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Union Cross Country Star Gets Scholarship from Wake Forest University Medical School

JACKSON, Tenn. - 5/17/2007 - Jill Konkol, a four-year runner on the Union University cross country team, was recently awarded a scholarship to attend the Wake Forest University Medical School. However, this particular scholarship has a special ring to it as it is an all-inclusive scholarship that marks the largest in Wake Forest’s medical school history.

This scholarship is a full-expense scholarship which covers tuition, room, board, books, lab fees, etc. Konkol is being award a scholarship that no other Wake Forest student has ever received. The Wake Forest Medical School is listed among the top 50 schools in the United States according to the U.S. News & World Report.

“Jill Konkol has been a model student-athlete at Union University,” said Union president Dr. David S. Dockery. “She is an exceptional student and her acceptance and outstanding scholarship award into the medical program at Wake Forest is an indicator of her outstanding abilities.”

Konkol, a former cross country standout at Obion Central High School in Union City, Tenn., graduates May 19 from Union University with a 4.0 GPA in Pre-Med. She has also just recorded one of the highest MCAT scores of any Union student in history.

Head coach of the Union cross country program, Gary Johnson, said, “Jill is the ideal student athlete. Her effort and accomplishments in both academics and athletics were always exceptional.”

Konkol is not just tops in the classroom at Union. She has posted an award-winning cross country career at Union that has not been equaled. Most recently, Konkol was the TranSouth Conference and NAIA Region XI Champion as a senior. She helped lead Union to its first ever team qualification to the NAIA Nationals. Over her career, she has been an NAIA National Individual qualifier, four-time All-Conference, a three-time All-Region performer, TranSouth Freshman of the Year, TranSouth Runner of the Year, and was a part of all four of Union’s run of four straight TranSouth Conference titles (2003 - present). Konkol was also named at NAIA Scholar Athlete in each of the past two seasons.

Through her years at Union, Konkol has grown because of the many lessons and challenges her college career offered.

“My experience as a Union cross country runner has shaped my life tremendously, just like many athletes,” Konkol said. “I’ve found great success in accepting challenges and applying the same sense of determination to other areas of life, such as academics. I never dreamed my life could be impacted so strongly from the often underappreciated sport of cross country. I wouldn’t trade the lessons and relationships I’ve found at Union for the world. God has truly blessed me, and I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world to have found these gifts within myself.”

“Jill’s academic and athletic accomplishments are just the beginning of the story”, Johnson said. “She is a wonderful Christian person and has been involved in church here in Jackson, as well as, her home church in Union City. She represents what we are trying to accomplish with our cross country program at Union.”

Konkol currently holds the record for the fastest time in the 5K run with an 18:31 mark this past season. Including the top-two times, Konkol holds four of the top-10 times in the Union record books.

Konkol admits the new challenges she is about to face will be difficult. She also knows they will happen a long way from the comforts of her family and friends in the West Tennessee towns of Union City and Jackson.

“Going to medical school will be the most challenging goal I’ve ever attempted,” she said. “I know that Union has done an outstanding job at preparing me, not only academically, but also mentally and spiritually, to begin this new stage in my life. I anticipate being outside of my comfort zone at Wake Forest because of the rigorous course work and my unfamiliarity with Winston Salem, but that excites me because I’ve learned through running that great things in life don’t come easy.”

Dockery added, “We are blessed at Union University for Jill to have represented this institution in varsity athletics. We give thanks to God for Jill and wish her every success in coming days.”


Steven Aldridge
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Sports Information
Fax: (731) 661-5182

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