Tuesday, May 19, 2009

League-High Six University of Albany Track and Field Student-Athletes Garner America East All-Academic Honors - UAlbany Sports 2009

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Cambridge, Mass. – University at Albany’s Laura Cummings and Valete Graham headline a list of a league-best six Great Danes who were named to the America East Conference Outdoor Track and Field All-Academic Team, as announced on Tuesday, May 19 by the conference office. Cummings and Graham, who are being honored for the second straight season, were joined by Mike Dempsey, Zuliana Fontanez, Melissa Lee and Andrew Overbaugh.

The six honored helped the Great Danes to a sweep of the America East outdoor men’s and women’s championships for the third time in four years. In addition, each student-athlete was a member of the league’s 2009 indoor track and field all-academic squad.

Cummings, a senior who was also named to the league’s all-academic squad in cross country, has a 3.41 cumulative grade point average as an English major with a minor in education. She was named all-conference for the second straight season in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for finishing third in 10:59.63 at the America East meet. Cummings also finished fifth in the 800-meter run (2:15.35), 1,500-meter run (4:38.54) and ran a leg on the fifth-place 4x800-meter relay team (9:17.57). The school’s record holder in the event recently placed 10th at the ECAC championship with a mark of 10:42.22 and will compete at the NCAA East Regional Championship in Greensboro, N.C. on May 29-30.

Graham has a 3.74 GPA as a psychology major with a minor business administration. He most notably won the long jump at the America East championship for the second straight year by leaping 24-feet, 9.50-inches, a school record and regional qualifying mark. Graham scored more points for also placing fourth in the triple jump (48-0.75) to at the meet. The junior was most recently seventh in the long jump (23-10.25) and 10th in the triple jump at the IC4A championship, helping the Great Danes capture the team title for the first time in program history. He is slated to compete in the long jump at NCAA regionals.

Dempsey recorded a 3.41 GPA as a computer science major. He was an all-conference selection for the second straight season in the pole vault, clearing 15-3 to tie for second at the America East championship. The sophomore also competed at the IC4A meet last weekend and ranks second on the program’s all-time outdoor list behind All-American Luke Schoen.

Fontanez, a team captain and member of the Student-Athletic Advisory Committee, earned all-conference laurels for placing second in the 800-meter run (2:11.65) at the America East championship. An accounting major with a minor in business administration who carries a 3.48 GPA, Fontanez also anchored the fifth-place 4x800-meter relay which clocked in at 9:17.57 at the league meet. In addition, the junior ran on the 4x800-meter relay which turned in an ECAC qualifying time of 8:59.74 at Penn Relays.

Lee, a senior human biology major with a 3.58 GPA, placed eighth in the 400-meter dash at the America East championship. One of the team’s top long sprinters, the senior’s best performances came at the Carolina Classic in Puerto Rico when she ran a season-best time of 57.66 in the 400 and led off the 4x400-meter relay which recorded an ECAC qualifying mark of 3:50.57.

Overbaugh, a senior who has a 3.35 GPA as a sociology major with a minor in criminal justice, will graduate as a member of eight America East championship teams and one squad which won the IC4A outdoor title. He ran the opening leg for the first-place 4x400-meter relay team (3:13.20) and placed fifth in the 400-hurdles in 54.12 seconds at the America East competition. Overbaugh led off the 4x400 relay which placed second in 3:09.65 at the IC4A championship.

To be nominated for the distinction, student-athletes must be a starter or important reserve for their team and participate in at least 50 percent of their team’s games or competitions. In the classroom, student-athletes must have a 3.30 GPA and have completed at least one calendar year at their institution.

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