|XC boasts academic honors|
NEW ORLEANS - University of Idaho men's and women's cross country got it done on the field, and on Wednesday, they proved they take care of business in the classroom, as well.
Both Vandal squads were honored with the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I All-Academic Team award on Thursday.
Among the 192 women's institutions honored on Wednesday, Idaho's 3.63 cumulative team grade-point average ranked 12th.
"It means a lot," Idaho head coach Wayne Phipps said of the award. "It's one of our goals to win a conference championship, and also to be above a 3.0 GPA, but maybe we set the goal a little bit low this year - a 3.63 GPA is a huge attribute to their hard work in the classroom."
The Vandal men posted a 3.36 team GPA to earn a spot among the 152 so honored men's teams.
"These guys brought a lot of effort, proved a great deal this year and had a lot of really good individual performances, so for them to add the balance of excelling in the classroom is very important," Phipps said.
To be included on the list, a team must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better and start a full team at its respective NCAA Regional Championship meet.
Idaho's women's team GPA was the highest among the six Western Athletic Conference schools honored. The Vandal women won the WAC title, their third in six seasons, in Moscow on Oct. 30 after placing four runners in the top 11.
On the men's side, Idaho's GPA was the second-highest among the four WAC men's programs honored. For the women, it was Idaho's highest finish on the list since 2008, when their 3.73 team GPA was the third-best out of 160 schools honored.
"At the University of Idaho, we take our academics very seriously, and it's no different with our track and field and cross country programs," Phipps said. "To be able to excel at a very high level in both areas is very important in our program."
Since 2005, Idaho's women have earned the USTFCCCA team honor every year except 2009, when the Vandals posted a 3.32 team GPA, but didn't compete a full team at the NCAA West Regional. The men's team has been honored every year since 2005.