By Maleesa Johnson
The Baylor men’s and women’s cross-country teams persevere not only through distance running but long hours of academic work as well.
On Monday, the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced that both teams had received All-Academic honors.
Junior Ben Allen said he loves when cross-country gets awards because few of the team’s athletes go professional.
When it comes to balancing a high GPA as an English major and practice, Allen said there are some sacrifices.
“We just lose a lot of sleep,” Allen said. “We have 6:30 a.m. practice every day until 8:30. I try to go to sleep early, but I usually have to study to keep my GPA up.”
The men’s team earned a cumulative GPA of 3.45 and had eight athletes make the Academic All-Big 12 team for the 2012 season.
The team finished seventh at the Big 12 Championships last weekend, the highest placed cross-country finish for Baylor since 2004. For the regional level, the men earned 14th place.
“The first priority is – and should be – academics,” assistant coach Jon Capron said. “We don’t want to jeopardize their academic work.”
Junior Brad Miles attributes his diligence in his studies to the rigorous cross-country practice schedule.
Were it not for an early morning run, Miles says his day would lack productivity.
“I put an emphasis on schoolwork and sleep,” Miles said. “When I wake up early to go run, it gets my day started right. I feel like I’m more productive when I get up and run than when I just wake up and go to class.”
The women pulled ahead of the men in what Capron referred to as a “private competition” with a cumulative GPA of 3.47.
According to Capron, there is a slight rivalry between both teams to earn the higher GPA.
To date, the men’s team has yet to win.
In addition to earning the award-winning GPA, the women’s team placed eighth at the Big 12 Championships.
The team ended the season by placing seventh in the NCAA South Central Region.
The Baylor men’s cross-country team is one of 145 men’s teams to earn all-academic status by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
In addition, the women’s team is one of 200 nationally to receive this honor. Kansas State and Oklahoma State are the only other Big 12 programs to have both the men’s teams and women’s teams recognized.