Gong, Okeke Lead Eight Engineers on CoSIDA Track and Field/XC Academic All-American Teams

Gong, Okeke Lead Eight Engineers on CoSIDA Track and Field/XC Academic All-American Teams

Austin, Texas (June 21) -- Led by seniors Maryann Gong (Livermore, Calif.) and Arinze Okeke (Hawthorne, Calif.), the MIT men's and women's track and field/cross country teams had eight student-athletes named to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America Teams on Wednesday afternoon. Gong was named the CoSIDA Women's Track and Field/Cross Country Academic All-American of the Year for the second straight season, while Okeke was tabbed as the Men's Academic All-American of the Year for the first time.

With the eight track and field/cross country selections, MIT now has a record 21 Academic All-Americans overall for the 2016-2017 season. The mark, which shatters the Institute-record of 17 set in 2015-16, breaks the all-time national mark at any division which was previously held by Taylor University with 20. MIT now has 271 all-time Academic All-Americans, which leads all of Division III and ranks second nationally behind only the University of Nebraska.

Gong, a 15-time All-American who earned First Team Academic All-American accolades for the third straight season, was also the 2016 CoSIDA D3 Women's Academic All-America Athlete of the Year. The 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Elite 90 recipient, Gong is a former NCAA 3,000 meter champion who also captured the 2017 NEWMAC 1,500-meter championship outdoors. Gong, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA in electrical engineering and computer science, is pursuing her Master's degree in engineering concentrating on artificial intelligence.

Okeke, now a two-time First Team Academic All-American, won the 2017 NEWMAC triple jump title and finished second in the long jump. An All-New England honoree in the long jump and a two-time All-American in the triple jump, he was named as the 2015-1 USTFCCCA New England D3 Field Athlete of the Year. Okeke graduated from MIT with a perfect 4.0 GPA in biological engineering with minors in chemistry and mechanical engineering.

Juniors Hannah Chen (Los Gatos, Calif.) and Nneoma Okonkwo (Lagos, Nigeria) both picked up spots on the Second Team for the first time in their careers. Chen is a six-time All-American, including earning All-American honors in the 400-meter hurdles at this year's outdoor NCAA Championship. A 10-time All-New England honoree and a five-time NEWMAC Championship, Chen has a 3.68 GPA in computer science and engineering, with a minor in Spanish.

Okonkwo, an indoor All-American in the long jump, captured the 2017 New England D3 Indoor Long Jump Championship and the NEICAAA Long Jump title as she was named as the USTFCCCA Regional Field Athlete of the Year. A seven-time All-New England honoree, Okonkwo has a 3.92 GPA in biological engineering with a minor in French.

Sophomore Leandra Zimmermann (Augsburg, Germany) was a Third Team honoree for the first time as she has a perfect 4.0 GPA in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science. A two-time USTFCCCA All-Region cross country runner, she is a two-time NEWMAC All-Conference honoree who placed fifth at the NEWMAC Championship and 11th at the NCAA Cross Country Regional.

On the men's side, graduate student Matthew Deyo (Syracuse, N.Y.) and senior Colin Godwin (Cary, N.C.) joined Okeke on the Academic All-American First Team. This was the first time that Deyo was recognized, while Godwin was a Third Team selection a year ago. Deyo, who was an All-American in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field this year, finished seventh in the NCAA Cross Country National Championship and won both the NEWMAC and NCAA New England Regional Championships.

For Godwin, he is a five-time Academic All-Conference honoree who boasts a 3.76 GPA in chemical and biological engineering and biology, as well as a minor in Russian. All-New England in the 1,500 meters, he was also the 2014 NEWMAC Rookie of the Year.

The final men's Academic All-American was senior Rory Beyer (San Mateo, Calif.), who was named to the Third Team for the first time in 2017. An eight-time All-New England honoree and two-time All-Conference selection, Beyer is a five-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference runner and a former NEWMAC Rookie of the Year who graduated with a 3.76 GPA in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science.

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