Feb. 14, 2014
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The University of Michigan women's cross country team secured U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I All-Academic team honors for the third straight year, while freshman Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) and junior Brook Handler (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester) each earned individual All-Academic recognition, the association announced on Friday (Feb. 14).
To qualify as a USTFCCCA All-Academic Cross Country Team, the team must have had a cumulative team grade-point average of 3.00 or better and have started at least five runners at its respective NCAA regional championship. The Wolverines earned the award for the third straight season, combining for a team GPA of 3.28. Providence, the 2013 national runner up, was selected as the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Women's Scholar Team of the Year.
Finn and Handler were in Michigan's top five at every meet during the 2013 season. The pair helped the Wolverines finish runner up at the Big Ten Championships, win their third straight NCAA Great Lakes Region title and record their best national championship finish since 2006, when they took fourth.
To qualify for the All-Academic award, a student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade-point average of 3.25 or better and have either earned USTFCCCA All-America status or finished in the NCAA region's top 15 (or top 10 percent) in 2013.
Finn, a first-year engineering student, became just the third freshman to ever win the individual Big Ten title and the first U-M freshman to clinch the conference crown since 1994. She was named Big Ten Athlete and Freshman of the Year and also earned All-Big Ten first team accolades for her winning performance. Finn followed up her conference victory with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, where she earned All-Great Lakes Region honors, and took 30th at the NCAA Championships to become the first All-America first team member from U-M since 2009.
Handler, who is also enrolled in the School of Engineering, majoring in chemical engineering, earned a spot on the All-Academic list for the second straight year. The co-captain took seventh at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, to collect All-Great Lakes Region distinction and help the Maize and Blue defend its title for the third time in as many years. Her 64th-place finish at the national championships was the best of her career and led U-M to fourth place and a spot on the podium.
The Wolverine duo was joined by 127 other female student-athletes from 78 institutions who received the honor. Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino was named the USTFCCCA Division I Cross Country Women's Scholar Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Finn, Handler and the entire U-M travel squad from the 2013 postseason will return to compete for the Wolverines during the 2014 season.
Contact: Whitney Dixon (firstname.lastname@example.org)