Special to The Sun
TOWSON, Md. —
For the second straight year, a trio of Oklahoma Christian track and field standouts — Brayden Barrientez, Tracy Marshall and David McWilliams — have been named to the Capital One Academic All-America men’s track and field/cross country first-team list, is was announced June 26.
The three are the first OC student-athletes to receive Division II Academic All-America honors. In 2012, all three made the first-team College Division list, which honors NAIA student-athletes. Oklahoma Christian began the NCAA Division II membership process with the 2012-13 academic year.
Before last year, OC had never had three first-team Academic All-Americans in one year in any sport. Barrientez, McWilliams and Marshall are among a group of only six OC student-athletes ever to be named as a first-team Academic All-American more than once.
Twelve Eagle student-athletes have earned Academic All-America first-team honors: Barrientez, McWilliams, Marshall, Kim Golden (women’s basketball, 1991), Luke Anderson (men’s track, 2000 and 2001), Gabriela Lancman (women’s tennis, 2001), Blake Blackwell (men’s cross country, 2002, and men’s track, 2003), Kristin Brown (women’s soccer, 2006 and 2007), Adam Barnes (men’s soccer, 2007), Katy Clift (women’s basketball, 2012), Renardy Guelfi (men’s tennis, 2012) and Martin Poboril (men’s tennis, 2012).
The Academic All-America teams are selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The teams are selected based on a combination of academic and athletic accomplishment. The 16 student-athletes on the track and field/cross country first-team list had an average grade-point average of 3.83.
OC had more first-team honorees than any other institution on the Division II list and only one other university — Central Missouri State — had as many as three honorees on the first-, second- and third-team lists combined. Oklahoma Christian was the only Heartland Conference school to land a student-athlete on the Academic All-America list for track/cross country.
Barrientez, a biology major from Wichita, Kan., has a 3.85 GPA. He was the No. 3 runner on the OC team that won the NCCAA cross country title in 2012 and the No. 4 runner on the Eagles’ NAIA championship-winning squad in 2011. He finished fifth individually at last November’s NCCAA Championship.
He accounted for 30 points at the NCCAA Indoor Track Championships as the Eagles finished fourth and he was a member of the national-champion distance medley relay team. He is an eight-time NAIA or NCCAA All-American and a four-time Scholar-Athlete pick.
"I have been impressed by Brayden's study habits,” OC cross country coach Wade Miller said. “He is always carrying a book or flashcards with him to meets and studying on the bus. This award is a credit to his diligence."
An electrical engineering major with a 3.97 GPA, Marshall earned team points in three events this season at NCCAA national meets — the long jump and triple jump at the Indoor Championships and the long jump at the Outdoor Championships, in which OC finished sixth.
Marshall also is a three-time NAIA/NCCAA Scholar-Athlete selection.
“Tracy had an outstanding senior year for us in the long jump and triple jump, while balancing that with finishing his degree in electrical engineering,” OC track and field coach Randy Heath said. “He is an example of what our student-athletes can accomplish, both in competition and in the classroom.”
A senior Bible major, McWilliams finished his college career with a perfect 4.00 GPA. He capped off his career with a third-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the NCCAA Outdoor Championship to earn his sixth track and cross country All-America award. He finished 10th at the 2012 NCCAA Cross Country Championship to lead the Eagles to the national title.
He also played a key role on OC’s NAIA cross country title-winning team in 2011, finishing 19th and making the All-America list. The Naperville, Ill., native is a five-time NAIA/NCCAA Scholar-Athlete pick.
“These guys have worked so hard to maintain excellence in the classroom and compete at such a high level athletically,” Miller said. “Dave is a determined student who has meticulously monitored his GPA and makes sure he has gone the extra mile to reach his goals.”