The Centre men's cross country team received the honor of NCAA/USTFCCCA Academic All-American Team status today. However, the Colonels' achievement stands out because they posted the highest cumulative GPA of any men's cross country team in Division III for the 2011-12 fall semester.
Centre posted a collective team GPA of 3.71, the highest among the over 500 men's cross country programs in Division III and the 131 programs to be named NCAA Academic All-American Teams. The Colonels beat out schools such as Amherst, Cal Tech, Grinnell, M.I.T. and Williams.
On the course, Centre posted two first place finishes during the regular season, then finished second at both the SCAC Championship Meet and the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Meet to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Meet.
The Colonels had four individual runners make the NCAA Academic All-American team by virtue of their performances both in competition and the classroom: freshman Albert Anastasio (Champaign, Ill.), sophomore John Kieffer (Dublin, Ohio) and seniors Willie Polio (Owensboro, Ky.) and Jack Santos (Topsfield, Mass.).
"I am so very proud of our men's cross country team. This accomplishment is the epitome of the division III student athlete philosophy," said head coach Lisa Owens. "Our men have consistently proven themselves to be one of the top competitive NCAA division III cross country teams in the nation on the course; now they can enjoy being named the top NCAA division III academic cross country team in the nation."
"This is a huge honor not only for our team, but our school. I feel extremely blessed to be able to work with young people every day who dedicate their lives to overall achievement and success," Owens finished.
The list of Academic All-American teams and GPAs can be found here.