Five runners were named scholar-athletes in 2014 NAIA men and women’s cross country Nov. 24.
For the men, juniors Alexander Knight and Dylan Smith-Sutton, and senior Kyle Wardwell gained recognition. Student athletes are nominated by their institutions and must have achieved junior academic status while maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.5 in order to qualify for the honor.
Knight has a 3.553 grade point average in his study of moving image arts. He finished in 29 minutes, 44.52 seconds in the Sooner Athletic Conference Championships, helping the Stars capture back-to-back conference titles Nov. 8 in Shawnee, Okla.
Smith-Sutton has a 3.587 grade point average in his study of cell and molecular biology. He recorded a time of 27:23.55 in the SAC Championships, helping to give OCU the automatic bid into the NAIA Championships.
Wardwell has a GPA of 3.521 while double majoring in biomedical engineering and chemistry. He finished 43rd in the NAIA Championships with a time of 25:47.10, helping the Stars capture their second consecutive national title.
For the women, juniors Rileigh Darby-McClure and Kaitlin Pontikes took the award.
Darby-McClure has a 4.049 in her study of cell and molecular biology. She finished 11th in the SAC Championships and crossed the finish line in 19:22.30 in the NAIA Championships, to help OCU turn in the programs-best 15th place.
Pontikes has a 3.932 in her study of business administration. She finished the SAC Championships with a time of 19:25.52 and crossed the finish line at the NAIA Championships with a time of 19:46.00. This past summer Pontikes was chosen to participate in the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program and ran a blood drive on the OCU campus in September.
The complete list of NAIA scholar-athletes is online. For the men, go to http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=209781301. For the women, go to http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=209781223.