For the fourth year in a row for the women and the third year in a row for the men, the University of Indianapolis cross country teams have been deemed NCAA Division II All-Academic team. The women had an average of a 3.64 GPA and the men had an average of a 3.37 GPA, which has put them over the requirements of a 3.0 GPA.
An all-academic accolade occurs when every student on the team’s roster has a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Along with the GPA, the team also has to place in the top three at a regional meet or compete at a national meet. This is awarded to teams by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“It’s something we take great pride in,” Head Cross Country Coach Brad Robinson said. “I’m very, very proud of the athletes themselves. It’s one of the things we speak about with having a balanced lifestyle here, the University of Indianapolis, Division II no matter what it may be that we’re taking care of success and getting it done on the field of competition but also in the classroom as well. But we feel we’re developing the complete well-rounded athlete, which is what we’re striving for. It speaks volume to the commitment level investment that these athletes have put into everything, not just the athletic prowess that they’ve earned, but academic achievement because many of the athletes in our programs are graduating with a 3.5 or higher.”
According to UIndy Athletics the eight students were named honorees are sophomore Lauren Bailey, senior Taylor Kleyn, senior Briana Leonard, freshman Melissa Spencer, freshman Chris Switzer, sophomore Madison Vauters, sophomore Kieffer Vittetow and senior Mickayla Wenzel.
In order to qualify to be individually recognized, the runner has to finish the previous semester with a GPA of 3.25 or higher and finish in the top 30 percent of his or her regional championship.
“…We can achieve it, we’re not just good at sports, we are good academically…”
One of the honorees, Switzer, said that this award was just a glimpse of what the team’s season has been like.
The women won the GLVC Championship for the first time in 26 years and went on to place seventh at the NCAA Midwest Regional while the men finished 12th. Switzer said that striving to achieve All-American helps the team grow closer because the teammates are able to help each other out both athletically and academically. He believes that winning this award shows that the cross country team is not only strong when it comes to athletics, but in their academics as well. Switzer said that this expresses how well the season went. Working together helped the team get to know each other, become a better team and also get better times in events throughout the season.
“I was very shocked and pleased because many colleges across the state, or even across the nation, they cannot achieve it,” Switzer said. “Sometimes it’s very sad when you see an individual who is ineligible for academic reasons. So, it’s very nice to see that here at UIndy, we can achieve it, we’re not just good at sports, we are good academically with sports tied into it. So I guess it’s not shocking to me. It makes me very happy that we actually had the institution that we can do both things very well together. It’s good for cross country because it brings more awareness to our program, that we actually are a very good program and also bring awareness that cross country actually exists.”
Sophomore distance runner Lauren Bailey said that running is just one of the things each cross country runner is passionate about. Each member of the team has their own major and works hard off the course.
According to Bailey, she feels like everyone on the team is on the same page. According to Bailey, everyone around them is in the same boat they are in and have just as much to do both academically and athletically.
“We all want to motivate each other to do our best and I feel that, like for our practice, for example, in order for us to have the best possible results in our times and our efficiency, we’ve got motivate each other,” Bailey said. “And I feel the same goes for when we’re in the classroom as well. If you want to put our best effort into our schoolwork, we got to be motivating of each other, we’ve got to be positive. I just say our goal here as a team is we’re out to achieve goals, but it’s also here to enjoy together and strive to be the best that we can academically.”