NEW ORLEANS, LA – The University of Alabama women's cross country squad has been named a 2010 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team for its outstanding performance in the classroom and on the course, as announced Wednesday.
In addition to earning the All-Academic team honor, the Crimson Tide was recognized as having the highest cumulative grade point average among All-Academic honorees with a 3.88 team GPA.
"It's exciting for me because I see them every day and when we go to the airports and to the meets they literally have their noses in books," UA head cross country coach Randy Hasenbank said. "They're very diligent and value education. I'm really proud of them because it's extremely difficult to balance three sports. They compete in cross country, indoor and outdoor track so there's really not a season where they're off."
The Tide led the nation in the classroom in 2010 for the second consecutive year. In 2009 the program reported a cumulative GPA of 3.86 after having the second-highest GPA the year before (3.75). The All-Academic team honorees includes 192 women's cross country programs from 30 conferences, with the Big East leading with 12 members, followed by the Big 12 and the Big Ten who each placed 11 on the list. The Southeastern Conference had 10 programs place on the list.
"I know the demands placed on a collegiate distance runner, so when I go out and recruit I need to find good students who I feel are going to be able to balance everything and they've done it quite well," Hasenbank said. "I think one of the more impressive aspects of the award this year is that it's the third year in a row with a very high mark. We have several juniors and seniors that have helped maintain that high GPA. It's very difficult when you get into the specifics of your major, because it becomes more demanding, but they've been able to balance athletics and their higher level classes quite well so I'm very proud of them."
To be considered for the USTFCCCA-All Academic Cross Country Team, a team must have a 3.00 cumulative GPA or better and have started at least five runners at its respective NCAA regional championship.