Bearcats Earn USTFCCCA Team Academic Awards in Cross Country

By John Lind, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's and women's cross country teams have been honored for their academic success by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) with both squads receiving All-Academic status for the 2012 season.

A total of 197 women’s cross country teams and 141 men’s cross country teams in NCAA Division III were selected for the All-Academic award. Each squad had to earn at least a 3.1 cumulative team grade point average and have at least five runners compete at an NCAA Regional in order to achieve All-Academic status.

The Bearcat women's team achieved a 3.607 cumulative team GPA to place 13th among the teams honored. WU's women were just .003 behind a trio of squads at 3.61. Runners on the Willamette men's team earned a 3.339 cumulative team GPA.

Scholar Team of the Year honors went to the Johns Hopkins University (Md.) women's team and to the Calvin College (Mich.) men's team. Each year, the award goes to the teams earning All-Academic status that place highest at the NCAA Championships.

The Johns Hopkins women's team won the NCAA title and earned a 3.32 GPA. Calvin College's men tied Haverford College (Pa.) for second in the team standings at the NCAA Championships, but received the award with a 3.47 GPA, just .027 higher than Haverford. Last year, Haverford was the men's cross country Scholar Team of the Year.

Among Division III conferences, the Northwest Conference tied for second with eight men's team earning All-Academic status. Eight NWC women's teams also achieved All-Academic status.

Willamette's men won the 2012 NWC Championship in convincing fashion, with five runners finishing in the top 14. Willamette's women placed second at the NWC Championships for the second year in a row. The Bearcat women earned third placed at the NCAA West Region Championships, and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.

Parker Bennett (Jr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) of Willamette won the NWC men's individual championship. The Bearcats also were aided by Nathan Conrad (Fr., Bothell, WA/Bothell HS) who finished fourth and Yonny Castillo (Fr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) who finished eighth. Bennett placed sixth at the West Regional and clinched an individual bid to the NCAA Championships.

For the women's team, Michaela Freeby (So., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) finished in third place at the NWC Championships. Theresa Edwards (Sr., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS) was seventh and Juliet Farnan (Fr., Lafayette, CA/Campolindo High School) was 11th. Freeby earned ninth place at the West Regional.

2012 USTFCCCA Cross Country
All-Academic Awards
Michaela Freeby placed third at the NWC Championships and took ninth place at the NCAA West Regional.

Michaela Freeby placed third at the NWC Championships and took ninth place at the NCAA West Regional.