Five Bearcats are Named All-Academic in Track and Field

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

NEW ORLEANS, LA. -- Five Willamette University track and field athletes have been chosen for the 2012-13 NCAA Division III All-Academic Teams as selected by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Student-athletes received the award by combining academic and athletic success.

Each All-Academic honoree earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or higher (4.0 scale), while either competing at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships or by finishing the regular season ranked in the top 35 nationally in an individual event or in the top 25 in a relay event.

A total of 595 student-athletes from throughout NCAA Division III received All-Academic recognition. The Women's All-Academic Team featured 364 athletes, while the Men's All-Academic Team included 232 athletes.

Willamette's All-Academic selections were Bekah Daniel (So., Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS), Michaela Freeby (So., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS), Carson Kennedy (So., Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS), Taylor Ostrander (Fr., Soldotna, AK/Kenai Central HS), Erynn Rebol (Sr., Cottonwood, CA/Red Bluff Union HS).

Bekah Daniel

Bekah Daniel, who is majoring in Physics with a 3.92 GPA, ranked 31st in NCAA Division III in the heptathlon with a score of 4,364 points at the West Coast Invitational on May 9-10. She ranked 34th in the nation in the triple jump with a distance of 37' 6.5" at the Oregon Twilight on May 3.

At the Northwest Conference Championships, Daniel won the triple jump with a top leap of 37' 4", placed third in the 100-meter hurdles in a personal record of 15.26 seconds, and placed fifth in the heptathlon with a score of 4,163 points. She ran the third leg on Willamette's 4 x 400-meter relay team, which achieved first place in 4:00.39.

Daniel ranks second all-time at Willamette in the triple jump. She is listed fifth in the heptathlon and is eighth in the 100-meter hurdles. She was part of the 4 x 100-meter relay team that recorded WU's second-fastest time at 49.00 seconds while placing second in the NWC in 2012.

Michaela Freeby

Michaela Freeby competed at the NCAA Championships in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase this season. She took fourth place with a personal record time of 10:33.34, as she moved into second place on WU's all-time list.

It was her second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships. In 2012, she finished 13th in the nation in the steeplechase.

This spring, Freeby won an NWC title in the steeplechase. She placed second in the conference in the 1,500-meter run with a personal record time of 4:41.63 and was second in the 5,000-meter run with a career-best time of 18:09.40. Her time in the 5,000 ranks 10th all-time at Willamette.

As a freshman in 2012, Freeby won an NWC championship in the steeplechase and was second in the 1,500-meter run. She is majoring in Biology and owns a 3.43 GPA.

Carson Kennedy

Carson Kennedy placed 18th at the NCAA Championships in the decathlon. He qualified for the national meet with a personal record score of 6,283 points at the West Coast Invitational on May 9-10. The score also placed him 10th on Willamette's all-time list in the decathlon.

This spring, Kennedy placed second in the Northwest Conference in the decathlon (6,190 points), the 110-meter hurdles (15.50 seconds) and the triple jump (44' 4"). He also helped WU claim second place in the 4 x 400-meter relay (3:22.47) by running the first leg. He placed third in the long jump at 22' 3".

During his freshman season in 2012, he took fourth place in the NWC in the decathlon. He also finished second in the triple jump, fifth in the high jump, sixth in the 110-meter hurdles and eighth place in the long jump. He has not yet declared a major at Willamette to go along with his 3.43 GPA.

Taylor Ostrander

Taylor Ostrander placed 22nd at the NCAA Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase this spring with a time of 11:22.31.

Overall, she ranked 18th in NCAA Division III with a top time of 11:02.01. She recorded her fastest time at the Gregory Invitational, hosted by North Central College (Illinois) on May 17. She ranks fifth all-time at Willamette in the steeplechase.

She achieved third place in the steeplechase at the NWC championships this season and was sixth in the 5,000-meter run. She has not chosen her major at Willamette. Ostrander has attained a 3.79 GPA.

Erynn Rebol

Erynn Rebol graduated this spring with a major in Biology and a 3.30 GPA. During the track and field season, she ranked 31st in NCAA Division III in the 800-meter run after earning a time of 2:13.63 at the Oregon Twilight on May 3. It was her career-best time in the 800, and placed her sixth on Willamette's top 10 list.

Earlier in the season, she was the NWC champion in the 800-meter run at 2:15.31. It was her second NWC title in the event, which she previously won as a freshman in 2010.

This spring, she also placed fifth in the NWC in the 1,500-meter run at 4:45.53 and ran the anchor leg on WU's 4 x 400-meter relay team, which took first place in 4:00.39. In 2012, she helped the Bearcats take second place in the 4 x 400 relay with a time of 3:57.92, good for seventh all-time at Willamette.

Willamette Teams Earn All-Academic Honors

In addition to the individual awards, both of Willamette's track and field teams received All-Academic honors. The WU women's team achieved a 3.48 GPA, while the men's team earned a 3.21 GPA. See the article about the team awards.

USTFCCCA Scholar-Athletes of the Year

The USTFCCCA also announced the Scholar-Athletes of the Year for the 2013 season. The winner in each category was the All-Academic athlete who placed highest in individual events at the NCAA Championships. Athletes earning more than one national championship ranked the highest.

Christy Cazzola from the University of Wisconson-Oshkosh was chosen as the NCAA Division III Women's Outdoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She won national championships in the 800-meter run, 1,500-meter run and 5,000-meter run.

Michelle Favre of Ramapo College (N.J.) was selected NCAA Division III Women's Outdoor Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Favre won the NCAA pole vault title.

Michael LaDuc at Connecticut College earned the NCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. He took first place at the NCAA Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Tom Postema from Defiance University (Ohio) was chosen as the NCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Postema won an NCAA title in the hammer throw and placed second in the discus.

Carson Kennedy placed 18th in NCAA Division III and was second in the Northwest Conference in the decathlon this spring.

Carson Kennedy placed 18th in NCAA Division III and was second in the Northwest Conference in the decathlon this spring.