RICHMOND, Va. – This weekend members of the VCU Track and Field community will get together for the annual Ram Invite. However, this Saturday's event will be different because the VCU Track and Field program is honoring the memory of late student-athlete Zanishia Usher (pictured right).
Usher, who was a member of the VCU Track and Field team from 2002-2006, passed away on August 20, 2012 while she was with the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade in the United Kingdom. In her honor, VCU Athletics and the VCU Track and Field program are beginning the Zanishia Usher Scholarship fund for the track and field program.
"It's a great opportunity to recognize a track and field athlete because we don't get a lot of opportunities to talk about our sport except in Olympic years," said Head Coach Jon Riley. "It is unfortunate that we have this opportunity, but it is bringing our alumni group back to campus and stepping up their interest in our program."
During Usher's time with the Rams she competed in 55-meter dash, long jump, 400-meters, and 100-meter dash. Usher still has the fourth best 55-meter dash (7.10 seconds) and seventh best long jump (5.66-meters) in indoor school history. She ranks in the top ten in outdoor school history, with the eighth-best long jump (5.64-meters) and was a member of the 10th fastest 4x100-meter relay team (47.14 seconds).
Following her career at VCU, Usher enlisted in the United States Army. Usher received numerous awards and medals while enlisted, including: the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas Service Ribbon.
VCU will also honor Usher's memory with a moment of silence prior the national anthem on Sunday at the Ram Invite around 12:45 p.m.
"She was a good student, a great student-athlete, she served her community and served her country and was honorable young lady," said Riley. "To see her teammates honor her in this way speaks a lot about her character and what she was all about."