Merrimack Cross Country Boasts Six Nat’l All-Academic Honorees

Highlighted by six individual student-athletes who earned All-Academic status after posting 3.25 or better grade-point averages (GPA’s) and finished in the top-30 percent at the NCAA East Regionals, both the Merrimack College men’s and women’s cross country teams each earned All-Academic Team honors after each finishing with cumulative 3.00 team GPA’s in the fall of 2013.

The awards put a bow on one of the best seasons in recent memory for both sides, as one male competitor and an impressive five women runners dotted a list of over 500 total student-athletes from across the country who excelled academically and on the course.

For the men’s side, junior standout Luis Cruz (Lawrence, Mass.) earned a spot on the USTFCCCA Men’s All-Academic Team after placing in the top-55 at the NCAA East Regionals and posting a 3.33 GPA in the fall. A Human Development major, Cruz boasted three top-20 finishes on the year to help the Warriors place sixth at the NE-10 Championship and ninth at Regionals.

On the women’s side, an impressive five individuals earned USTFCCA Women’s All-Academic status: seniors Fiona Coleman (Windsor, Conn.) and Briana Devereaux (Londonderry, N.H.), junior Kelsey Grimmer (Shelton, Conn.), sophomore Kerry Phelan (Peabody, Mass.) and rookie Claire Aalerud (Winchester, Mass.). The quintet all combined to help the Warriors make history in 2013, as Merrimack finished third at the East Regionals to earn an automatic team berth in the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history. Coleman was one of the top competitors that day after placing 18th en route to earning All-East Region honors.

The five honorees are the most in program history for Merrimack and compared to the rest of the country are tied for the third-most amount of athletes represented by a single team, as three schools boasted seven honorees while seven other teams saw six student-athletes earn all-academic status.

In total, 212 men and 337 women in Division II 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 among the top 30 percent of total eligible runners at his regional championship (total Division II teams in the region multiplied by seven runners per team) or in the top half of the field at the NCAA Championships.

Those 212 men hail from 96 different institutions and 22 different conferences, while the 337 women hailed from 126 different programs and 22 conferences.

Meanwhile, both the men’s and women’s teams were among 136 women’s teams and 92 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 and scored at an NCAA Division II regional meet to qualify for the award.

In total 141 unique programs were recognized, including 89 programs that had both their women’s and men’s teams earn the honor.


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