2018 NCAA DII Cross Country Individual Academic Awards
NEW ORLEANS – CSU-Pueblo athlete Marcelo Laguera and Grand Valley State athlete Sarah Berger were named the NCAA Division II Cross Country Scholar Athletes of the Year, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Thursday.
Both athletes won their gender’s respective individual titles at the 2018 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships and carried the hard work from the course into the classroom, where they were standout students as well.
There were 649 student-athletes who earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors with the women accounting for 58.4 percent of the total (379). No program had more total individuals honored than Western Colorado and Colorado Mines, who each had 12. Multiple programs around the country had 11 athletes selected.
In order to qualify for this honor, student-athletes must have compiled a cumulative grade points 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 Championship meet.
Past NCAA DII Scholar Athletes of the Year
|2017||James Ngandu||Tiffin||Caroline Kurgat||Alaska Anchorage|
|2016||Vincent Kiprop||Missouri Southern||Kendra Foley||Grand Valley State|
|2015||Vicent Kiprop||Missouri Southern||Kendra Foley||Grand Valley State|
|2014||Tabor Stevens||Adams State||Jessica Janecke||Grand Valley State|
|2013||Tabor Stevens||Adams State||Jennifer Agnew||U-Mary|
|2012||Micah Chelimo||Alaska Anchorage||Alicia Nelson||Adams State|
|2011||Ryan Haebe||Western State||Nelly Spence||Shippensburg|
|2010||Jeff Veiga||UMass Lowell||Nelly Spence||Shippensburg|
|2009||Reuben Mwei||Adams State||Jessica Pixler||Seattle Pacific|
|2008||Aaron Braun||Adams State||Jessica Pixler||Seattle Pacific|
|2007||Aaron Braun||Adams State||Jessica Pixler||Seattle Pacific|
|2006||Kim Hogarth||Western State||Esther Komen||Western State|
Laguera had a stellar season for the Thunderwolves that included the aforementioned NCAA title and a runner-up finish at the South Central Region Championships. The senior engineering major also collected wins at the Colorado College Invitational and the Lewis Crossover. He finished no worse than second in the six cross country races he competed in this season.
Laguera is the first athlete in CSU-Pueblo program history to win the award. He was also the first athlete in school history to capture an individual NCAA crown.
Berger not only won the NCAA individual title, she also paced the Lakers to team glory they won their sixth NCAA team title in program history.
The physician assistant studies graduate student ended her season with three consecutive victories that included the NCAA Championships, the Midwest Region Championships and the GLIAC Championships. She was just the third athlete in program history to win an NCAA individual cross country title.
Berger is the third athlete in program history to earn the Scholar Athlete of the Year award. She joins Kendra Foley (2015 and 2016) and Jessica Janecke (2014) as honorees. GVSU athletes have now won the award in four of the past five seasons.
See below for the full list of student-athletes honored by the USTFCCCA.