Lincoln and Track Team Garner Top National Aca
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – All-American Daniel Lincoln was named the NCAA Division I Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the United States Track Coaches Association, while the Arkansas track and field team was awarded the honor of being the 2003 All-Academic Team of the Year for their combined grade-point averages and performances on the track.
The announcement was made by Ralph Lindeman, track coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy and outgoing president of the Division I coaches’ group, following nominations by coaches of all athletes who had grade point averages of 3.10 or better.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” Arkansas head coach John McDonnell said. “It’s proof that you can be a great athlete and student at the same time. There’s no reason you can’t do both. In recruiting I’ve always maintained that education is No. 1. The athletes know they are here to compete and all they have to do is keep that balance of academics. There are a lot of people involved in helping us and the academic support staff does a great job. This is really a crowning moment for a super year.”
Lincoln, a native of Fayetteville, Ark., is pursuing a graduate degree in biochemistry and has a GPA of 3.85. He concluded his career as a Razorback last month by helping bring home the Hogs’ 38th national championship when he won NCAA titles in the 10,000-meter run with school record time and the 3,000-meter steeplechase. With his finishes he was the first athlete in the history of the NCAA Outdoor Championships to successfully double in both the 10K and steeplechase and also became the first American to win three-straight steeplechase titles. A week later Lincoln finished second in the steeplechase at the U.S. championships to secure a spot in the World Championships.
“Daniel has God-given talent,” McDonnell said. “He does so well in both athletics and academics. He’s just one of those people who makes up their mind to do his best at whatever they try. That’s what he’s all about. He does things the way they should be done. He’s very special to accomplish what he has in just a few short years. It will be very hard to equal what he has done in his career.”
Sophomore transfer Jaanus Uudmae was also recognized as one of only four men’s track and field athletes in the country to post a 4.0 GPA. Uudmae earned his first All-America honor at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships after finishing fifth in the triple jump.
McDonnell’s track and field team proved it could not only excel on the track, but in the classroom as well when it registered a cumulative 3.10 GPA for the year. The Razorbacks were the only Southeastern Conference team, besides Florida to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. McDonnell led his teams to their 37th and 38th national championships this past season, as well as their 70th and 71st conference crowns.
UA was ranked 13th overall in terms of GPA, but had the best finishes by far in NCAA competition, either indoors or outdoors, among the top academic teams to earn All-Academic Team of the Year honors.
The only other men’s teams with high GPAs that finished in the top 20 at the national championships in the team scoring were Florida, sixth, with a 3.003 GPA, and Pennsylvania, 11th, with a 3.04 GPA.
The top 10 men’s teams with cumulative GPAs above 3.0 were Rice (3.32), St. Francis (3.263), Dartmouth (3.22), Davidson (3.22), William & Mary (3.198), Drake (3.168), Quinnipiac (3.167), Miami of Florida (3.166), Oklahoma State (3.163) and Syracuse (3.155).
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