In November, Northern Arizona University’s men’s cross country team won a national championship.
Last week, the squad brought home another national accolade, earning the 2016 Scholar Team of the Year award from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA). During the same semester they won their national championship, they accumulated a 3.12 fall semester grade point average (GPA).
“To see our national championship men’s cross country program be named the 2016 Scholar Team of the Year is a major accomplishment,” athletics director Lisa Campos said. “At NAU we want to provide our student-athletes with an exceptional experience, and there’s no better way to do that than becoming champions on the cross country course and in the classroom.”
To qualify for this honor, the Lumberjacks had to showcase their talents on the course all season long—winning the Nuttycombe Invite, Big Sky’s, NCAA Mountain Region and the university’s first national title—while maintaining a team GPA over 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
Cross-country runners Tyler Day, a true sophomore from Gilbert, and Cory Glines, a junior from Canton, Ohio, also earned 2016 Division I Men’s All-Academic individual honors. Last season was especially good for Day, who USTFCCCA selected as an All-American athlete. He finished the season ranked No. 23 at the national race with a GPA of 3.87.
Glines, who finished sixth overall at mountain regionals, earned a 3.5 GPA in the fall.
“We all motivate each other in every workout and every race, so I try to take that mentality into the classroom and try to better myself in the academic world,” Day said. “I have the mindset that I came to college to learn and compete. So, if I don’t do one or the other I would be fulfilling 50 percent of my personal duties here at NAU.”
This was the second time in school history the cross country men’s program was named the Scholar Team of the Year, with the first time being in 2013. That season, the Lumberjacks were the national-runners-up at the NCAA race.