Lars Benner Recognized as Academic All-American

Lars Benner Recognized as Academic All-American

AUSTIN, Texas – University of Tampa senior cross country runner Lars Benner was named a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American selection, as announced by the organization on Thursday.

Also named the Sunshine State Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Benner graduated with a 4.00 grade-point average in biochemistry. He was also a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree and four-time SSC Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient. He was also selected to the D2ADA Academic Achievement Team, received the AP Scholar with Distinction honor, earned UT's Science Student of the Year award, and graduated in the top one-percent of his class.
 
Benner finished first among all Spartans at the Florida State Invite, South Florida Invite, SSC Championship, and NCAA South Regional in 2016. Following an 8,000-meter time of 26:53.98 at the pre-conference meet to start the year, Benner improved his top-time by over a minute to 25:48.25 at the SSC Championship.
 
The Valrico, Fla., product has volunteered for Meals on Wheels, tutored math, and mentored abused and abandoned children during his time at the University of Tampa. Benner also donated his time teaching basketball and working as a camp counselor. 

He becomes the 52nd Academic All-American in the history of University of Tampa athletics, and the third of 2016-17, joining Vin Cosenzo (baseball) and Conor Whipple (men's lacrosse). He is also just the second men's cross country runner to earn the distinction and the first since Jeff Sargent in 1995.

Senior Natalie O'Keefe of Southwest Baptist University and senior Alejandro Garcia of Chadron State College headline the 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Men's and Women's Track & Field/Cross Country teams, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

O'Keefe has been selected as the recipient of the CoSIDA Academic All-America® of the Year award for Division II women's track & field/cross country, while Garcia has been tabbed the CoSIDA Academic All-America® of the Year award winner for Division II men's track & field/cross country.

The Division II Academic All-America® program is being financially supported by the NCAA Division II national governance structure to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2016-17 Division II Academic All-America® teams program.

An art major with an unblemished 4.00 G.P.A., O'Keefe is the second female student-athlete in the history of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association to be a two-time Ken. B. Jones Award winner, the highest award handed out by the MIAA. She is also a two-time NCAA Elite 90 Award winner, a four-time MIAA Scholar-Athlete and has twice been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Women's Track & Field/Cross Country first team (2015-16 and 2016-17).

The native of Granite City, Illinois, O'Keefe claimed two NCAA Division II national titles during her stellar four-year career with the Bearcats, winning the high jump title at both the 2016 and 2017 NCAA Division II Indoor Track Championships. She is a five-time NCAA Division II All-American, claiming at least one All-America honor during each year of her four-year career.

Garcia is a health and physical education major with a perfect 4.00 G.P.A. He is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Men's Track & Field/Cross Country first team selection (2015-16 and 2016-17), a two-time Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Academic Athlete of the Year and a four-time RMAC Summit Award winner.

The 2016 NCAA Division II Cross Country Elite 90 Award honoree earned USTFCCCA All-America second team honors in the 1,500 meters at the 2017 NCAA Division II Men's Outdoor Track Championship. The native of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, became the first Eagle in Chadron State history to qualify for the NCAA Division II Men's Cross Country Championship and the first to earn All-America honors in track and field.

Twenty of the 45 members of the 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Women's Track & Field/Cross Country teams have at least a 3.90 G.P.A., with nine student-athletes maintaining a perfect 4.00 G.P.A. The 15 members of the first team have an average G.P.A. of 3.90.

The 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Women's Track & Field/Cross Country teams consisted of 13 student-athletes who made repeat appearances on the team, including four student-athletes who received their third appearance on the list.

A native of Warren, Pennsylvania, Sabrina Anderson of Slippery Rock University is making her third CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Women's Track & Field/Cross Country listing, earning third-team honors in 2014-15 and first-team accolades in 2015-16 and 2016-17. An exercise science graduate with a 3.94 G.P.A. and a MBA student with a 4.00 graduate G.P.A., she earned All-America honors at both the NCAA Division II Indoor and Outdoor Track Championships and holds the PSAC all-time record in the pentathlon.

Kaitlyn Barber of Walsh University was a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country honoree during the 2015-16 season. The native of Toledo, Ohio, holds a 3.98 G.P.A. in pre-physical therapy (biology) and is a two-time All-American in the pole vault.

A native of Wadsworth, Ohio, Sarah Berger of Walsh is making her second-straight appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Women's Track & Field/Cross Country second team. A pre-med/biology major with a 3.90 G.P.A., Berger is a four-time All-American in track & field and all-region in four different sports (women's soccer, cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field) and is a member of the Walsh distance medley relay team that set a new program standard during the 2016-17 season.

