AUSTIN, Texas – After being selected as the Women's Cross Country/Track and Field Academic All-American of the Year a few weeks ago, MIT junior Maryann Gong (Livermore, Calif.) has been named the Academic All-American of the Year, representing all of Division III, as announced on Tuesday afternoon by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Selected from the field of 12 student-athletes who represented each sport this year as the respective Academic All-American of the Year (Men's Soccer, Women's Soccer, Volleyball, Football, Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball, Men's At-Large, Women's At-Large, Men's Cross Country/Track and Field, Women's Cross Country/Track and Field, Baseball and Softball), Gong becomes the first-ever overall Division III Academic All-American of the Year in MIT history.
"I am truly honored to be named the Division III CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year. This award represents what I strive for as a student-athlete. Although balancing academics and athletics is time-consuming and difficult, I've never wanted to sacrifice one for the other. My goal is to perform to the best of my ability in everything I do. This award encourages me to keep trying my best and I hope it encourages others do the same," said Gong.
Between her time on both the cross country and track and field teams, Gong has totaled 12 All-America accolades - 10 in track and two in cross country. This year Gong won three individual cross country invitational titles – only the third in program history to do so - including her New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, NCAA Division III New England Cross Country Championship and her first place finish at the Connecticut College Invitational. At the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship, Gong led MIT with her 16th place finish (21:38.20) and helped the Engineers to third place as a team – the seventh time in the last eight year in which MIT has produced a top-five finish at the national championship.
On the track this season, Gong earned All-American honors in the 3,000-meter run, the distance medley relay (DMR) and the mile at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championship. The junior finished second in the 3,000m (9:34.99), third in the mile (4:54.67) and teamed up for a sixth place finish in the DMR (11:52.29). At the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championship, Gong crossed the line 14th overall in the 10,000-meter run in 38:11.44. In just three years at MIT, Gong has qualified for eight NCAA Championships and is a four-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference selection.
When Gong isn't running, she is an SQA Intern at A4 Data Technology and is completing research on using machine learning to prescreen for language developmental disorders in children.
"Maryann Gong is an 12-time All American and 3,000 meter national champion, has earned the Division III Female Athlete of the indoor season in 2015 and holds a 4.00 GPA throughout her three years at MIT. Being selected as the 2016 Division III CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year is a much deserved honor for the three-sport captain. She is the definition of student-athlete and we are proud she is a member of the MIT cross country/track & field program," said Halston Taylor, Director of MIT cross country and track & field.
Julie Soriero, Director of Athletics at MIT, said, "Maryann is very deserving of this incredible honor. She is quietly competitive and sets high expectations for herself to excel. Our athletic department takes a great deal of pride in both the academic and athletic successes of our student-athletes and to have Maryann represent MIT in receiving this prestigious recognition makes all of us very proud."
MIT has now totaled 250 Academic All-America accolades, helping the Engineers continue to be the all-time Division III leader in producing Academic All-Americas in addition to ranking third across all NCAA divisions. Just this year, MIT totaled an Institute-record 17 Academic All-Americans across the 38 sports recognized by CoSIDA.
CoSIDA, which began its recognition of NCAA scholar-athletes in the 1950's, has honored thousands of deserving recipients across all divisions in 12 sports. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 on a 4.00 scale, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at his/her institution and be nominated by his/her Sports Information Director.