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Men's Cross Country Boasts Nation's Top GPA


NEW ORLEANS, La. --- The Chattanooga men’s cross country team posted a nation’s-best 3.71 GPA and was named a USTFCCCA (U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) All-Academic Team for the 2013 season. The women’s team, also an All-Academic selection, ranked 18th out of 217 teams with a 3.64 GPA.

This is the second time in three years that the men’s cross country team ranked first in the nation. Last year, UTC was second with a 3.64 GPA. Senior Lucas Cotter (Collierville, Tenn.) earned All-Academic individual honors with a 4.00 GPA. Cotter graduated last spring and is working toward his MBA.

Cotter and teammate Mark Cole were named All-Southern Conference. Cole, a senior HHP: Exercise Science major, also tallied a 4.0 GPA last semester and has a 3.867 cumulative GPA. Senior John Gilpin (Nashville, Tenn.), an HHP: Exercise Science major, and junior Patrick O’Brien (Chattanooga, Tenn.), a chemistry major, also had a 4.0 through last semester.

Cotter was one of five honorees to earn a 4.0 GPA and was one of 72 men in Division I to earn USTFCCCA All-Academic honors for the 2013 cross country season. Honorees must have compiled a cumulative GPA or 3.25 or greater and must have finished as an All-American or among the 15 finishers (or 10 percent) in his regional meet.

Joining Cotter with a 4.0 were seniors Solomon Haile of Arkansas, Joshua Hardin of Northern Arizona and Reed Kamyszek of Syracuse. First-year student Ben Saarel of Colorado was the fifth.

The 72 men hail from 49 different institutions and 20 different conferences. Syracuse was the best represented program with four individuals, followed by Kansas, Georgetown and Tulsa with three apiece.

The ACC and Big Ten conferences both led the way with nine each, followed by the Big 12 with eight and the Big East with six.

Northern Arizona was named the USTFCCCA Division I Scholar Team of the Year among 160 teams to be named to the All-Academic list. Northern Arizona earned a cumulative 3.34 grade point average on its way to a runner-up showing at the NCAA Championships. The Lumberjacks’ roster featured two individuals who earned All-Academic individual honors, including All-American Brian Shrader.

The women cross country team moved up six spots from 24th last year to 18th. Sophomore Teghan Henderson (Pickering, Ontario) earned All-Academic honors with a 3.87 GPA in Accounting. She claimed the Southern Conference title with a commanding finish nearly 27 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. She went on to finish third at the NCAA South Region meet, missing out on the top spot by less than two seconds, and finished 20th at the NCAA Cross Country National Champoinships, earling All-American honors. She was one of six student-athletes on the women’s team to record a 4.0 last semester.

Henderson was one of 129 women in Division I who earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors for the 2013 cross country season. Honorees must have compiled a cumulative GPA or 3.25 or greater and must have finished as an All-American or among the 15 finishers (or 10 percent) in their regional meet.

The 129 women hail from 78 different institutions and 21 different conferences. National champion Providence and Colorado were the best represented programs with five individuals apiece, followed by eight different schools with four honorees each. Those eight schools are Butler, Virginia, Georgetown, Arkansas, Minnesota, Penn State, Florida State and Dartmouth.

The ACC led the way with 18 total honorees, followed by the Big East with 16 and the Pac-12 and SEC with 15 each. Sixteen student-athletes reported 4.0 cumulative GPAs.

Providence earned its national title with a winning score of 141 to runner-up Arizona’s 197 with three All-Americans in Emily Sisson, Laura Nagel and Sarah Collins – all of whom earned individual All-Academic honors. The Friars’ season also included team wins at the Northeast Regional, the Big East Championships and the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown.

This is the first time Providence has earned Scholar Team of the Year honors, though it is the fourth time in five years the Big East Conference has produced the winner dating back to Georgetown in 2011 and Villanova in 2009 and 2010.

The Scholar Teams of the Year were among 217 women’s teams and 160 men’s teams that earned All-Academic Team honors for the 2013 season. Programs must have compiled a cumulative GPA or 3.00 or greater to qualify for the award.

In total 231 unique programs were recognized, including 146 programs that had both their women’s and men’s teams earn the honor. The Southern Miss women reported the highest team GPA at 3.79, while the Chattanooga men topped their gender.

The SEC led all women’s conference with 13 teams earning All-Academic honors, followed by the ACC with 12 and Conference-USA and the Big Ten with 11 apiece.

Men’s conferences were headlined by the Atlantic 10, the SEC and the ACC with nine teams each, followed by the MAC with eight.