Feb. 25, 2013
NEW ORLEANS – Matt Johnsen joined an exclusive club on Monday as the senior became just the third Lamar athlete in school history to earn consecutive All-Academic honors from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“This type of recognition for Matt shows how disciplined he is in approaching both school and athletics,” cross country coach Darren Gauson said. “He’s both an All-American and Academic All-American, and that’s the kind of balance that you love to have in a student-athlete. Matt really works hard, and I’m very happy that he’s being recognized for it.”
“I’m a student first and an athlete second,” Johnsen said. “Getting this kind of an award is an honor and it feels like a validation for the work that I’ve put in here at Lamar.”
A native of Broulee, Australia, Johnsen is coming off of a 2012 campaign that saw him finish 33rd at the NCAA Championships and earn All-American honors in the process.
Johnsen, who took home the same accolades a year ago, was one of 67 to be honored by the USTFCCCA and the only one hailing from the Southland Conference. He was also one of just three from the state of Texas, joining Texas’ Kyle Merber and UTEP’s Anthony Rotich.
Former Cardinals Samuel Kosgei and Clerc Koenck are the only other two LU athletes to garner the recognition on multiple occasions. Kosgei accomplished the feat following both the 2007 and 2008 cross country seasons, and Koenck did for both track and cross country in 2007 and once more for track in 2008.
Sam Stabler, Joe Wade and Tom Wade each grabbed a spot on the track all-academic team last year.
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.
In addition to Johnsen’s individual achievement, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams were honored for their respective academic accomplishments. The women were one of five Southland schools selected and carried a league-best 3.54 team GPA. The men were one of four conference members and boasted of a 3.24 team mark, which also led the conference.
“It’s a great honor to see both teams get honored for their academics,” Gauson said. “Academics are first and foremost for me, and I want to make sure that everyone graduates with as good a GPA as possible. Track and cross country doesn’t last forever. I want to make sure that our athletes are in a good position after graduation from Lamar.”