AUSTIN, Texas – Five members of the West Texas A&M men’s and women’s track & field and cross country programs have been named to the Capital One Academic All-America team for NCAA Division II, as announced Wednesday afternoon by CoSIDA (Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America). Junior Baptiste Moreu was the lone representative for the Buffs on the third-team. Junior Emma Love highlighted the list for the Lady Buffs with her selection on the first-team while sophomore Bri Leeper and senior Amber Moore made the second-team and sophomore Libby Strickland is featured on the third-team.
The 2013-14 Capital One Academic All-America Men's and Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Teams, selected by CoSIDA members, have been released to recognize the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00 and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution.
The Lady Buffs are the second-best represented women’s program on this year’s Capital One Academic All-America team with its four total selections. Grand Valley State University had five female athletes honored while eight other schools had two athletes featured on the list of 45 athletes.
Moreu continues to receive academic and athletic accolades after his standout junior campaign. The Auray, France native swept both the indoor and outdoor track & field awards for Lone Star Conference Academic Player of the Year. He had an outstanding indoor season where he was a United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Region selection and competed at nationals in the mile where he placed 12th in the country. Moreu broke a 37-year old school record in that event earlier in the season at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University with a time of 4:06.77. That time also stands as the new LSC record and earned him LSC Track Athlete of the Week honors. He placed fourth in the mile and eighth in the 800m at the LSC Indoor Championship and third in the 5000m and fifth in the 800m at the LSC Outdoor Championship. During the cross country season, Moreu was an LSC All-Conference selection and led the Buffs to their first-ever team qualification at the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship. He currently holds a 3.73 GPA as a finance major.
Love gained national attention during the cross country season as she became the first WT athlete in the track & field/cross country program to receive the prestigious NCAA Elite 89 Award, an award given to the athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating at their respective National Championship. She has maintained a perfect 4.00 GPA during her three seasons as a Lady Buff in the sports & exercise science department. During the fall season, Love was named LSC Academic Runner of the Year, LSC All-Conference, and USTFCCCA All-Academic as she led the Lady Buff cross country team to its second-straight LSC title and National Championship appearance. During the track & field season, she was honored on the LSC All-Academic team during both indoor and outdoor competition. Love placed fifth in the 3000m and sixth in 5000m at LSC Indoor Championship and sixth in 10,000m and eighth in 5000m at the LSC Outdoor Championship. She set new PRs in all four of her events during outdoor competition and set the new school record in the 10,000m with a time of 37:30.01.
At the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championship, Leeper became the second Lady Buff to receive the NCAA Elite 89 Award during the 2013-14 athletics season. She has already accumulated 86 total credits as only a sophomore and has maintained a perfect 4.00 GPA as a mass communications-broadcasting major. Leeper was named to the LSC All-Academic team during both the indoor and outdoor seasons and was a LSC Champion in the outdoor 4x100m relay. This season, Leeper also placed third in the 100m and fifth in the 200m at the LSC Outdoor Championship and fifth in the 55m and fourth in the 200m at the LSC Indoor Championship. She qualified as an alternate in the 4x400m relay at indoor nationals and placed ninth in the 4x100m relay at outdoor nationals.
Moore competed during the cross country season where was named LSC All-Conference with her third place finish, leading the Lady Buffs to their second consecutive LSC title. She finished 27th at the South Central Region Championship and led the Lady Buffs to their second-highest finish at nationals (14th) in program history. Moore was named USTFCCCA All-Region and was a member of the Fall LSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll. She finished her career with a 4.00 GPA in mass communications.
Strickland finished her sophomore season with three more All-America trophies, making her career total now five after just two years in the program. She was an LSC All-Academic selection during both indoor and outdoor competition with her 3.84 GPA. During the indoor season, Strickland was named USTFCCCA All-Region and won the LSC high jump competition while scoring 31 total points. She recorded seventh place finishes in both the high jump and pentathlon competitions at indoor nationals. At the LSC Outdoor Championship, Strickland won conference titles in four different events and scored 41 total points, most of any athlete, male or female. She was then named USTFCCCA All-Region in six events and swept both individual LSC Awards at the LSC Outdoor Championship (Wes Kittley Award – Outstanding Female Track Athlete & David Noble Award – Outstanding Female Field Athlete). She went on to qualify for outdoor nationals in five separate events and picked up her fifth All-America award with a seventh place finish in high jump. Following the season, she was named LSC Field Athlete of the Year for the outdoor season. Strickland now owns eight total school records and one LSC record and she received LSC Athlete of the Week honors three times during the 2014 season.
Last month, these five athletes, along with five others, were made eligible for Academic All-America consideration after being named First-Team Academic All-District. Of the 20 total athletes, male and female, within District 6, WT owned half of the award winners with 10, four for the Buffs and six for the Lady Buffs. Along with Moreu were sophomores Zach Daniel and Lucas Marquez and junior Brett Villarreal. For the Lady Buffs, Leeper, Love, More and Strickland were joined by sophomore Mireia Guarner and junior Rhemecka Graham.
The WT men's and women's track & field and cross country programs recently completed an unprecedented combined 2013-14 season. Now, upon conclusion of the athletics year, the Buffs and Lady Buffs have garnered their highest national finishes ever in the USTFCCCA Program of the Year Rankings. The women finished eighth while the men were 15th in the field consisting of all NCAA Division II institutions.