Seven Women Earn Academic All-District XC/Track Honors
Clockwise From Top Left: Ruth Cvancara (UAA), Marie Ries (UAA), Dania Holmberg (SPU), Kate Lilly (SPU), Aliyah Dawkins (WWU), Grace Knapp (WOU), Bethany Danner (NNU).
Clockwise From Top Left: Ruth Cvancara (UAA), Marie Ries (UAA), Dania Holmberg (SPU), Kate Lilly (SPU), Aliyah Dawkins (WWU), Grace Knapp (WOU), Bethany Danner (NNU).

Friday, May 29, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. – In an impressive display of the conference’s success on the track, course and classroom, seven GNAC student- athletes were named to the College Sports Information Directors of America’s (CoSIDA) Division II Academic All-District 8 Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field Team.

Alaska Anchorage netted two selections in junior Ruth Cvancara and senior Marie Ries. Seattle Pacific also received two selections in senior Kate Lilly and junior Dania Holmberg. Rounding out the list is Northwest Nazarene senior Bethany Danner, Western Oregon senior Grace Knapp and Western Washington sophomore Aliyah Dawkins.

In all, the GNAC earned seven of the 12 Academic All-District Team selections, which is comprised of student-athletes from the GNAC, California Collegiate Athletic Association and the PacWest Conference. With the shortened collegiate spring seasons nationwide, nominees for the program were evaluated using career statistics instead of season statistics.

With the selections, the seven are now eligible for selection to the CoSIDA Division II Academic All-America Cross Country/Track and Field Team, which will be announced on Wednesday, June 24.

Cvancara, who has a 3.94 GPA as a nursing major, earned USTFCCCA Indoor All-American honors after qualifying for the NCAA Championships both in the 800 meters and as part of the Seawolves’ distance medley relay team. A career three-time All-American indoors, Cvancara was a member of UAA’s GNAC and West Region championship cross country teams in 2018 and ran for the Seawolves at both the 2018 and 2019 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Ries, who has a 4.00 GPA as a double major in English and journalism, was named the winner of the Elite 90 Award for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships (presented to the competitor with the highest GPA). A qualifier for nationals as part of the Seawolves’ DMR, Ries was also part of the Seawolves’ champion 4x100-meter relay team at the 2017 GNAC Outdoor Championships.

Lilly, who has a 3.76 GPA as a mathematics major, won the 3,000 meters at the 2020 GNAC Indoor Championships and earned All-American honors as she qualified for nationals in the event. She placed second at the 2019 GNAC Cross Country Championships and eighth at the NCAA West Regional. Lilly placed fifth in the 5,000 meters at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships and is a two-time nationals competitor for the Falcons in cross country. This is Lilly’s second consecutive Academic All-District selection.

Holmberg, who has a 3.89 GPA as a psychology major, earned All-GNAC, All-West Region and All-American honors during the 2019 cross country season. After finishing fourth at the GNAC Championships, Holmberg was the runner-up at the NCAA West Regional before capturing All-American honors with a 21st-place NCAA Championships finish. A 2020 All-American and NCAA Indoor Championships qualifier in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, Holmberg competed in both the 1,500 and 5,000 at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Danner, who has a 4.00 GPA as a mathematics major, played a key role in the Nighthawks’ unexpected run to the NCAA Cross Country Championships. She earned All-West Region honors with a 21st-place finish at the NCAA West Regional as the Nighthawks placed second to earn the program’s first-ever NCAA nationals berth.

Knapp, who owns a 3.99 GPA as a biology major, earned All-West Region honors after placing sixth on her home course at the NCAA West Regional Championships and went on to finish 59th at the NCAA Championships. During the indoor season, Knapp placed sixth in the 3,000 meters at the GNAC Championships.

Dawkins, the only sophomore selected to the team, has a 4.00 GPA as a biochemistry major. An Indoor All-American selection after qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the high jump, Dawkins placed fifth in both the high jump and pentathlon at the GNAC Championships. The WWU school record holder in the indoor pentathlon, Dawkins earned outdoor All-GNAC honors as a freshman with a second-place finish in the high jump at the 2019 GNAC Outdoor Championships.

To be eligible for the CoSIDA All-Academic All-America program, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA and must have completed one full calendar year at the nominating institution. Nominated student-athletes must also have participated in at least 50 percent of their teams’ competitions.