By Kyle Yager, Staff Writer —
The UTC cross country team ran away with their academic performance for the fall 2016 semester.
The men’s cross country team posted a cumulative GPA of 3.569, and the women’s cross-country and track team compiled a team GPA of 3.485.
“I think it goes to the quality of the kids that we recruit,” said UTC cross-country/track and field head coach Andy Meyer. “Besides the times, the very next thing we look at is GPA. That’s a great indication of their motivation and education. If they’re willing to spend their time, and they’re that particular with their academics, those two things kind of go hand in hand.”
There were a total of 29 cross country athletes that made the Deans list for the fall semester.
The women’s cross country team tied a fall semester record with 18 Deans list members, while the men’s team broke the record with 11.
“It’s very rare that you’d have a distance kid who also doesn’t do well in the classroom,” said Meyer. “The same qualities to succeed in the classroom are those that they need to do well on the track or at cross-country. If a kid can’t spend thirty seconds concentrating they probably won’t make a good distance runner. Especially at the collegiate level, you never see cross country teams that don’t do well academically.”
With such intelligent kids, Coach Meyer has had to be well prepared to get the runners to buy in.
“At times, they keep you on your toes,” said Meyer. “That intelligent of a kid, they’re not going to be real happy being told what to do without knowing why they’re doing it. That’s the natural curiosity, inquisitiveness of these kids, so as a couch we have to constantly provide reasoning for why we’re doing it.”
The academic success of the cross country team is also a testament to the type of kids that UTC and Meyer recruit.
“Basically, in a distance kid, you’re looking for the same thing as a good student,” said Meyer. “Do they practice hard? Do they study hard? How well do they take tests? How well do they compete? Do they want to be first not only on the track but also in the classroom?”
Meyer is a UTC cross country alumnus. His own experience with balancing running and academics at UTC aids him in relating to and getting the most out of his student-athletes.
“It’s a lot easier for the kids when they can take the criticism or leadership from someone who’s been through it.” “Don’t put your schoolwork off, because that’s one of the biggest things I found. You have to stay ahead of things.”
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