The US Track & Field Coaches Association (USTCA) recently released its 2008 Academic Awards and the Washington and Lee men's and women's track & field teams were named to the National All-Academic Team for the fifth-straight year. Additionally, juniors Jessica Shaw (Dallas, Texas/Highland Park) and Elizabeth Webb (Middleburg, Va./Wakefield) and sophomores Billy Billington (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) and Maggie Sutherland (Sewickley, Pa./Sewickley Academy) earned Academic All-America accolades.
For a team to be named a National All-Academic Team, it must maintain a team grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.00. For an individual to be named an Academic All-American, one must have at least a 3.25 GPA and provisionally qualify for the NCAA National Track & Field Championships. The W&L men's team had a team GPA of 3.328 and ranked ninth out of 56 Division III schools, while the women had a GPA of 3.252.
Shaw, a journalism major, qualified for the NCAA Championships in the outdoor 5,000 meters. She crossed the finish line in a school and championship meet record time of 17:29 at the outdoor ODAC championship. Shaw went on to earn All-America status when she placed fifth at NCAA's in a school-record time of 16:56.78.
A biochemistry major, Webb met the NCAA Championship standard in the indoor mile and the outdoor 1,500 meters. She ran the mile in an ODAC championship meet record time of 5:11.51 at the indoor ODAC championship meet. At the ODAC outdoor championship, Webb also finished the 1,500 meters in an ODAC championship meet record time of 4:44.90.
Billington, an accounting major, qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships in the 35lb weight throw. He threw a school-record, ODAC championship meet record and NCAA provisional qualifying toss of 16.75 meters at the indoor ODAC championship.
An English and Spanish major, Sutherland met the standard for the NCAA Championships in the heptathlon with a point total of 4,221 points. She finished the 100 hurdles in a school-record time of 15.18. Sutherland then leaped 5’1.75” in the high jump, tossed 32’1” in the shot put, ran 27.87 in the 200 meters, cleared 16’1.75” in the long jump, threw 73’8” in the javelin and crossed the tape in 2:31.60 in the 800 meters at the Generals Combined Events Challenge.