Men’s cross country ranks high in GPAs

Wildcats earn highest average GPA in Division II

Evelyn Knox, Staff Writer

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The Wayne State men’s cross country team recorded the top grade point average in NCAA Division II this past season with a 3.82 overall team GPA. The Wildcats received the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team award released from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, making it the ninth consecutive year that Wayne State has earned the Coaches’ Association All-Academic honor.

The 2019 men’s cross country team made up of Brock Hegarty, Nathan Hiemer, Bryce Holcomb, Jakob Kemper, Dylan Kessler, Will McGonigal, Nathan Pearson and Bailey Peckham all contributed to the 3.82 team GPA and will be named to the Presidential Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll on Sat., Feb. 15 during half-time of the men’s basketball game.

WSC was one of 11 teams from the NSIC to receive the All-Academic Award. In order for a college or university to qualify for the award, the institution must have at least a 3.00 team cumulative

GPA and have scored at a NCAA Division II regional competition during that season.

“We have a coach that stresses the importance of being students before athletes,” Holcomb said. “He [Marlon Brink] is very understanding when we need to miss practices due to academics. I think that having a coach that understands that academics come first helped us to excel in the classroom.”

The Wildcat men’s cross country team finished 24th overall in the NCAA Division II Central Regional Men’s Cross Country Championships held in Joplin, Missouri this past season. This was the best finish for the Wildcat men since 2016 with a 61 point improvement from the 2018 team score the previous season.

Peckham was the top runner for WSC with a 98th place finish out of 192 runners with a time of 33:20 on the 10,000-meter course. Peckham improved by 45 positions from last year and also improved his time by 38 seconds on the same course last year.

Wayne State finished 11th out of 14 teams with a score of 317 at the 2019 Northern Sun Conference Cross Country Championships this season. Peckham and Kessler were the top Wayne State finishers with 54th and 61st place finishes in the 8,000-meter course.

“The season went well, we lost a few key runners due to injuries but we didn’t let that bring us down and we came together to compete at our best,” Holcomb said. “During practices we were able to push each other and get the most out of ourselves throughout the season. We competed in six meets this year and improved our team scores from last year which is always a goal to have each season.”

Wayne State had two seniors on the roster for the 2019 season, Dylan Kessler from Apache Junction, Arizona and Nathan Pearson from Aurelia, Iowa.