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Nine Cross Country Athletes Named All-Academic Big Sky

OGDEN, Utah – The Big Sky Conference has announced the members of the 2009 Fall All-Academic teams, and the Northern Arizona cross country team landed nine members on the list, including four from the men’s team and five from the women’s squad.

Pleased to hear that nine of his athletes made the all-academic teams was Interim Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Eric Heins. The head cross country coach is proud that his student-athletes are able to handle the time commitment of school and running simultaneously.

“It’s great to see the runners not only be rewarded for how the do athletically, but also how they do academically,” Heins said. “We set not only athletic goals for the season, but also academic goals. To see them come through like that makes me feel great, and I am very happy for them.”

To be eligible, a student-athlete must have met and/or exceeded the following minimum requirements: 1)Participated in at least half of the team’s competitions; 2)Achieved a 3.2 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at the conclusion of the most recently completed term; 3)Completed at least one academic term at his/her current Big Sky institution.

Headlining the list for the men’s squad were juniors Kam Holbrook, David McNeill and Jason Pedersen. Also garnering conference honors was sophomore Andrew Belus. This is Pedersen’s second-straight year that he has earned the conference honor, and McNeill’s third.

The academic award for McNeill is his second in 2009 as he was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America® men’s track/cross country first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The exercise fitness major collected two second-place finishes in national championship races in 2009, including the 5,000-meter final at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and the 10,000-meter men’s final at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

The NAU Big Sky All-Academic team members include senior Veronica Pohl, junior Astrid Leutert, sophomores Kortnee Burton and Haley Lawrence and freshman Torin Shriver. For Pohl and Burton this is the second-consecutive year the duo has received the award.

All five members of Fall All-Academic team were key contributors to leading the Lumberjacks to their third-straight Big Sky Cross Country Championship.