St. Louis, Mo., June 24, 2014 – Four members of the Washington University in St. Louis men's and women's track & field and cross country teams were selected to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America Men's and Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Teams, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Junior Lucy Cheadle and senior Anna Etherington were each named to the women's Academic All-America First Team, while junior Drew Padgett and senior Kevin Sparks were selected to the men's Academic All-America Third Team. This year's four Academic All-Americans bring the total for Washington University men's and women's track & field and cross country to 30 all-time.
Etherington earned first-team accolades this year after receiving second-team honors in 2013, while Cheadle was a third-team selection in 2013. Sparks was also a repeat Academic All-American, receiving third-team honors this season after being a second-team selection a year ago. Cheadle, Etherington and Sparks join four other student-athletes in program history to earn repeat Academic All-America honors in their careers – Natalie Badowski (2005, 2007), Jeremy Dubow (1996, 1997), Liz Phillips (2011, 2012) and Emily Richard (1998, 1999).
Cheadle capped an outstanding junior year by winning the national championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a school-record time of 10:20.06 at the 2014 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships May 24. Her time ranks sixth all-time in NCAA Division III in the event. During the indoor track & field season, Cheadle earned All-America honors in both the 3,000 and 5,000. It was her third consecutive All-America finish in the 5,000. In the fall, she became the second runner in school history to earn a third-career cross country All-America honor, racing to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Cheadle won the NCAA Midwest Regional, marking the first regional champion in Washington U. women's cross country history, and raced to the University Athletic Association (UAA) cross country title for the second year in a row. Cheadle holds a 3.78 GPA while majoring in chemical engineering.
Etherington concluded her highly decorated career by winning the national championship in the pole vault at the 2014 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The six-time indoor and outdoor All-American vaulted to a school-record height of 4.15 meters to claim the national title, a mark that ranks fourth all-time in NCAA Division III history. Etherington, the indoor and outdoor school-record holder, swept the indoor and outdoor UAA pole vault championships for the fourth straight year in 2014. A three-time academic all-UAA honoree, she was recognized as Washington University's 2014 W Club Distinguished Senior Athlete of the Year. A three-time Capital One Academic All-District selection, Etherington graduated with a 3.67 GPA while majoring in systems engineering.
Padgett had a breakout junior season for Washington University, becoming just the second student-athlete in men's history to earn All-America honors in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field in the same year. After finishing 25th for All-America honors at the 2013 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, he placed seventh in the 3,000 at the 2014 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships. Padgett finished his banner year by becoming the fourth athlete in Washington U. men's track & field history to earn All-America honors in multiple events at the same championship meet. He placed fourth in the 10,000 and raced to a third-place finish in the 5,000 at the 2014 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. A seven-time UAA Athlete of the Week in 2014, Padgett also was named the Division III Men's Cross Country National Athlete of the Week twice. He won the 2013 UAA Cross Country Championship and set school records in the indoor 3,000, and outdoor 5,000 and 10,000 in 2014. A two-time Academic All-District selection, Padgett has a 3.63 GPA while majoring in psychology.
Sparks earned his second straight All-America honor in cross country with an 18th-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Championships. He also finished fifth at the NCAA Midwest Regional for the second year in a row, and was the UAA runner-up after winning the conference title in 2012. Sparks qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 10,000 for the second year in a row, finishing 11th overall. He ranks third in school history in the 5,000 indoors and the 10,000 outdoors. An eight-time all-UAA track & field honoree, Sparks earned eight UAA Athlete of the Week honors in his career and was a two-time Academic All-District First Team selection. Sparks graduated with a 3.49 GPA while majoring in political science and German.
In order to be selected to an Academic All-America team, a student-athlete must possess at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA and be at least a sophomore in academic and athletic standing.