Breanna Colbenson of University of Minnesota Duluth was named to the 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country second team. The native of Elmwood, Wisconsin, holds a 3.98 G.P.A. in physical education and is an eight-time All-American in cross country (three times) and track & field (five times). She has qualified for the national championship nine times during her career, capped by a runner-up finish in the steeplechase at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Women's Track Championship.

A native of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, Summer Hill of California University of Pennsylvania was named to the 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country second team, last season. The 2017 USTFCCCA Regional Indoor Track Athlete of the Year holds a 3.89 G.P.A. in sport management and is a three-time All-American in the 1,500 meters and the mile.

Alyssa Johnson of Wingate University is making her third appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Women's Track & Field/Cross Country listing, earning third-team honors in 2014-15 and first-team accolades in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The native of San Jose, California, holds a perfect 4.00 G.P.A. in elementary education and she won three South Atlantic Conference cross country titles.

A native of Ashland, Massachusetts, Carly Muscaro of Merrimack College is making her third CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Women's Track & Field/Cross Country listing, earning second-team honors in 2014-15 and first-team accolades in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The criminology major with a 3.88 G.P.A. is a three-time NCAA Division II national champion (2017 indoor 400 meters, 2016 indoor 400 meters and 2016 outdoor 400 meters) and a five-time USTFCCCA All-America first-team honoree.

Colett Rampf of Saint Leo University was named to the 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country second team, last season. The native of Premnitz, Germany, holds a 3.78 G.P.A. in economics and earned USTFCCCA All-America honors in cross country in 2015 and 2016.

A native of Black Hawk, South Dakota, Stachia Reuwsaat of Chadron State was named to the 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country third team, last season. The legal studies (pre law) major with a 3.97 G.P.A., claimed the 2017 national championship in the long jump at the NCAA Division II Indoor Women's Track Championship and was a four-time All-America during the 2016-17 season.

Emily Roberts of the University of Southern Indiana was named to the 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country third team. A native of Fredericktown, Ohio, Roberts holds a 3.82 G.P.A. in exercise science (occupational therapy) and was named the 2016 Great Lakes Valley Conference Runner of the Year after claiming the title at this season's GVLC Cross Country Championships.

A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Haylea Salamon of Lenoir-Rhyne University was named to the 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country second team. The 2015 and 2016 SAC Women's Field Athlete of the Year holds a 3.93 G.P.A., in exercise science.

Cheyenne Thompson of the University of Montevallo is making her third CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Women's Track & Field/Cross Country listing, after earning third-team honors each of the last two seasons. The biochemistry major with a perfect 4.00 G.P.A., is a native of Chelsea, Alabama, and was named the 2017 Peach Belt Conference Track Athlete of the Year and the PBC Elite 15 Award winner.

The other members of the CoSIDA Academic All-America® first team is comprised of Jamie Ashcroft of The University Alaska Anchorage, Bethany Drake of Western Washington University, Olivia Esbenshade of Cedarville University, Lacey Herbert of Oklahoma Baptist University, Carsyn Koch of Cedarville University, Marissa McCay of Humboldt State University, and Georgia Porter of Western State Colorado University.

The other members of the CoSIDA Academic All-America® second team includes Thalie Carmigniani of Lynn University, Michaela Dendinger of Wayne State (Neb.) College, Kendra Foley Grand Valley State University, Mel Herl of Chadron State, Brittany Kallenberger of the University of Central Missouri, Alicja Konieczek of Western State, Molly Montonye of Minnesota State University Moorhead, Emily Sechrist of Oklahoma Baptist University, Kendra Smith of Lindenwood University and Emi Trost of Minnesota Duluth.

The CoSIDA Academic All-America® third team features Laura Aceves of California State University, San Bernardino, Adriana Carrasco and Christine Volz of Southern Connecticut State University, Emily Everitt of the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Julie Friend of California (Pa.), Valerie Griesche of Wingate, Shakera Hall of Saint Augustine's University, Emily Mauch of Maryville (Mo.) University, Casey Norton of Shippensburg University, Kami Norton of Angelo State University, Jessica Reeves of Southern Indiana, Sydni Riley of Colorado State University–Pueblo, Karrington Seals of Wayne State (Mich.) University, Eileen Stressling of Azusa Pacific University, and Laura Tarantino of Truman State University.

Twenty-three of the 45 members of the 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Men's Track & Field/Cross Country teams have at least a 3.90 G.P.A., with six student-athletes maintaining a perfect 4.00 G.P.A. The 15 members of the first team have an average G.P.A. of 3.88.

The 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Men's Track & Field/Cross Country teams consisted of 11 student-athletes who made repeat appearances on the team, including two student-athletes who received their third appearance on the list.

A native of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, Caleb Barlett of Shippensburg was a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country honoree during the 2015-16 season. The criminal justice major with a 3.80 G.P.A., is a two-time All-American in the hammer, finishing 10th at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track Championships in 2016 and in sixth place in the same event in 2017.

