Ten Individuals and Women's Team Named USTFCCCA All-Academic
NEW ORLEANS – The University at Albany track & field program landed 10 individual All-Academic honorees, six women and four men, for the 2017-18 season, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association announced Thursday. Additionally, the women’s team earned team All-Academic honors for the fourth-straight year.
The women’s team collectively earned a 3.12 GPA during the 2017-18 academic year, nearly matching the program-high 3.14 GPA the 2016-17 All-Academic honored team earned one year ago.
Among the individual honorees, which include Tara Belinsky, Walter Briggs, Taahira Butterfield, Jahari Coleman, Kyle Gronostaj, Anika Hibbard, Adrian Mitchell, Tyler Ranke, Hannah Reinhardt, and Cara Sherman, Hibbard and Mitchell are repeat track & field honorees, while Gronostaj and Reinhardt earned individual All-Academic recognition in the fall following the latest cross country season.
Belinsky, a senior thrower from Locust Valley, N.Y., earned a 3.82 GPA studying Communications. Belinsky ranked 88th nationally in the shot put during the indoor season, recording a personal-best and school record mark of 50-00.00, becoming the first woman in program history to hit the 50’ barrier. She won the shot put at the America East Outdoor Championships.
Briggs, a junior 400m hurdler from Kingston, N.Y., earned a 3.64 GPA studying Business Administration. Briggs earned All-America Honorable Mention honors in his signature event at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he placed 19th overall. In his first season as a Great Dane, Briggs also won the 500m at the America East Indoor Championships, as well as the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay at the America East Outdoor Championships.
Butterfield, a senior sprinter from Devonshire, Bermuda, earned a 3.45 GPA studying Accounting. Butterfield was the leadoff runner on UAlbany's record-breaking 4x100m relay team. After placing third in the 200m at the America East Indoor Championships, she led off the first UAlbany women's relay team to break 45 seconds with a 44.92 effort at the UTech Classic in Jamaica. Her team followed up that performance by placing third in the Pen Relays Championship of America in 44.83. At the America East Outdoor Championships, Butterfield placed third in both the 100m and the 200m, and would go on to lead off her 4x100m relay one final time at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships.
Coleman, a sophomore sprinter from Albany, N.Y., earned a 3.38 GPA studying Journalism. Coleman served as the first alternate on the record-breaking women’s 4x100m relay team during the season, and was a member of the 4x200m relay team, alongside Butterfield, that placed seventh overall at Penn Relays in a school-record time of 1:36.62.
Gronostaj, a senior distance runner from East Greenbush, N.Y., earned a 3.58 GPA studying Business Administration. Gronostaj became the first Great Dane in program history to break 30 minutes in the 10,000m, running 29:32.41 at the Virginia Challenge in April. At the America East Outdoor Championships, he placed second in the 10,000m and third in the 5,000m, before placing third in the 5,000m at IC4A Outdoor Championships in an outdoor school-record 14:16.14.
Hibbard, a junior high jumper from Bedford, N.H., earned a 3.40 GPA studying Emergency Preparedness – Homeland Security & Cyber Security and Sociology. This is Hibbard’s third-straight USTFCCCA All-Academic individual honor in three years of eligibility. Hibbard swept the America East high jump titles during the season, winning at both Indoor and Outdoor Championships, and further claimed victory in the high jump at ECAC Outdoor Championships.
Mitchell, a sophomore javelin thrower from Kingston, Jamaica, earned a 3.29 GPA studying Economics. The freshman class record-holder and program #2 javelin thrower after his first year at UAlbany, Mitchell placed second in the javelin at the America East Outdoor Championships.
Ranke, a senior distance runner from Rochester, N.Y., earned a 3.50 GPA studying Criminal Justice. Ranke enjoyed a resurgent season in 2017-18, breaking through following a long injury recovery period to set a personal best in the 3,000m steeplechase for the first time since his freshman season to claim the America East Outdoor title.
Reinhardt, a sophomore distance runner from Clarence, N.Y., earned a 3.30 GPA studying Accounting and Business Administration. Reinhardt won the 5,000m and placed third in the 3,000m at the America East Indoor Championships. Outdoors, she set the outdoor school record in the 3,000m at the Penn Relays, placed second in the 10,000m at the America East Outdoor Championships, and won the 5,000m at ECAC Outdoor Championships.
Sherman, a junior distance runner from Rotterdam, N.Y., earned a 3.90 GPA studying Mathematics and Biology. Sherman placed second in both the 3,000m and the 5,000m at the America East Indoor Championships, and set the indoor school record in the 3,000m to finish third at ECAC Indoor Championships. Outdoors, Sherman placed third in the 10,000m at the America East Outdoor Championships.
Scholar Team of the Year awards went to the Florida men and Georgia women for the indoor season, and to the Georgia men and the Southern California women during the outdoor season. A total of 361 teams earned All-Academic recognition. The University of San Francisco women topped all teams with a 3.76 GPA, while Libscomb University and Marist College led all men’s teams with a matching 3.53 cumulative GPA.
Individually, Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer earned her second-straight indoor Scholar Track Athlete of the Year award, joined by Arkansas’ Lexi Jacobus earning her first Scholar Field Athlete of the Year. Outdoors, both Boise State’s Allie Ostrander and Georgia’s Keturah Orji repeated as Scholar Track and Scholar Field Athletes of the Year, respectively. For the men, Southern California’s Michael Norman and Colorado State’s Mostafa Hassan were named indoor Scholar Athletes, and the outdoor awards went to Michigan’s Ben Flanagan and Memphis’ Luke Vaughn.
In total, 874 women and 624 men earned individual All-Academic accolades.