NEW ORLEANS – David McNeill
of Northern Arizona has been named as Division I’s male cross
country Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the 2009 season as
announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches
Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.
McNeill is also among 58 given All-Academic status for the previous cross country season for their efforts in the classroom and on nation’s cross country courses.
“Student-athletes sometimes don’t get the credit about how much that they have to do outside of athletics,” Interim Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Eric Heins said. “For him to be able to go out and finish second in the nation in cross country shows his athletic prowess, and now to see him get rewarded for what he does academically is just great.”
McNeill, a junior from Melbourne, Australia, has a 3.75 cumulative grade point average in exercise science. The Scholar-Athlete of the Year award goes to the highest individual finisher from the previous year’s NCAA Cross Country Championship among those given
USTFCCCA All-Academic status.
This fall, McNeill placed second at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., to follow up a NCAA Mountain Region title. McNeill was named as the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Athlete of the Year after he won his region for the second-straight year. In this year’s regional race, McNeill used the final 1000 meters to open a 12-second gap on the field. McNeill also won the Big Sky Cross Country Championship for the second-straight year, doing so in 2009 by 56 seconds.
The award honors those student-athletes who have succeeded both academically and athletically. To be eligible for the award a student-athlete must carry a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point average and must finish among the top 15 finishers (or top 10 percent) of the field at their respective NCAA regional meet.
The 58 USTFCCCA All-Academic honorees represent 35 schools around the country.
The list also includes five
regional champions and seven who finished in the nation’s
10 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
The female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in Division I is Illinois’ Angela Bizzarri.