Feb. 14, 2014
BEAUMONT – The Lamar men’s and women’s cross country teams had an athletic season to remember in 2013, picking up a pair of Southland Championships, but the teams also experienced a strong one academically as both teams were named All-Academic by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Ash Harrell, Matt Johnsen and Leigh Lattimore each earned individual honors.
Johnsen, who took home his first-ever individual conference title at the conference championships, was a national qualifier for the fourth consecutive year and earned the academic honors a third straight time, a record for the Lamar program. A December graduate of LU’s kinesiology program, Johnsen posted a grade point average of 3.40.
Harrell, who earned Southland Newcomer of the Year, also qualified for nationals. The Dereham, England, native is currently pursuing a master’s degree in kinesiology and carried a GPA of 3.44.
Both were the only Southland athletes to make the list of 72 to earn individual accolades, and they made up half of the Texas representatives, joining Texas’ Chris Galvin and UTEP’s Anthony Rotich.
Lattimore, also a graduate student, carried a 3.33 GPA in kinesiology and finished second at the Southland’s meet, earning Newcomer of the Year honors in the process.
Lattimore joined Central Arkansas’ Brook Cassar as the only Southland athletes on the list. Individually, 129 earned the designation and just five other athletes from the state of Texas were honored as such.
In order to attain All-Academic status, an athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or better to go along with either USTFCCCA All-American honors or a top 15 finish in his or her respective region.
As a team, LU was one of four teams in the Southland Conference to earn All-Academic status as a team. Central Arkansas, Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi were the others.
With a team GPA of 3.62, the LU women posted the highest mark in the conference and the second-best in the state of Texas, trailing Rice with a 3.67.
The men carried a GPA of 3.24.