COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (December 15, 2015) – Colorado State University-Pueblo men's cross country sophomore Derrick Williams (Columbia Falls, Mont.) has been named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Academic Men's Runner of the Year, announced by the conference office Tuesday.
Williams, who holds a 3.98 GPA in biology, guided a group of six total members of the men's and women's cross country teams to be honored. Five members of the women's team were recognized, as juniors Bailey Hughes (Bigfork, Mont.) and Jordan Mathes (Boise, Idaho) were named Women's Cross Country Academic All-RMAC First Team. Hughes owns a 3.90 GPA in liberal studies, while Mathes holds a 3.92 in nursing.
Recognized on the honor roll were, seniors Sydni Riley (3.99 GPA in psychology, sociology, criminology, Florissant, Colo.) and Shelby Sweeney (3.93 GPA in english, Worland, Wyo.) and sophomore Rachael Lopez (3.68 GPA in general exercise science, Fort Lupton, Colo.).
To be eligible for consideration for Academic All-RMAC, a student-athlete must carry a 3.30 cumulative grade point average and must have been an active student at the institution for at least two consecutive semesters or three consecutive quarters.
All student-athletes that meet those requirements, but were not voted First Team All-Academic, automatically qualify for the Honor Roll. Academic runners of the year and first team award winners were voted upon by the league's sports information directors.
Williams guided the men's team in 2015, as he earned a spot at the NCAA Division II Championships and crossed the finish line in 30:06.9 to place 14th in the 10K race to earn All-American honors. The sophomore finished in the top three at all four meets before the RMAC Championships, including two victories. He was 10th at the regional meet to earn a spot as an individual at the national championships.
The All-American honor was the first by a member of the Pack since 1979, while his time in the 10K established a new program record.
On the women's side, Hughes guided the ThunderWolves with four top five finishes and two meet victories. She was 10th at the RMAC Championships and finished 13th at the regional meet to earn a spot as an individual at the NCAA Division II Championships. She ran the 6K in 21:55.8 to place 71st among 247 runners.
Mathes recorded two top five finishes this season and one top 15 finish. She ran a season-best 23:01.5 6K at the NCAA South Central Region Championships to place 51st.
Both the men's and women's teams sent two athletes to the NCAA Championships in 2015. The appearance was the first for the men's team at the Division II level, while the last time a member of the women's team appeared at the national championships was 2007. The Pack women finished sixth at the regional meet, while the men posted a 10th place finish.
Freshman Marcelo Laguera (Chihuahua, Mexico) also earned All-American status at the NCAA Championships. Five members of the teams were all-region, as Hughes and sophomore Miriam Roberts (Boulder, Colo.) represented the women and Williams, Laguera and sophomore Ben Vaughn (Great Falls, Mont.) were honored for the men.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.