CLEVELAND - Although the 2012 Miami University women's outdoor track and field season ended a few weeks, four RedHawks were recognized for their work in the classroom and on the track by being named Academic All-Mid-American Conference, the league office announced Wednesday.
The four 'Hawks to earn the honor are seniors Rachael Clay and Kelley Miller, redshirt sophomore Ashley Zaper and sophomore Erica Howes. Clay, Zaper and Howes garnered Academic All-MAC during the 2012 indoor season as well, however this is their first outdoor award, while Miller has now garnered Academic All-MAC four times - this past cross country season, the 2011 indoor season and twice during outdoor season with the other honor coming in 2010. Miami's four recipients are the second-most among any MAC team along with Toledo while Kent State placed seven on the 30-woman squad.
Clay (Rossford, Ohio), who graduated in May with a degree in exercise science, finished with a 3.58 grade-point average, while posting a 3.83 GPA during the spring semester. She qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in her final season as a RedHawk, finishing 34th in the 400m dash. At the MAC Outdoor Championships, she took fifth in the 400m after qualifying fourth in the prelims in a personal-best 53.97, which is the second-best time in school history. She won the 400m dash at the All-Ohio Championships in 54.60 and also ran on Miami's school-record-setting 4x400m relay team at the meet that clocked 3:40.90. During the season, Clay posted four of the top-10 400m dash times in school history.
Howes (Fairfax, Va.), a nutrition major with a team-best 3.97 GPA, earned a 4.0 GPA during the fall semester and a 3.92 GPA in the spring. She placed seventh in the 3000m steeplechase at the MAC Outdoor Championships in a personal-best 10:57.54, which ranks her seventh in school history. She also took third in the steeplechase at the Miami Invitational in 11:02.25, her first career steeplechase.
Miller (Dublin, Ohio) earned a master's degree in speech pathology and audiology in May while compiling a 3.39 GPA. She was named First-Team All-MAC after winning the 1500m run at the MAC Outdoor Championships for the second time in her career. She also qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, where she finished 24th in the 1500m run. Miller, who was named MAC Track Athlete of the Week early in the season, broke her own school record in the 1500m run at the famed Drake Relays, clocking 4:23.64 to finish seventh in the race. She set five of Miami's all-time top-10 1500m times during the season and now owns seven of the 10 times while also ranking fourth in school history in the 800m run after clocking 2:09.91 this season.
Zaper (Whitehouse, Ohio), who carries a 3.54 GPA while majoring in kinesiology and minoring in nutrition, earned Dean's List both semesters this past year. She also garnered Second-Team All-MAC honors after placing second in the heptathlon at the MAC Outdoor Championships with a personal-best score of 5,064 points, which ranks her second in school history and 64th nationally this year. During the heptathlon she posted personal-best marks in the long jump (5.70m/18-8.5) and the javelin (37.08m/121-8), both of which rank her in Miami's career top 10. Zaper won the heptathlon at the All-Ohio Championships with a score of 4,876 while clocking a personal-best 14.12 in the 100m hurdles portion of the heptathlon, which places her eighth all-time at Miami.
Seven other RedHawks received Honorable Mention Academic All-MAC as seniors Jillian Dickman, Sarah Kinnaman and Krista Stillson, juniors Monica Fischer and Katie Scannell, sophomore Kori Tatman and redshirt freshman Melissa Girgis were all eligible for the award. Fischer and Tatman were selected to the Indoor Academic All-MAC team this past season.
To be nominated for Academic All-MAC, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA and have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's meets. First-year students and junior college transfers in their first year of residence are not eligible for the award. The nominees are then voted on by the league's faculty athletic representatives. Outstanding academic and athletic accomplishments for only the current season are considered.