Women’s Cross Country Garners Third-straight USTFCCCA All-Academic Laurel

women's cross country poses for a photo

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Southern Vermont College women’s cross country program displayed academic excellence once again over the last two semesters as the Mountaineers garnered their third-straight U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team honor as announced by the organization on Friday.

To be eligible for the accolade, a team’s roster must post a combined cumulative grade point average of at least 3.1 following the fall term and meet the NCAA criteria for cross country sponsorship (participation in no less than five meets with five runners competing in each of those events). The SVC women’s crew chalked up a 3.67 through this past fall semester.

“It means a lot for our team to receive this award,” said SVC first-year head coach Jarrett Blankenship. “It is not uncommon for student-athletes to focus on being an athlete first; I have always stressed that academics, and each athlete’s future professional careers, will always take precedence over our sport. Whenever you are able to get the job done in the classroom, it is typical for breakthroughs to naturally happen for the athlete. Hats off to the women's team for all of their hard work throughout the course of the fall semester!”

The 2017 team’s GPA easily topped that of the past two years in which SVC earned the award as the Mountaineers registered a 3.31 and 3.28 in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Southern Vermont was joined by fellow New England Collegiate Conference members Elms College and Wheelock College in collecting the accolade on the women’s side; EC also had the only men’s team from the league to garner it.

In total, 221 Division III women’s programs were honored while another 167 men’s squads picked up the laurel. Among those hundreds of women’s teams, Southern Vermont’s was tied for the 25th-best GPA this year.

The USTFCCCA is a non-profit professional organization representing cross country and track & field coaches of all levels. It represents thousands of coaching members encompassing NCAA track & field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA and NJCAA, as well as a number of state high school coaches associations. The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track & field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as a lobbyist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track & field.