Five Bearcats Receive All-Academic Honors in Cross Country

Bennett, Conrad, Edwards, Freeby and Gildehaus Earn Recognition

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- A total of five athletes on the Willamette University cross country teams have received All-Academic status from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for the 2012 season. Three runners on the Willamette women's team and two runners from the Bearcat men's team qualified for the award.

A total of 201 student-athletes from Division III were chosen for the Women’s All-Academic Team and 162 runners were chosen for the Men's All-Academic Team. Each All-Academic selection was honored for achieving a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or higher, while finishing in the top 35 at an NCAA Regional cross country meet.

Willamette’s All-Academic athletes on from the women's team were Theresa Edwards (Sr., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS), Michaela Freeby (So., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) and Stevie Gildehaus (Jr., Spokane Valley, WA/University HS).

Edwards is majoring in Environmental Science and Biology. Freeby has not yet declared a major and Gildehaus is majoring in Environmental Science and Spanish.

Chosen for All-Academic honors from the Willamette men's team were Parker Bennett (Jr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) and Nathan Conrad (Fr., Bothell, WA/Bothell HS). Bennett is an Exercise Science major. Conrad has not yet chosen his major.

Bennett from men's team and Edwards, Freeby and Gildehaus from the women's team, all competed at the NCAA Championships. Bennett placed 97th out of 280 runners in the men's competition. Edwards Freeby and Gildehaus helped the women's team finish 32nd in the nation.

At the West Regional, hosted by the Bearcats, Bennett finished sixth and Conrad was 30th in the men's race. In the women's race, Freeby was ninth, Edwards was 14th and Gildehaus was 35th.

Willamette also excelled at the Northwest Conference Championships. The WU men's team won the NWC Championship with Bennett claiming the individual title and Conrad placing fourth. The Bearcat women took second in the team standings, while Freeby finished third among 82 runners. Edwards placed seventh and Gildehaus achieved 14th place.

The USTFCCCA also announced the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards, which went to the men's athlete and the women's athlete who placed highest at the 2012 NCAA Championships and also qualified for All-Academic status.

Christy Cazzola, a senior student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a 3.44 cumulative GPA was selected as the Cross Country Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Cazzola, who is majoring in Special Education, won the NCAA individual national cross country title in 2012. She was second in the nation in 2011 and finished fourth in 2010.

Tim Nelson, a Business Administration major in his senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Stout was named Cross Country Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Nelson achieved a 3.701 cumulative GPA through the fall semester. He took first place in the men's race at the NCAA Championships this past season.

2012 USTFCCCA Cross Country
All-Academic Awards
Parker Bennett won the men's individual title at the 2012 NWC Cross Country Championships and was sixth at the NCAA West Regional.

Parker Bennett won the men's individual title at the 2012 NWC Cross Country Championships and was sixth at the NCAA West Regional.