t until the bell lap with 400 meters remaining that Zeferjahn took control of the race with a surge that saw her quickly open up a two-second gap on Shank. Zeferjahn was then able to solidly secure her first NCAA national title with a closing 35-second 200 meter kick to win…” Shank was timed in 35:42.93. Tori Tyler and Alia Gray of Chico State finished fourth and sixth in the event respectively.
Zeferjahn also qualified in the 5,000 meters but elected not to run after her big win in the 10,000.
Zeferjahn was an all-American for the Coyotes in 2004, finishing among the top 30 runners as the first woman to reach the NCAA Division II cross country national championship meet since cross country begat at CSUSB in 1984.
She is a graduate student at Queens, working toward her master’s degree in business administration.
Last month at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, PA., Zeferjahn finished eighth in the 10,000 meters in 35:36.23, but more importantly, she eclipsed the NCAA Division II automatic qualifying standard for the national championship meet by 14 seconds (35.50).
Earlier this year, Zeferjahn won the Carolinas Conference 10,000 meter run to earn all-conference honors. She was also named the Southeast Region Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association.
Zeferjahn graduated from CSUSB in 2006 after setting team records at 5,000 meters (18:28.1) and 6,000 meters (21:59). She earned all-CCAA conference honors three times, NCAA all-West Region honors four times and was an NCAA all-American in 2004, finishing 28th in the national championship meet.
She was the CSUSB athletic department’s co-Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year twice, maintaining a 3.89 grade point average in business administration with an emphasis in environmental management. She was twice an ESPN-The Magazine/CoSIDA District 8 academic all-region first team selection in track/cross country and was an NCAA Division II Track& Cross Country Coaches Assn. scholastic all-American.
Zeferjahn is a 2002 graduate of Hesperia High School. Her parents are Randy and Debbie Zeferjahn