The Seattle University cross country teams were well-represented on the 2011 Great West Conference Fall Academic All-Conference squad, as six males and six females received the academic recognition, announced Wednesday by the conference office.
On the men's side, Seattle U tied NJIT and Utah Valley with six recipients apiece. Juniors Ryan Dennison (Pacifica, Calif.) and Kelton Sears (Maple Valley, Wash.) were named for the second straight year, while sophomores Jeff Baklund (Auburn, Wash.), Graham Kinzel-Grubbs (Portland, Ore.), Kevin Kopetz (Derry, N.H.), and Peter VanNuland (Newcastle, Wash.) received the academic honor for the first time in their collegiate careers.
For the women, the Redhawks' six honorees placed the team just one behind both NJIT and Utah Valley, each with seven recipients. Seniors Sarah Bolce (Sacramento, Calif.), Ashley Dalton (Bellingham, Wash.), and Allison Prather (Carpinteria, Calif.) were named for the third time in their careers, while junior Lauren Hammerle (Seattle, Wash.) and sophomores Hannah Mittelstaedt (Maple Valley, Wash.) and Mary Thompson (Simi Valley, Calif.) picked up the academic award for the first time.
"This is yet another testament to the dedication of our student-athletes in all facets of their lives. I'm proud of how well our team is represented in this group, particularly considering this doesn't include the freshmen. Our focus, both as a university and within our cross country/track& field program, has been and continues to be on educating the whole person. These 12 student-athletes show that we are truly being successful in our mission," Seattle U head coach Trisha Steidl said.
According to the conference office, 175 Great West Conference athletes in the sports of men's and women's cross country, football, women's soccer, and volleyball were named to the team based on a minimum cumulative 3.2 grade point average. The athletes also must have participated in at least 50 percent of their respective team's contests. Using the institutions' most recent GPA, the student-athletes are selected by each member institution's sports information director, with approval from the faculty athletic representative and the head coach. First-year students and JC transfers in their first year of residence are not eligible for the award.
The Seattle University cross country team finished its third and final season in the Great West Conference this past fall. On July 1, 2012, the program will join 15 other Seattle U sports in moving to the Western Athletic Conference.