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Eight Cross Country Athletes Named to Big Sky All-Academic Team

OGDEN, Utah – It was a solid season on the field of competition and inside the classroom for the Northern Arizona cross country team. The Big Sky Conference announced the Fall 2010 All-Academic team last week which included four men and four women from the cross country squad. Of the eight honorees, five have made the academic team prior to last fall.

Since taking over the cross country team in 2007, head coach Eric Heins has had 25 athletes be named to the academic team a total of 34 times.

"I am proud of the athletes because I know they work hard in both the academic and athletic fields," Heins said. "We put a lot of importance on their efforts in the classroom because we know that athletics is just a small portion of your life once you graduate."

In order to be eligible for the post-season award, a student-athlete must have 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 women's team was junior Lisette Michaels. This is the second All-Academic award for the Peoria, Ariz., native as she was named to the team during the 2010 track season.

Newcomers, Carissa Gwerder, Alex Myers and Sarah Raber were also named to the academic squad in their first semesters of competition.

The men's side featured all repeat winners as seniors David McNeill and Jason Pedersen, junior Andrew Belus and sophomore Tim Freriks were bestowed with the conference honor.

It was the fourth-consecutive year that McNeill was named to the team as he was also honored with the ESPN Academic All-American award for track and field in 2010.