Nanooks win conference title for academics for fifth time in eight years
Submitted by Jamie Foland
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference has announced that the Alaska Nanooks men's cross country team has been named the 2008-09 academic team champion with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30.
The cumulative GPA was second highest amongst the GNAC's men's teams. The Blue and Gold just missed bragging rights for top team GPA by a men's team, which was taken by Northwest Nazarene's men's basketball team's 3.35 overall GPA. NNU posted the best team grade point averages in two other sports in sweeping the 2008-09 GNAC Academic All-Sports titles for the second year in a row. For the Nanooks, this year's award marks the fifth time they have claimed the crown in the last eight years.
"We are proud of our student-athletes and their commitment to their school work," said head coach Scott Jerome. "We've always made academics a priority and this is just a continuation of a tradition that we have here."
That tradition includes eight overall titles between the men's and women's cross country squads since the GNAC's inception in 2001. The men previously won titles in 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2005-06, while the women won in 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2005-06.
In addition to the dividends paid by their hard work in the classroom, the Nanooks enjoyed a successful 2008 campaign. The finished fifth at the Apple Ridge Run and at the Hawaii-Pacific Cross Country Invitational before posting their second highest finish (t-6th) at the conference championships last October.
Four runners garnered spots on the GNAC's all-academic team, including Chris Eversman, John Parry, Einar Often and Robert Pakk.
Coach Jerome and his new assistant coach, Matt Dunlap, will welcome back the 2009 men's and women's squads in mid-August to gear up for their first and only home meets of the season. They host Central Washington for a pair of dual-meets on Aug. 27 and 29 at the West Ridge Trails and Birch Hill, respectively.