Austin, Texas (June 19) -- The MIT men's and women's track and field/cross country teams have had seven student-athletes earn 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-American honors, as selected by CoSIDA. The Google Cloud Academic All-America program recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom.
MIT finishes the 2017-18 academic year with 24 Academic All-Americans, which is the all-time single-season record among all divisions of the Google Cloud Academic All-America program. The previous mark of 21 was set by MIT in 2016-17 as the Engineers now have 295 all-time Academic All-Americans and trail only the University of Nebraska on the national list.
For the men, junior Aidan Gilson (Florence, Mass.) was named to the First Team, while junior Josh Rosenkranz (Glencoe, Ill.) and senior William Ruschel (Bethel Park, Pa.) both earned spots on the Second Team. On the women's side, sophomore Katie Bacher (Macungie, Pa.), sophomore Jenna Melanson (Woodland, Wash.), junior Leandra Zimmermann (Augsburg, Germany) and senior Nneoma Okonkwo (Lagos, Nigeria) all picked up Second Team honors. This is the second straight year for Okonkwo on the Second Team, while Zimmermann was a Third Team selection in 2017.
Gilson, who was an Academic All-District selection for the first time, captured the NCAA Elite 90 Award at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship. A biological engineering major with a 5.0 GPA, Gilson was an All-American in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Championship. Rosenkranz was also a first-time All-District honoree as he boasts a 5.0 GPA and is a computer science and electrical engineering major. In cross country, Rosenkranz was an All-Region and All-Conference runner who finished in 47th place at the NCAA Championship.
Ruschel, a three-time Academic All-District selection who is a first-time Academic All-American, graduated from MIT with a 4.9 GPA and a degree in mechanical engineering and computer science. He ended his career with his second NCAA Championship appearance as he competed in the triple jump.
Okonkwo is a repeat selection on the Academic All-America Second Team as she graduated with a 4.9 GPA and a degree in biological engineering. In 2018, she captured the NEWMAC long jump championship, was a New England D3 All-Region performer and was an indoor All-American in the long jump as she placed seventh. Zimmermann, a two-time Academic All-District performer, is a mechanical engineering major with a 5.0 GPA. In 2017, she was a cross country All-American after finishing 30th at the NCAA Championship.
Bacher and Melanson are both first time Academic All-American honorees as they each boast a perfect 5.0 GPA. Bacher, an electrical engineering and computer science major, competed in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championship after earning indoor All-American accolades in the distance medley relay for the second straight year. Melanson, who is a biological engineering major, was an All-American in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the second time after also winning a second straight NEWMAC Championship in the event.
The Google Cloud Academic All-America program separately recognizes honorees in four divisions - NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and College Division. The College Division includes all NAIA, Canadian, two-year schools and other affiliations.
The Division II and III Google Cloud Academic All-America program is partially financially supported by the NCAA Division II and III national governance structures, to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2017-18 DII and DIII Academic All-America teams.