Luke Goodspeed of Harding University is making his third CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Men's Track & Field/Cross Country listing, earning third-team honors in 2014-15 and first-team accolades in 2015-16 and 2016-17. A native of Houston, Texas, the accounting major with a perfect 4.00 G.P.A., was a two-time All-GAC honoree and a three-time selection to the All-GAC Academic team.

A native of St. Ann, Jamaica, Omar Johnson of Saint Augustine's was a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country honoree during the 2015-16 season. The physical education major with a 3.40 G.P.A., earned All-America honors in the 200 and 400 meters, helping Saint Augustine's capture its fifth-straight national title at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Men's Track Championship. He claimed two national titles in 2015 (indoor 4x400 relay team and outdoor 400 meters).

Ryan Lutterloh of Oklahoma Christian University was a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country honoree during the 2015-16 season. The native of Puyallup, Washington, was one of nine Oklahoma Christian graduates to finish their careers with a 4.00 G.P.A., earning his degree in mechanical engineering. He was NCCAA indoor distance medley relay champion and a Great American Conference first-team honoree as part of the 4x400 relay team.

A native of Norman, Oklahoma, Colin Pasque of Southern Nazarene University is making his second-straight appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country first team. A biology/chemistry major with a 3.95 G.P.A., Pasque is an NCAA Elite 90 Award winner and earned All-America honors following a fourth-place showing at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Men's Track Championship in the pole vault.

Ben Schneiderman of Colorado School of the Mines was a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country honoree during the 2015-16 season. The native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, holds a 3.99 G.P.A. in chemical engineering and earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors after leading the Orediggers to the program's first-ever cross country regional title.

A native of Paramus, New Jersey, Mike Secreti of Felician University was a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country honoree during the 2015-16 season. A psychology major with a 3.99 G.P.A., Secreti is a two-time CACC Top XV Award winner, giving to the student-athlete with the highest G.P.A. at the conference championship cross country meet.

Jacob VanHouten of Slippery Rock University was a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country honoree during the 2015-16 season. The native of Youngsville, Pennsylvania, earned All-America honors in the 400 meter hurdles in 2016 and repeated as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference 400 meter hurdles champion in 2017 before finishing his exercise science degree with a 3.56 G.P.A.

A native of Columbia Falls, Montana, Derrick Williams of Colorado State–Pueblo is making his second-straight appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country first team. Williams captured the NCAA Elite 90 Award at the 2017 NCAA Division II Indoor Track Championship after he maintained a 3.99 G.P.A. in biology and exercise science. On the track, he earned a pair of All-America honors in the men's indoor 3,000 meters and distance medley relay during his career at CSU – Pueblo.

Alex Zubko of East Stroudsburg University is making his third appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Track & Field/Cross Country teams, earning third-team honors in 2014-15 and his first of two first-team selections in 2015-16. The native of Dallas, Pennsylvania, completed his undergraduate degree in exercise science with a 3.95 G.P.A., and currently holds a 4.00 G.P.A. as a graduate student. Zubko was East Stroudsburg's second leading scorer at the 2017 NCAA Division II Men's Cross Country Championship and was the 2015 PSAC Outdoor Track & Field Champion Scholar.

Other members of the CoSIDA Academic All-America® first team are Dante Carter of Colorado State – Pueblo, Austin Hogan of the University of Indianapolis, Rafal Matuszczak of Saint Leo, Chris May of Grand Valley State, and David Reinhardt of Slipper Rock University.

The CoSIDA Academic All-America® second team includes Lars Benner of the University of Tampa, Chase Broughton of Southern Indiana, Jon Cok of Ferris State University, Jonathan Dahlke of the University of Mount Olive, Mark Hamalian of Stonehill College, Wyatt Hartman of Cedarville, Baylor Harvey of Rogers State University, Bryce Martin of Texas A&M University–Kingsville, Donte McDaniel of Fresno Pacific University, Jordan Morton of Pittsburg State University, Corey Reid of Azusa Pacific, Shawn Rowe of Saint Augustine's, Jacob Troutman of Wingate, and Andrew Worley of Oklahoma Baptist.

The CoSIDA Academic All-America® third team features Erik Alatalo and Tim Bolick of Bentley University, Josh Barrows and Zach Tuschen of Augustana (S.D.) University, Lawson Belcher of Harding, Austin Cary and Scott Whitaker of Malone University, Haregot Gebreyesus of Benedict College, Derek Lahm of Wayne State (Neb.), Aaron Morgan of California (Pa.), Daniel Neiswender of Bloomsburg, Jason Saliga of Michigan Technological University, Henning Schein of Armstrong State University, Tanner Stepp of Carson-Newman University, and Tim Usher of Shippensburg.