NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College men's and women's cross country teams continued to display the strong academic achievements in 2016 that they have come to show year in and year out, as both teams and eight of their student-athletes, four from each team, earned All-Academic distinction by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
On the men's side, senior captain Phil Harris (Plymouth, Mass.) garnered All-Academic honors for the third consecutive year, while junior Keith Steinbrecher (Wading River, N.Y.) takes home his second straight All-Academic award. They would be joined by juniors Christian Gentile (Melrose, Mass.) and Niall Coughlin (Castleton, N.Y.) each earning the honor for the first time.
For the women, senior captain Claire Aalerud (Winchester, Mass.) earned the distinction for the fourth time, garnering it each year at Merrimack. Junior Kylie Reardon (Billerica, Mass.) takes home her second straight All-Academic award, while sophomore Sophie Gorton (Plymouth, Mass.) and freshman Katherine Ferrara (Norfolk, Mass.) each garnered their first All-Academic honor.
The men's team's overall GPA for the fall semester finished at 3.19, while the women edged them with an impressive 3.34 team GPA. Both earned All-Academic Team distinction thanks to those efforts.
The individual All-Academic honor was awarded to those athletes who have compiled a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 and finished among the top 30 percent of eligible runners at his or her regional championships and/or the top half of the field at the NCAA Championships. In total, 404 women and 269 men from the 2016 NCAA Division II Cross Country season were named All-Academic Individuals. The 404 women came from 137 different programs, while the 269 men hailed from 118 different teams around the nation.
To earn All-Academic Team distinction, programs must have compiled a cumulative GPA or 3.00 or greater and scored at an NCAA Division II regional meet to qualify for the award. For 2016, 156 women's teams and 115 men's teams earned All-Academic honors from the USTFCCCA. Of those totals, 164 unique programs were recognized, including 110 schools that had both their women's and men's squads recognized.