NEW ORLEANS – The NCAA Division I Cross Country National Champions aren't just great performers on the course, they're also stellar achievers in the classroom.
The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) announced Thursday morning that the Northern Arizona men's cross team earned the 2016 "Scholar Team of the Year" award after the squad accumulated a 3.12 fall semester grade point average (GPA).
In order to receive the prestigious academic accolade, the Lumberjacks had to showcase their talents on the course all season long—which they did, winning the Nuttycombe Invite, Big Sky's, NCAA Mountain Region and the university's first-ever national title—while maintaining a team GPA over 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
It is difficult to piece together a national championship team that possess four USTFCCCA All-American athletes, but that's exactly what Futsum Zienasellassie, Matt Baxter, Tyler Day and Andy Trouard were for NAU. Even more difficult, though, might be earning all-academic honors from the same organization, but Day and teammate Cory Glines were able to do just that. The all-American and true sophomore Day finished 23rd at the national race and maintains a 3.87 cumulative GPA, while Glines finished in the top-25 at mountain regionals (sixth overall) and holds a cumulative GPA of 3.50 as an academic junior.
This was the second time in school history the XC 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-runner up's at the NCAA race.