Seven Redbirds Named to 2012 USTFCCCA All-Academic Team

July 25, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - Seven Illinois State track & field student-athletes were named to the 2012 U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic track & field team, as announced Wednesday.

On the women's side, Becky Anderson, Rachael Brewer, Aisha Praught, Elise Sigg, Brittany Smith and Kristen Zillmer earned All-Academic status, while Curt Jensen did so for the men.

To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Team, the student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.25 and have met either of the following athletic standards. For the indoor season, a student-athlete must have finished the regular season ranked in the national top 96 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 48 (collective listing) in a relay event on the official NCAA POP list provided by TFRRS.org. For the outdoor season, a student-athlete must have participated in any round of the NCAA Division I Championships, including preliminary rounds.

Anderson, a physical education major, finished third at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the high jump, leaping a personal-best 5-08.75, for All-Valley honors. That performance earned her a trip to the NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships West Region Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas, where she finished 39th with a mark of 5-05.25.

Brewer wrapped up her first season in a Redbird uniform, scoring nine points at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, finishing fourth in the 10,000-meter run and fifth in the 5,000-meter run. The marketing major earned her All-Academic honors as a NCAA Division I West Region qualifier in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, after running a 10:36.70 in the event in her first-ever attempt at the race at the ISU vs. SIU Dual in April.

 

 

A native of Moline, Ill., Praught earned her honors in distinct fashion. Indoors, she finished as the NCAA Division I Runner-up in the mile, after running an Illinois State and Valley record of 4:37.77 in the event to qualify. At the conference level, the All-American won the Valley Title in the mile, while claiming two other All-Missouri Valley performances in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs, respectively. On the outdoor track, Praught ran an unprecedented 9:51.30 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays, finishing as the top collegiate and earning a spot at the NCAA West Region Preliminary Round, where she qualified for her first national championship appearance. That time also landed her a spot to compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, where she finished 16th with a time of 9:55.78. Currently, the geology major is running professionally under the banner of Total Sports U.S., before transitioning to the Oregon Track Club this fall.

A three-time All-Valley performer on the track this past season, Sigg earned her spot on the All-Academic team, qualifying for the NCAA Division I West Region Preliminary Round in the steeplechase, after running a 10:35.83 at the ISU vs. SIU Dual in April. The nursing major earned the Valley Elite 18 Award for academic and athletic performance at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships, where she finished third in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:56.15.

Smith earned three All-American honors en route to her All-Academic Team status. Her first came in the weight throw at the 2012 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, where she finished third with a mark of 68-06.50. Outdoors, she claimed two NCAA Division I Runner-up performances at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, this time in the shot put and hammer throw with throws of 55-10.50 and 224-06, respectively. In addition, Smith took home a gold medal representing the United States at the 2012 North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships in the shot put with a mark of 55-10.50. She followed with a silver medal in the hammer throw after launching a toss of 220-02. Her performances also landed her a spot at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team trials, where she finished 11th in the hammer (216-07) and 10th in the shot put (54-06.00).

Zillmer was the last member of the women's team to earn the All-Academic distinction, as she qualified for the NCAA Division I West Region Preliminary Round in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The Missouri Valley Conference champion in the event, Zillmer finished 22nd at the preliminary rounds, running a 10:39.10. In addition, she was also a member of the distance medley relay team that took first at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships and the Drake Relays.

Jensen earned All-Valley honors in the shot put indoors, before claiming the conference crown outdoors with a personal-best and school record throw of 61-05.75. He also earned All-Valley honors in the hammer throw and discus, finishing third in both with marks of 197-08 and 162-11, respectively. His performance not only landed him a spot at the NCAA Division I West Region Preliminary Round, but he was dubbed the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Most Valuable Athlete for scoring the most points on the men's side at the championships.

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