It’s all in the numbers

One of MHS’ greatest athletes, Angela Bizzarri, continues to burn up the track…

James Nosek | Staff Writer

Photo contributed

2006 Mason High School graduate Angela Bizzarri, who has nine high school state titles and three NCAA National Championships at the University of Illinois, “is the greatest athlete to ever go to Mason High School,” according to her former head track coach Tony Affatato.

Bizzarri is currently a professional track and cross country runner sponsored by Brooks Running and is training for a berth in the 3,000- or 5,000-meter competition at the 2012 summer Olympics in England, according to Affatato.

She is training in Mammoth, California, as well as San Diego with a Brooks Running training group.

Between her time at Illinois and her training now, Bizzarri said she is confident that the Olympics are a realistic goal.

“I believe I do have shot at the Olympics, [but] it’s a lot harder said than done,” Bizzarri said.

Since her training, Bizzarri has raced in three Olympic trials and three U.S. Championships.

In 2008, Bizzarri’s sophomore year at Illinois, she ran an Olympic trial. That year, she was a finalist, but did not qualify. She said it has been motivation for her second try to compete at Olympics.

“I wasn’t in the position to qualify because I was the youngest there, but I realize that I have potential to make it to the Olympics,” Bizzarri said.

Bizzarri was offered full-ride scholarships at five different Division I schools before she chose Illinois, according to Affatato.

“At the [2009 5,000-meter U.S. Championship] she finished third both [against] professional and non-professional [competition],” Affatato said.

Athletics weren’t Bizzarri’s only strengths in high school and college, at Illinois she majored in molecular and cellular biology. Last fall, she graduated from Illinois then became the graduate assistant for Illinois’ cross country team.

Affatato said Bizzarri is the most elite women’s athlete to go to Illinois and was highly respected. She won the 2009 NCAA Cross Country and the 2009 Outdoor 5,000- meter Championship as well as the 2010 NCAA Indoor 5,000-meter Championship at Illinois.

She received the Duke Eddleman Award for female athlete of the year twice. Between 2008 and 2009, Bizzarri broke five Illinois personal running records: three in indoor events and two in outdoor events.

“[Bizzarri] has a very rare ability; she is so determined,” Affatato said. “That’s why she took this opportunity [to try for the Olympics].”

Affatato said he believes that Bizzarri can compete in the Olympics one day.

“I do think she is going to make it,” Affatato said. “She has the best shot out of anybody I’ve ever known.”