NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Two members of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth track and field team recently earned United States Track and Field and Cross County Coaches Association (USTFCCA) Academic All-America honors, when the national office announced the 2013-14 Division III Individual and Team Academic Awards program.
Seniors Krista Chauvin (Seekonk, Mass.) and Zach Switaj (Tamworth, N.H.) were recognized by the national coaches association as Individual Academic All-Americans, while the Corsairs' women's track and field squad made their third consecutive appearance on the Division III All-Academic Team.
"Krista and Zach epitomize the NCAA Division III student-athlete model, establishing a standard of excellence inside the classroom and at the site of athletic competition," Head Coach Steve Gardiner said. "Krista has earned the highest award a student-athlete can attain twice since joining the program three years ago, while Zach met the athletic component of the criteria this past winter after satisfying the academic component each and every year. I am extremely proud of our team for being able to balance the rigors of their academic pursuits while also meeting the athletic demands of being a student-athlete."
To be eligible for the USTFCCA Individual Academic All-America honors, a student-athlete must be ranked in the top-35 nationally in their respective event and maintain a 3.3 grade point average or higher. In order to be considered for the All-Academic Team Award, the squad must compile a cumulative grade point average of 3.1 or higher.
Switaj made his debut at the 2014 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships, advancing to the national meet in the mile event. The senior from Tamworth, N.H. was the fifth runner in his preliminary heat and 13th overall to cross the finish line, covering the distance in a time of four minutes, 17.89 seconds. He set a new Corsair record at the Last Chance Meet, when Switaj posted a record-breaking time of four minutes, 11.70 seconds, finishing nearly three seconds ahead of the previous standard that was set by Eric Nygaard (4:14.61) in 2011. He also owns a share of the UMass Dartmouth distance medley relay record that was established at the New England Open Championships this past winter. Earlier in the season, Switaj won a pair of individual titles (mile, 3,000-meter) to help the Corsairs capture the 2014 Little East Conference Championship for the second time in the past three years.
This fall, Switaj will compete at Adams State (Colo.), the top-ranked Division II program, as a graduate student. He will be studying at the premiere exercise science and altitude training facility in the country.
Chauvin, the only female representative from the Little East Conference, made her second appearance on the USTFCCA Academic All-America team. The senior from Seekonk, Mass. represented UMass Dartmouth at the 2014 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Lincoln, Neb., qualifying for the weight throw event. She registered a throw of 16.51 meters (54-02.00) to place 10th overall in the national field, one spot shy of reaching the All-America round. Chauvin established a new Corsair standard at the Division III New England Championships with a toss of 17.16 meters (56-03.75). Highly decorated, she also garnered All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), All-Open New England, and All-Division III New England honors in the weight throw. Chauvin also set a new Little East Conference Championship record with a throw of 17.11 meters (56-01.75) to capture her second straight individual conference title.
Chauvin will continue her intercollegiate career at Gardner-Webb University, enrolling as a graduate student for the 2014 fall semester. She is currently a member of the women's soccer team, and also has one year of eligibility remaining in indoor and outdoor track and field.