March 8, 2005

Notre Dame, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams were recently honored for outstanding academic achievement by the United States Cross County Coaches Association (USCCCA) as both programs ranked among the nation’s best in combined grade-point average for the fall 2004 semester.

In a ranking of the nation’s top performing teams in the classroom, the Irish women’s team earned the USCCCA’s All-Academic “Team With Distinction” honor as one of only six schools in the nation to post a combined GPA of 3.4 or higher during fall 2004. The survey takes into account only athletes who competed (or used eligibility) during the fall semester. By that measure, the women’s team posted a combined GPA of 3.40 for the purposes of the survey. The men’s team posted a GPA of 3.28 for the survey (all student-athletes who competed in the semester) and ranked among the 19 teams designated an All-Academic Team by the USCCCA.

The Irish women, who won the BIG EAST Conference Championship and placed fourth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November, were led in the classroom by eight student-athletes who achieved Dean’s List standing – Rebecca Antas (3.765 GPA), Christi Arnerich (3.681), Kathleen Coverick (3.800), Rachel Heneghan (3.863), Loryn King (3.635), Sunni Olding (3.941), Jennifer Richard (3.896) and Elizabeth Webster (3.703). Overall, 20 of the 25 members of the women’s cross country team achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher during the semester. As a team, the women’s cross country posted a combined GPA of 3.490 for the fall 2004 semester (for all athletes, including those who did not run in a competition). That team GPA was the highest of any Notre Dame team during the semester.

The men’s team, which placed 11th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, posted a combined GPA of 3.249 for the semester while boasting six student-athletes who achieved Dean’s List status — Dan Curran (3.800), Adam Currie (3.804), Tim Loh (3.333), Mike Popejoy (3.867) and Todd Ptacek (3.769). Also, Sean O’Donnell achieved a GPA of 3.854 while majoring in Engineering and working on a Master’s in Business Administration. As a team the Irish men, were second in the BIG EAST Conference Championships while 20 of 29 student-athletes posted a GPA of 3.0 or higher during the semester.