March 11, 2008
Eastern Washington University cross country teams earned All-Academic team honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), while Mattie Bridgmon was named to the All-Academic team with a 3.65 grade point average.
To earn team honors, a school must compete in the NCAA Regional Meet and have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. A total of 158 women's teams met the standard this season and 98 men's programs. For the women, Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., had the highest GPA with a 3.47, while Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., won the award for the men's team with a GPA of 3.57.
"These awards are a true testament to the hard work our athletes put forth in the classroom," said head cross country coach Chris Zeller. "They each understand that the word 'student' comes first in student-athlete. The fact that both the men's and women's teams are recognized with this distinction is a credit to their collective work ethic."
Bridgmon was one of 91 female student-athletes representing 62 Division I institutions who were named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic team. To be eligible for the award student-athletes must carry a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point average and have completed a minimum 24 semester hours through the 2007 fall term. Additionally, the student-athletes must finish in the top 15 or be among the top ten percent of finishers at their respective NCAA regional meet, or receive All-American honors.
Bridgmon from Laramie, Wyo., competed at the NCAA Championships and finished 64th. She is the third female from EWU to compete at the championships and place better than 70th.
"I'm incredibly proud of Mattie and her individual recognition as a scholar-athlete," said Zeller. "The things she's been able to accomplish both in the classroom and in cross country and track have been amazing. She is most deserving as she not only excels in both arenas, but helps to make others better. And she is quite humble about the whole experience."
This year's EWU teams were coached by Zeller and included seven male athletes and eight women members including: Bridgmon, Nikki Buchholtz, Bowe Ebding, Kiri Garruto, Whitney Johnson, Tyler Justice, Tracy Kuhn, Paul Limpf, Andrew Marks, Samantha Modderman, Amber Nickelson, monica Prunty, Alex Smyth, Graham Vaux and Eric Walter.
As a team, the Eastern men placed seventh and the women had a best-ever finish of fourth at the 2007 Big Sky Conference Championships. Limpf led the men with a fifth-place finish. The women were led by Bridgmon and Modderman who finished fifth and tenth, respectively.