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July 31, 2012

2012 Season - Four Vikings and team honored by USTFCCCA

Kate Benge (left) and Jessica Bacon (right) were two of four Vikings named to the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association "NCAA Division III All-Academic Team". The entire Augustana women's track and field team was also honored.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Four Augustana women's track & field athletes have been named to the 2012 United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) "NCAA Division III All-Academic Team", it was announced today. Rising senior Sarahbeth Jones (Warren Township, Wadsworth, Ill.), soon to be juniors Kate Benge (Pleasant Valley HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) and Kierra Smith (Creston HS, Creston, Iowa), and sophomore-to-be Jessica Bacon (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Illinois.) were among the total of 340 student-athletes representing 107 colleges and universities to make up the elite squad.

In addition, the entire Augustana team was named as an All-Academic Team, one of just 137 squads in the nation to earn the prestigious honor. The Vikings had a cumulative team grade point average of 3.30 for the 2011-12 school year.

The USTFCCCA honors NCAA Division III individuals for their academic and athletic achievements during the indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. In order to qualify for the USTFCCCA "All-Academic Team", the student athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 and have met the NCAA Division III indoor or outdoor qualifying standard in her respective event during the 2011-12 school year.

Jones enjoyed a marvelous season for the Augustana women's track & field team. This past spring, she was the 5000 meter champion at College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin's outdoor conference championship. She ran the 5000 in a season best and school record time of 16:53.57 on May 10 at the Dr. Keeler Invitational in Naperville, Illinois. This time was fast enough to qualify her for the NCAA Division III national meet where she placed ninth in the event.

In addition to her school record in the 5000 meter run, Jones also set one more individual school record and was a member of two relays that set school records. Individually, Jones set a new school record in the 3000 meter run when she ran 9:58.95 at the Viking Open in Rock Island, Illinois on March 24. This time broke the hold record of 10:02.85 which was set by Viking great Susan Paige in 1998. Jones anchored the distance medley relay team to a school record time of 12:15.79 at the Drake Relays on April 25. She also ran a leg in the record setting 4x1600 meter relay that crossed the line in a time of 21:16.07 at the Norse Relays on April 14.

Voted a team captain for the upcoming season, Jones was also a conference champion indoor CCIW conference championship meet. At this meet, she was victorious in the 3000 meter run with a time of 10:21.38 at the CCIW indoor championships on February 24-25. She also anchored the winning Viking distance medley relay team which finished in a school record time of 12:13.73. This time was fast enough to qualify for the NCAA Division III indoor national championships but the team did not compete. Jones also qualified for the indoor national championships in the mile but she did not compete in that event either.

Jones was voted team MVP for both the indoor and outdoor track this past season. In addition, she was twice named the CCIW Track Athlete of the Week. She first won the award on January 24 during the indoor season. She won the award again during the outdoor season on April 10. A three time winner of the Jack Swartz award, Jones enters her senior season carrying a 3.56 grade point average while majoring in English and communications studies.

Smith also enjoyed a successful season as a member during her sophomore campaign when she was voted the team's co-MVP with Jones for the outdoor season. She set a new school record in the 400 meter hurdles. She ran a time of 1:02.69 on May 5 at the CCIW Championships in Bloomington, Illinois. That time broke the previous record of 1:03.85 set by Manda Geerts in 2004. She was also a part of the distance medley relay team that broke both the indoor and outdoor school record. A two year letter winner, Smith will go into her junior year with a 3.48 grade point average while majoring in political science and accounting.

Benge had a fantastic first year as a member of the Vikings. She was a regular contributor throughout both the indoor and outdoor seasons. She was a member of both the indoor and outdoor distance medley relay team that set a new school record. She was also a member of the school record breaking 4x1600 meter relay team during the outdoor season. She placed 5th in the 800 meter run at both the CCIW indoor and outdoor championships. She was awarded the Erica Vortman Viking Award during the indoor season. With her major still to be determined, Benge carries a 3.47 grade point average into her junior year.

Bacon enjoyed a tremendous freshman season for the Vikings. She was also a member of the school record setting indoor and outdoor distance medley relays. In addition, she was the anchor leg of the 4x1600 meter relay team that set a new school record during the outdoor season. She placed 6th in both the 800 meter run and the 1500 meter run at the CCIW outdoor championships this past spring. She was voted co-Most Valuable Freshman for both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Heading into her sophomore year, Bacon carries a 3.72 grade point average while majoring in elementary education

 

-Story written by student assistant Paul Hurd