Feb. 25, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's and women's cross country teams were named All-Academic teams by the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday, Feb. 25. It is the ninth-straight team recognition for the women and sixth overall for the men. In addition, redshirt freshman Lindsey Clark and junior Julia Otwell were recognized as individual All-Academic honorees.
"I think it's a well-earned honor to be recognized as All-Academic," said director of track & field/cross country Walt Drenth. "It shows what the student-athletes think is important as well. When you have a big roster and they are able to earn these honors, it's really indicative of a good culture and having high expectations of each other - not only in competition, but also in the classroom where it matters most."
To qualify as a USTFCCCA All-Academic Cross Country Team, the team must have had a cumulative team GPA of 3.00 or better and have started at least five runners at their respective NCAA regional championship.
With a cumulative team GPA of 3.199, the women have earned All-Academic team recognition nine years in a row. This marks their 15th team honor dating back to 1994. The men received their second-straight team All-Academic recognition and sixth overall dating back to 1997 with a cumulative team GPA of 3.122.
At the 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, the women placed second overall with 77 points, while the men finished fourth with 113 points. The women qualified for the NCAA Championships for the 14th-straight season, the longest active streak in the Big Ten. By placing four in the top-30 at the regional meet, the men received an at-large bid for the Championship meet for the first time since 2009.
Earning her second-straight individual All-Academic honor was Otwell, becoming only the third Spartan in MSU history to be awarded back-to-back recognition. The previous two were Carlie Green (2010 and 2011) and current assistant coach Lisa Senakievich (2007 and 2008). In 2012, Otwell received All-Region honors after recording a season-best time of 20:49 to finish 17th at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and Big Ten Distinguished scholar, the biosystems engineering major finished the fall 2012 semester with cumulative GPA of 3.8275.
Clark was awarded her first All-Academic award of her career. Named Academic All-Big Ten in 2011, she clocked a personal-best 6k time of 20:53 at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional to finish 21st overall. Majoring in mechanical engineering, Clark holds a cumulative GPA of 4.0.
"They are great students," Drenth said. "They put in a lot of hard work. It's a full-time job to be an exceptional student and it's a full-time job to be an exceptional athlete. To be able to do both at that high of a level speaks volumes of their expectations and work ethic. It's a great honor for them both."
To be eligible, a student-athlete must carry a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point average and must finish among the top-10 percent of the field at their respective NCAA regional meet.