Senior Todd Ptacek was an <i>ESPN The Magazine</i> Second Team Academic All-America&amp;reg; selection, it was announced Monday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Ptacek is the 11th Notre Dame men's track/cross country athlete to earn All-America and Academic All-America&amp;reg; status in the same season.

Two Irish Men's Track Athletes Earn ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America Honors

June 25, 2007

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Seniors Thomas Chamney (Tipperary, Ireland/St. Columba’s) and Todd Ptacek (Benton Harbor, Mich./Lake Michigan Catholic) have been named to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® Track/Cross Country Team, it was announced Monday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Chamney was a first-team selection this year, following on the heels of his third-team designation in 2006. Meanwhile, Ptacek added one final honor to his collegiate trophy case as a second-team selection, making the prestigious squad for the first time in his career. Notre Dame was one of six schools in the country to have at least two men’s track Academic All-Americans®, joining Florida State, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Tennessee and Wisconsin in that group (the latter two schools had three selections).

With Monday’s announcement, Chamney becomes the fifth Notre Dame men’s track & field athlete to be tabbed a two-time Academic All-American®, joining Jason Rexing (1997-98), Luke Watson (2002-03), Todd Mobley (2004-05) and Sean O’Donnell (2005-06). In addition, he is one of only four Irish male harriers to garner first-team Academic All-America® status, along with Errol Williams (1998), Watson (2003) and Mobley (2004-05). There have now been 13 Notre Dame men’s thinclads that have garnered the nation’s top collegiate academic honor a total of 17 times, with this being the third consecutive year the Irish have fielded multiple men’s Academic All-America® choices — Mobley and O’Donnell in 2005, and Chamney , O’Donnell and Tim Moore in 2006.

Notre Dame also has now fielded at least one Academic All-America® designee in men’s track & field in each of the past six seasons and 10 of 13 campaigns since 1995. As an institution, Notre Dame ranks second all-time with 180 Academic All-America® honorees, including eight during the 2006-07 academic year (with women’s track & field/cross country to be announced Wednesday).

Voting for the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® Team was conducted by CoSIDA, a 2,000-member organization consisting of sports public relations professionals for colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. To qualify, student-athletes must hold at least sophomore status, own a minimum GPA of 3.2 or better, and be a key contributor on the track for their team.

Chamney recently graduated from the College of Arts and Letters with a bachelor’s degree in English and a 3.56 cumulative grade-point average. On the track, Chamney successfully defended his BIG EAST Conference indoor 800-meter title this year, and went on to earn his third career All-America certificate with an eighth-place finish in the NCAA indoor final. He then advanced to the NCAA Mideast Regional in the 800 meters for the second consecutive year, earning all-region honors after placing seventh in the ’07 Mideast final (he won the ’06 regional title). Chamney closed out his college career as an 11-time all-BIG EAST selection (six outdoors/five indoors) and owner of the school’s outdoor 800-meter record (1:46.82 at a summer 2006 meet in Belgium). He also joined an elite club on Monday, becoming the second Notre Dame track & field/cross country athlete (male or female) ever to earn both All-America and Academic All-America® honors in the same season on two separate occasions (Watson was the first to do so in 2002 and 2003).

Ptacek (pronounced puh-TASS-ick) followed in Chamney’s footsteps this year as the 11th Irish men’s track/cross country athlete in program history to pull off the All-America/Academic All-America® double. He finished 13th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final (8:46.78) at the NCAA Championships earlier this month in Sacramento, Calif., becoming Notre Dame’s first All-America steeplechaser since Watson in 2002. A five-time all-BIG EAST selection, Ptacek also garnered his first all-region honor with a sixth-place showing in the steeplechase at the NCAA Mideast Regional in late May. Last week, he competed in the steeplechase at the AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Indianapolis, placing ninth in his preliminary heat (17th overall) with a time of 8:43.95.

In February, he anchored Notre Dame’s distance medley relay unit that finished ninth at the NCAA Indoor Championships, just missing the top-eight finish needed for All-America honors. What’s more, the Irish veteran was a co-captain on the Notre Dame men’s cross country team that was ranked as high as 12th nationally and made the program’s 14th NCAA Championship appearance in the past 17 years (placing 19th overall). Last month, Ptacek graduated from the College of Engineering with his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, having compiled a 3.80 cumulative GPA with five Dean’s List citations to his credit.

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