By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University men's and women's cross country teams have been honored by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for their success in the classroom. Both Willamette teams were included on the list teams receiving of All-Academic recognition for the 2018 season.
Across the country in NCAA Division III, 215 women's cross country teams and 178 men's cross country teams were chosen for the All-Academic team award. Each team had to achieve at least a 3.1 cumulative team grade point average and register a team score at an NCAA Regional meet in order to earn All-Academic status.
The Bearcat women's team achieved a 3.49 cumulative team GPA. The Willamette men's team completed the fall semester with a 3.36 cumulative team GPA.
Three Willamette cross country runners received individual All-Academic status from the USTFCCCA. Keith Carlson (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) was honored from the Bearcat men's team, while Hazel Carr (Sr., Seattle, WA/The Northwest School) and Kyla Shade (Jr., Snohomish, WA/Snohomish HS) earned academic honors for the Willamette women's team.
Carlson is completing a double-major in Computer Science and Mathematics. Carr is majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Shade is working toward a major in Chemistry (Biochemistry track) and a minor in Spanish.
A total of 382 student-athletes from Division III were chosen for the Women's All-Academic Team, while the Men's All-Academic Team included 300 student-athletes. Each All-Academic athlete qualified by achieving a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or higher, while finishing in the top 25% at an NCAA Regional cross country meet.
Washington University (Mo.) received the NCAA Division III women's Scholar Team of the Year Award. The men's Scholar Team of the Year Award was earned by North Central College (Ill.) for the fourth time in five years. Each season, the Scholar Team award go to the men's squad and the women's squad that earned All-Academic status and placed highest at the NCAA Championships.
The women's team from Washington University and the men's team from North Central won the 2018 NCAA Cross Country titles. Washington's women earned a 3.40 GPA, and the North Central men recorded a 3.72 GPA.
Leading the nation in NCAA Division III in cumulative team GPA were the women's team from LeTourneau University (Texas) at 3.85 and the men's team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 3.78.
During the 2018 season, the Willamette women's team won the Northwest Conference Championship for the 11th time overall and the first time since claiming back-to-back NWC titles in 2013 and 2014. Shade placed sixth and Carr took 13th in the women's race.
Willamette Head Coach Matt McGuirk was named NWC Women's Coach of the Year for the sixth time.
Carlson placed second in the men's individual standings for the second year in a row. He finished just 0.3 behind the winner, Colin Monaghan from University of Puget Sound. At the NCAA West Regional, Carlson was fourth. He advanced to the NCAA National Championships and placed 47th out of 280 runners.
The USTFCCCA also announced the Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award winners, which went to the women's athlete and the men's athlete who qualified for All-Academic status and placed highest at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Paige Lawler, a junior at Washington University, was chosen as the Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Lawler won the NCAA women's individual cross country title. Dhruvil Patel, a senior from North Central, was selected as the Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Patel won the men's race at the NCAA National Championships.