In many instances, student-athletes carry a stigma of being all muscle and no brains. But the Utah State University track and field teams were both recognized for their smarts.
The teams were awarded Coaches Association Division I All-Academic Track & Field team accolades. The women’s team had a cumulative grade point average of 3.38 while the men had a 3.27 in the 2012-13 school year.
USU head track and cross-country coach Greg Gensel says he and his coaching staff can’t really take any credit for the success.
“You know I give all the credit for the GPAs to the athletes because they’re the ones that are in the classroom and doing the work,” Gensel said. “They are student-athletes. They’re here to get an education. So we try to recruit people that are taking, you know, the schooling serious.”
Men’s distance runner Kyle McKenna and women’s jumper Jodi Williams both also won individual honors from the association.
Gensel said he and his recruiters generally reach out to talented athletes who are serious about their studies.
“Student-athletes that are in any track program are not going to go on and make money in track and field,” Gensel said. “So they need to get an education so they have a degree of some interest that they can get a job in after they get done with their career.”
The 2013 USU cross-country teams will begin training for the upcoming season later this month.
Tavin Stucki is a senior in Utah State University's journalism program, and works as a news reporting intern at UPR. He lives for sports, and is the current editor in chief at The Utah Statesman.