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    Cross Country Team Earns National Academic Honors

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 27, 2008

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) recently announced its Academic All-American teams and individuals, which included Notre Dame's Patrick Smyth and Jake Wilson.

    The Notre Dame men's cross country team was honored as one of the USTFCCCA's All-Academic Cross Country squads, while Smyth and Wilson were two of the sixty student-athletes honored with the Academic All-American status. Iona College won the award for the top men's team after finishing with a 3.00 team GPA and a second place finish at the NCAA Championships.

    "It was a very good year for the team, and these two individuals had a marvelous season for us," said Irish head coach Joe Piane. "Patrick was not only our number one runner and an NCAA regional champion, but he's a fine student. He's certainly got the total package working in his favor. Jake ran exceptionally well for us throughout the season and is a fine student himself. Both he and Patrick epitomize what being a student-athlete at Notre Dame is all about."

    Smyth, originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, finished 15th in a field of the top 250 collegiate distance runners at the 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championship. The junior's finish earned him his second cross country All-America accolade and third All-American accolade of his career with the Irish after earning the honor on the track side. Smyth finished with a time of 30:05.4 on the 10K course while Walker, a sophomore from Ellwood City, Pa., trailed him with a mark of 31:24.7.

    Smyth also won the 2007 NCAA Great Lakes Regional individual title to lead Notre Dame to a third-place finish at the event, just eight points shy of first place. He took the crown with authority, clocking in at 30:22.44 while second-place finisher Matt Withrow of Wisconsin finished with a time of 30:38.42. In claiming the top spot at the fall meet, Smyth became just the second runner in Notre Dame history to capture a regional championship individual title.

     

     

    Twenty-three of Notre Dame's athletic programs achieved grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher during the fall 2007 semester. Meanwhile, Notre Dame's entire student-athlete population (688 individuals) combined for a 3.196 GPA, marking the ninth consecutive semester Irish athletes have combined for a semester average of 3.145 or higher. One hundred and seven (107) student-athletes qualified for the Dean's List for the fall 2007 semester, the highest figure among the most recent seven semesters at Notre Dame.

    Notre Dame held the 21st spot in the final set of fall sports standings released in the 2007-08 United States Sports Academy Division I Directors' Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (formerly known as Sears Directors' Cup). Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 188 points - 32 based on their 21st-place finish in men's cross country, 83 for Notre Dame's national semifinal appearance in women's soccer, and 73 for its national quarterfinal appearance in men's soccer.

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