By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Success in the classroom has earned the Willamette University men's and women's cross country teams recognition from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Both Willamette teams were included on the recently released list of All-Academic honors for the 2017 season.
Nationwide 221 women's cross country teams and 167 men's cross country teams in NCAA Division III were chosen for the All-Academic team award. A 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.
In addition, three members of the Willamette cross country teams received individual All-Academic honors from the USTFCCCA. The list includes Keith Carlson (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA//Bainbridge HS) and Ross Enlow (So., Unalaska, AK/Unalaska HS) from the Bearcat men's team and Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) from the WU women's team. Carlson is working toward a double-major in Computer Science and Mathematics, while Enlow is double-majoring in Mathematics and Economics. Swanson is majoring in Biology.
A total of 368 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 for the honor 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.
The Bearcat women's team achieved a 3.56 cumulative team GPA. The Willamette men's team completed the semester with a 3.34 cumulative team GPA.
Johns Hopkins University (Md.) received the NCAA Division III women's Scholar Team of the Year Award for the fifth time in six year. The men's Scholar Team of the Year Award went to North Central College (Ill.) for the third time in four seasons. Each year, 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 Johns Hopkins and the men's team from North Central won the 2017 NCAA cross country titles. The Johns Hopkins women earned a 3.40 GPA, while the North Central men recorded a 3.18 GPA.
This past fall, the Willamette men's team won the Northwest Conference Championship for the sixth consecutive season. Carlson placed second in the individual standings, while Enlow was fifth. The Bearcat women's team placed fifth at the NWC Championships, with Swanson earning third place in the individual standings.
Willamette Head Coach Matt McGuirk was chosen Northwest Conference Men's Country Coach of the Year for the sixth consecutive season and for the 13th time since 2001.
At the NCAA West Regional, Carlson took 14th place in the men's 8-kilometer race and Enlow placed 26th. Swanson finished sixth in the women's race. Carlson, Enlow and Swanson all competed at the NCAA Championships.
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 2017 NCAA Championships.
Khia Kurtenbach, a senior at University of Chicago, earned a 3.85 cumulative GPA while majoring in Molecular Engineering. She was chosen as the Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Kurtenbach won the NCAA women's individual cross country title.
Darin Lau from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was selected as the Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Lau, who is a senior majoring in Math Education, attained a 3.81 cumulative GPA. He won the men's race at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.