Women's Cross Country

FEATURE: Fastest Woman in Amherst?

Redshirt junior Shiyi Zan.

Redshirt junior Shiyi Zan.

Oct. 8, 2009

From UMass Amherst Alumni Magazine

Cross-country team captain Shiyi Zan '11 was born in Beijing, moved to Japan at age 4, and then to Canada at 8. A red-shirt junior, she's a kinesiology major with close-to-perfect grades and plans for a medical career. Zan finished first for the Minutewomen in every meet last fall. Her coach, Julie LaFreniere '77, describes her as "a pretty intense individual who strives for perfection athletically and academically."

Started running: Sophomore year in high school; I was a competitive swimmer before that.

Why Amherst: Because I grew up in Ottawa, in a valley, this valley felt familiar. I was immediately at home here and felt comfortable with Coach LaFreniere.

Best distance: The 5000 meters. My time of 17:08 ranks fifth all-time at UMass Amherst.

Favorite conditions for racing: The worst weather possible! The colder and windier the better, because I know it throws a lot of runners off. I really don't mind mud flying around.

Favorite runs: Behind Amherst College and on the Robert Frost Trail.

Lucky talismans: This past season, our entire women's team dyed pieces of our hair maroon. I also wear a silver ring from my father and a jade necklace from my aunt and uncle.

Hobbies: Biking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, hiking, camping, and cooking, including baking birthday cakes for my friends.

Summer reading: The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, and articles about healthcare policy.

Running goals: Team goal: to place in the top five of the Atlantic 10. Personal goal: to qualify for the national championships.

Message for alumni: Please come out to our home cross-country meet on September 19. I got so excited seeing all the alumni show up at the event last year that I ran fast enough to win, so hopefully I will be able to do the same this year!




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