ELMHURST, Ill. – With the conclusion of the 2013 Summit League Cross Country Championships, the league has announced its Cross Country Academic All-League Teams as voted on by the seven institution's faculty athletics representatives and sports information directors. A combined 10 student-athletes, five men and five women, were named to the two teams and honored for their combined athletic and academic performances this season. Three of the student-athletes received the honor for the second-straight year, while three boast a perfect 4.00 grade-point average (GPA).
South Dakota received a league-high three selections on the men's team. Representing the Coyotes were Brant Haase, Jeff Mettler and Mubarik Musa. Haase, a health science/pre-pharmacy major with a perfect 4.0 GPA, was named to the all-league first team after a seventh-place finish (25:14.15) at the championships. Mettler, a two-time Academic All-League honoree, clocked a season-best 8k time of 25:31.61 at the championships meet and also holds a perfect 4.0 GPA in kinesiology and sports science. Musa, a criminal justice major with a 3.625 GPA, finished runner-up at The Summit League Championships with a season-best 8k time of 24:57.41 and was named to the all-league first team, earning all-league honors for the second-straight season.
IUPUI's Joey Zielinski and North Dakota State's Brett Kelly rounded out the men's team. Zielinkski is a computer engineering major with a 3.53 GPA, who recorded a third-place finish (24:59.45) at the championships and was named to the all-league first team. Kelly, a biochemistry and molecular biology major with a 3.65 GPA, earned his second consecutive Academic All-League honor after placing eighth (25:15.35) at the league meet and receiving all-league second team honors.
On the women's team, North Dakota State led the way with three selections. The Bison trio was made up of Abbi Aspengren, Maddie McClellan and Brecca Wahlund. Aspengren holds a perfect 4.00 GPA in nursing and collected her second-straight Academic All-League honor after earning all-league first team honors with a seventh-place finish (21:55.63) at the league meet. McClellan, an English education major with a perfect 4.00 GPA, took third (21:48.01) at the championships, garnering all-league first team honors for the second consecutive season. Wahlund, the 2013 individual Summit League Champion and Championship MVP, is an exercise science major with a 3.86 GPA. She clocked a winning 6k time of 21:24.22 at the championships to lead NDSU to its third-straight Summit League title and earned all-league first team honors for the second season in a row.
Rounding out the women's team were IUPUI's Rachel Zajac and South Dakota State's Cheyanne Bowers. Zajac, a five-time Athlete of the Week selection and an applied communications major with a 3.89 GPA, tied the league record for weekly honors in a season and took 10th (22:15.68) at the league meet to receive all-league second team honors. Bowers finished second (21:34.38) at the championships, earning an all-league first-team selection and is an exercise science major with a 3.745 GPA.
To be eligible for the Academic All-League team, a student-athlete must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.30 (on a 4.0 scale), completed at least one full academic year at the current institution and participated in 50 percent of their team's competitions. The cross country all-league teams are made up of the five student-athletes receiving the most votes with all ties standing.
Cross Country Academic All-League Teams
Brant Haase, South Dakota
Brett Kelly, North Dakota State
Jeff Mettler, South Dakota
Mubarik Musa, South Dakota
Joey Zielinski, IUPUI
Abbi Aspengren, North Dakota State
Cheyanna Bowers, South Dakota State
Maddie McClellan, North Dakota State
Brecca Wahlund, North Dakota State
Rachel Zajac, IUPUI
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
In its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions, 62 All-Americans and 50 Academic All-America selections.