Cross Country Standout, Teams Earn Postseason Academic Awards
Springfield, Ohio — For the third straight year, Wittenberg cross country standout Mary Pfeifer, class of 2012 from Dublin, Ohio, has been named to the NCAA Division III United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team. In addition, both the Tiger men's and women's cross country squads earned recognition as USTFCCCA All-Academic teams for a fifth consecutive year.
Pfeifer became just the second Wittenberg women's cross country runner in program history to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships three straight years, finishing in the top 100 nationally in 2009, 2010 and 2011. To earn a spot on the All-Academic Team, Pfeifer maintained a cumulative grade point average above 3.3 while finishing among the top 35 competitors in the 2010 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region championships.
A biology major, Pfeifer earned first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) honors in each of her four collegiate seasons while leading the Tigers to their best league and regional finishes ever in 2009 – second in the NCAC meet and seventh in the Great Lakes Regional. She also finished her collegiate career as a three-time all-region honoree and national qualifier.
"Earning this team academic award is one of our goals at the start of every season," said Head Coach Craig Penney. "The balance of academic and athletic performance and success is very important. It is something that we as coaches stress to student-athletes and their parents from the moment that they arrive at Wittenberg."
Photo by Erin Pence
Both the Tiger men's and women's teams earned All-Academic Team awards for their collective performances in the classroom. The Tiger women were among 187 NCAA Division III programs to receive the honor, while the Tiger men were among 131 Division III programs to make the list. To be considered, a team must have competed and compiled a team score at an NCAA regional meet while earning a minimum team cumulative grade point average of 3.10.
Wittenberg's women placed fifth in the NCAC and then finished strong 11th at the 2011 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region championship meet. On the men's side, Wittenberg finished ninth in the conference and 26th in the regional competition. Team members did the job in the classroom as well, with the women compiling a 3.34 team grade point average and the men posting a 3.17 team grade point average.
The USTFCCCA includes more than 8,000 coaching members of all three NCAA divisions as well as high schools from across the country. The organization serves as an advocate for cross country and track and field coaches, providing leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership.
Written By: Ryan Maurer