LEA WALLACE NAMED 11TH GREATEST FEMALE ATHLETE IN BIG SKY COUNTDOWN

LEA WALLACE NAMED 11TH GREATEST FEMALE ATHLETE IN BIG SKY COUNTDOWN

The Big Sky Conference has been celebrating the league's success both on and off the playing field by honoring 50 years of men's athletics and 25 years of women's athletics. The 50th anniversary celebrates the all-time individuals, teams and moments in the Big Sky's history, including the selection of the league's "50 Greatest Male Athletes" and the "25 Greatest Female Athletes." Along with these lists, the league will unveil the most memorable moments for both men's and women's competition.

Sacramento State's Renisha Robinson was selected as the 11th Greatest Female Athlete for her accomplishments in track & field.

Below is a story that appeared on the Big Sky Conference website...

Former Sacramento State great Lea Wallace, who competed from 2009-11, is considered the greatest 800-meter runner in Big Sky Conference history.

It's no surprise, then, that she's ranked 11th on the Big Sky Conference's list of "25 Greatest Female Athletes.''

"Wow", said Wallace. "I am extremely surprised and honored. I know there have been a lot of athletes coming from the Big Sky and I am proud to be a part of that."

Wallace transferred to Sacramento State from Cal Poly, where she spent two seasons in the Big West Conference.

"I decided that after two years at Cal Poly that it wasn't the place for me," Wallace said in a 2013 interview with The State Hornet. "After my sophomore season, I started exploring other options. I talked to ((then) assistant coach) Scott Abbott, and it sounded like Sac State was a much better opportunity for me. "

Wallace said her decision to move back to Northern California was something she needed. She grew up in Napa, Calif., and was a star athlete at Vintage High School.

In her first season in the Big Sky conference, she won the 2009 Outdoor 800 meter championship. She went on to the NCAA Championship where she finished 15th with a time of 2 minutes, 07.27 seconds.

"I was one of three athletes at the time at SAC that went to the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor," said Wallace over the phone. "I was just really happy to be able to represent SAC at a high level. I know it was an opportunity. Only a few get to go."

During the 2010 indoor season, Wallace finished eighth in the 800m at the NCAA Championship with a time of 2:13.97.

Building upon her success she went on to win the mile and 800 meters at the 2011 Big Sky Indoor Championship. She was named Outstanding Performer after that meet and went on to finish 12th in the 800 meters at the NCAA Championship.

Wallace still holds the Big Sky Indoor & Outdoor 800m records.

Wallace still holds the Big Sky's Indoor 800 meter all-time record that she set in 2011 with a time of 2:03.07.

She continued that momentum into the outdoor season, where she won the 800 meters and 1,500 meters at the 2011 Big Sky Championship. She collected the Outstanding Performer award at the championship.

Wallace made her way to the 2011 NCAA Championship where she finished ninth in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:18.73 and finished sixth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:04.56. Her performances earned her two First-Team All-American selections.

"The way that my coach trained me and my teammates was to be very versatile athletes," said Wallace. "It was something that we trained for everyday so at that time it wasn't really a big deal."

Wallace holds the 800 meter championship record with a time of 2:04.36, setting it in 2011. She also holds the all-time record with a time of 2:02.95.

She finished her collegiate career as a four-time All-American. In 2011, she was selected as the co-athlete of the year for the NCAA West Region by the United State's Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

After graduating from Sacramento State, Wallace has continued her running on a professional level. She is currently running for Nike and has a goal of competing at the 2016 Olympics.

Wallace was part of Team USA Red, which smashed the American Record by 13 second to win the women's 4x800 meters relay. Wallace ran the first leg where she finished in 2:02.0. The team finished with a time of 8:04.91 breaking the record of 8:17.91.

"I can't tell you how exciting it was for me to put on the red jersey," said Wallace in a 2013 interview after the race to the Associate Press. "I've never worn a Team USA uniform, and it was a really special thing. Being the first leg was very exciting. I've never been in a crowd like that either. Penn Relays is the most incredible experience of my life. [It was] awesome to be a part of this team."