AUSTIN – Texas track and field heptathlete Ashtin Zamzow is the 2018-19 Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year, the league office announced last week. A three-time Big 12 individual champion and the NCAA heptathlon winner in 2019, Zamzow is the first track & field athlete to win the conference honor since Texas A&M’s Jessica Beard in 2010-11.
“It has been an absolute honor to compete in one of the most historically-competitive conferences in the country, let alone be named the best female athlete within it,” Zamzow said. “I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today without being challenged and pushed by some of the greatest athletes, coaches and professors the country has to offer at UT. Competing for The University of Texas has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I’m so thankful I was able to win this award representing them.”
Zamzow is the first UT student-athlete selected as Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year since Destinee Hooker (volleyball/track & field) in 2008-09. She is the fourth UT women’s track & field performer to earn Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year honors, joining Hooker, Erin Aldrich (1999-2000) and Suziann Reid (1998-99). All totaled, 12 different Longhorns have been selected 14 times as Big 12 Athlete of the Year since the first award was handed out in 1997.
“This is such a big honor and accomplishment for our team, coaches, university and the entire Texas community,” Texas track & field coach Edrick Floréal said. “We are so proud of Ashtin and (multi-events) coach (Matthew) McGee for all their hard work and dedication. It was truly a special year with many great accomplishments, and Ashtin earning Big 12 Athlete of the Year is very well-deserved recognition.”
Zamzow put together a record-breaking 2018-19 campaign to solidify her standing as Texas’ most-decorated heptathlete ever. In her final collegiate outdoor season, Zamzow won the program’s first NCAA and Big 12 titles in the heptathlon, as well as becoming the first Longhorn to win the event at the Texas Relays.
Zamzow set or matched personal bests in four events and broke her own school record with 6,222 points in the heptathlon at the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships. She set career-best marks in the 100-meter hurdles (13.33 seconds), 200 meters (24.23) and long jump (19 feet, 8 3/4 inches), and matched her personal best in the high jump (5-10) en route to becoming the eighth-best collegiate heptathlete of all-time and only the second to win the event on her home track. She finished her career with the top seven heptathlon scores and eight of the top 10 in Longhorn history, three of which she recorded in 2019.
The Goliad native’s success earned her a spot as one of 10 women’s semifinalists for The Bowerman, which is awarded to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate track & field athlete each year. She is only the second woman in school history to be named a semifinalist for the award, joining two-time honoree and 2016 winner Courtney Okolo. Zamzow was also recognized as the 2019 USTFCCCA South Region Field Event Athlete of the Year.
At the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, she earned individual titles in both the heptathlon and javelin to tally 20 points as the Texas women won the team conference title. Zamzow’s heptathlon and javelin double victory was a historic effort as she became the league’s first student-athlete to ever record wins in those two events at the same championship. She also helped the Longhorns win the 2019 Big 12 Indoor Championship by defending her individual title in the pentathlon with a then school-best 4,183 points. Zamzow was a part of five Big 12 title-winning teams during her career at Texas (indoors: 2016, 2018 and 2019; and outdoors: 2016 and 2019).
Zamzow’s success carried over on a national stage during her final indoor season, as she placed third at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championship in the pentathlon with school-record 4,294 points. It was the second of three career All-America honors for her. She finished her Texas career with the top three pentathlon scores and five of the top nine marks on UT record, including the top two in 2019.
Academically, Zamzow excelled as a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First-Team performer (2018 and 2019). She graduated from Texas with a degree in exercise science and a minor in business.