Teamwork, friendships motivate Spartan women student-athletes

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More than 100 Spartan women are contributing to another exciting fall season of AU athletics. The women’s soccer and cross country teams are either regionally or nationally ranked with a promising outlook for success in the weeks ahead.

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Senior soccer player Mariah Ziegenbein (top) and sophomore cross-country runner Brit Murphy are two of 109 women participating in fall sports at AU this year.

The women’s golf, volleyball and tennis programs also are working to achieve team goals this season. The motivating factor for student-athletes are the friendships they have built as Spartan teammates.

Reflecting on her four years as a student-athlete, senior Mariah Ziegenbein credits the chemistry of the women’s soccer team for their success. “A lot of us have been together for all four seasons, so we know what to expect from one another,” she said. “We get along really well because we share the same goals on and off the field.”

Ziegenbein has a special appreciation for her teammates whom she often thinks of as her second family. “I’m from Las Vegas, so being on this team has provided me with close friends who keep me grounded,” she said. “Being on a college team is demanding, but I think time management is what keeps me on track with my school work. Maintaining good grades allows me to continue playing and supporting my teammates.”

Sophomore Brit March is experiencing the same kind of camaraderie with the women’s cross country team. “I love how quickly our team is becoming a family,” she said. “I can feel the heart and dedication of my teammates. We’re spending a lot of time together throughout practices and races, which is allowing us to know one another better and make great memories. I love being surrounded by dedicated athletes!”

Both women feel the recent renovations to athletic facilities in Alumni Hall are making a difference for athletes this year as well. “I think the renovations are great reminders of how our hard work can result in success. It’s a cool way of motivating all student-athletes,” said March.

View the fall schedule and complete athletics calendar here.