Five Eagles receive USTFCCCA All-Academic honors while women's squad named All-Academic team

NEW ORLEANS— Five members of the Carson-Newman track and field team were awarded All-Academic honors from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Thursday afternoon while the entire women's squad from Mossy Creek earned All-Academic team status for the past 2015-2016 academic year.


Tori Gaul (Salisbury, N.C.), Tiana Mills (Chattanooga, Tenn.) represented the Eagles on the women's side as Randall Freeman (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Tanner Stepp (Jefferson City, Tenn.) and Christian Stumpf (Johnson City, Tenn.) brought home awards in the men's sector.


Gaul finished her sophomore year at Carson-Newman with a perfect 4.0 GPA. The Salisbury, N.C. native was also a national qualifier in the women's pole vault for both the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. Her best mark on the outdoor season came at the High Point VertKlasse Meet where Gaul posted a 3.81 meter tally in the event.


Mills completed her junior season with impressive work in the classroom as well and also represented Carson-Newman in the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this past May. The junior competed in the women's triple jump and finished off the meet with a 21st-place leap of 11.89 meters.


Carson-Newman's current four-time All-American, Stepp, excelled in both athletics and academics during the 2015-2016 Eagle class schedule. The sophomore recently wrapped up the 2016 Outdoor Championships with a fourth-place mark of 2.13 meters in the men's high jump. Stepp also was an Indoor national qualifier while finishing sixth overall in the event in early March.


Freeman, who is now the program's Graduate Assistant and thrower's coach, competed in only the indoor season for the Eagles during the winter of 2016. The ultimate utility man narrowly missed out on making the cut for the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships for the men's heptathlon and a number of other field events such as the long and triple jumps, as well as the javelin throw and shot put.


Freeman currently holds a 3.95 GPA half of the way through Carson-Newman's MBA graduate program.


Stumpf showed out in both competition and in the classroom during his first full year at Carson-Newman. Sporting a 3.33 GPA as a freshman, the Johnson City, Tenn. native competed in the men's 200 and 400 meter runs, as well as the high jump and javelin throw competitions. The freshman leaped an inddor best of 2.03 meters in the men's high jump on Jan. 15 at the ETSU Track & Field Invitational during the indoor sector.


All five athletes who received All-Academic honors were either named to the indoor or outdoor All-Southeast Region teams form the USTFCCCA this year.      


"It's a point of pride that they have done so well. Unlike other good teams around the nation, this award is based on both being a success in competition and in the classroom," coach David Needs said. "These individuals are elite in both realms and are some of the best of the best. This is the second year in-a-row of having an entire team (women) being named All-Academic, so that means we are getting some things done the right way. We are excited and blessed to have these athletes in our program."  

Scholar Athletes of the Year were selected as the highest-finishing performers at the NCAA Indoor & Outdoor Championships who also achieved USTFCCCA All-Academic Individual status. Those who earned multiple individual championship titles ranked higher in the tie-breaking process, and cumulative GPA is weighed as the final tiebreaker to establish a winner.


Separate awards are given to track athletes and field athletes for the indoor and outdoor seasons, resulting in four categories.


Emily Oren of Hillsdale, Lauren Martin of Adams State, Natalie O'Keefe of Southwest Baptist and Allie Updike of Azusa Pacific have been named the female Scholar Athletes of the Year while Oliver Aitchison of Adams State, Sedeekie Edie of Lincoln (Mo.), and Cody Thomas of Alaska Anchorage have been named the men's Scholar Athletes of the Year, both in NCAA Division II for the 2015-16 track & field season by the USTFCCCA.  

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