Stanford's Aisling Cuffe was named Pac-12 Women's Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year, as announced by the conference Thursday.
A biology major and a fifth-year senior, Cuffe carries a 3.54 cumulative GPA while assembling a collegiate career that is among the best in the country. Cuffe is a seven-time All-America, a two-time NCAA 5,000-meter runner-up and was the 2013 Pac-12 cross-country champion.
Cuffe is the first Cardinal to win the award since Arianna Lambie in 2007. Her All-Academic accolades include two each from the Pac-12 in cross country and outdoor track and field, and from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
In 2013, Cuffe was fourth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and followed with a superb track season that included a time of 15:11.13 in the 5,000 at the Payton Jordan Invitational, making her the third-fastest collegian of all-time, and culminated with a fourth-place finish in the 5,000 at the U.S. Championships.
An injury kept her out of action during the 2014-15 academic year, but Cuffe returned to action and won the Washington Invitational cross-country race in Seattle on Oct. 2.
Cuffe returns to the conference meet for the first time since her 2013 victory when she competes Friday at Colfax Golf Club in Eastern Washington.
Stanford freshman Grant Fisher will make his collegiate debut at the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships.
Fisher, only one of two high school runners in history to win two Foot Locker national championships and run a sub-4 mile, will be an intriguing addition to Stanford's lineup, which will be the strongest it has fielded this season.
Among the changes or additions expected to run for the No. 23 Cardinal men are fifth-year seniors and cross country All-Americas Jim and Joe Rosa. The twins have not raced together in a cross-country race since the 2012 NCAA Championships. Also in the lineup is Collin Leibold, a graduate transfer from Georgetown, who will make his Stanford debut.
The No. 10 Stanford women will feature Cuffe, along with two middle-distance All-Americans who will make their cross country season debut, Rebecca Mehra and Claudia Saunders, a two-time NCAA 800-meter outdoor runner-up. Sophomore Elise Cranny will not race.