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Taylor Men Lead NAIA with Five Academic All-District Awards

UPLAND, Ind. – The Taylor University men’s cross country and track and field programs earned five College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District II recognitions, with Daniel Gerber, Alex Helmuth, Josh Roth, Luke Rovenstine and Derek Van Prooyen helping the Trojans tie Cornerstone University for the most honors in the NAIA.

Taylor claimed half of the 10 spots on the NAIA Track and Field and Cross Country Academic All-District II Team, which was made up of student-athletes from the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Daniel Gerber collected his third-straight CoSIDA Academic All-District award with a 3.49 grade point average in biblical literature and finance. The senior from Danville, Indiana earned All-American honors with his 16th-place finish at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships, finished as the Crossroads League runner-up at the CL Cross Country Championships and finished 10th place in the 3,000-meters at the Indoor Track and Field National Championships during the 2020-2021 year.

Alex Helmuth made the list for the second year in a row, posting a 3.89 grade-point average in biochemistry. The junior from Monticello, Illinois earned three All-American awards, including a fifth-place finish at cross country nationals, a seventh-place finish in the 5,000-meters at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships and a sixth-place finish in the 10,000-meters at the NAIA Outdoor Track Nationals. During the 2020-2021 seasons, Helmuth broke two school records, including the indoor track 5,000-meters and the outdoor track 10,000-meters, and recorded the third-fastest 8,000-meter time in Taylor cross country history. Helmuth also collected four All-Crossroads League honors during his junior season. Following his incredible junior-year campaign, Helmuth was named Taylor University’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Josh Roth claimed his third CoSIDA Academic All-District selection with a 3.51 GPA in mathematics. The senior capped off his collegiate career earning two NAIA All-American awards. Roth finished 13th place at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships and recorded the 10th-fastest time in Taylor history. The senior from Fishers, Indiana finished fifth place in the 5,000-meters at the Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Following his senior year, Roth was named Taylor University’s Gate-Howard Award winner.

Luke Rovenstine collected his first CoSIDA Academic All-District award, earning a 3.94 GPA in biology. Rovenstine claimed All-American honors after his 17th-place finish at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships and earned All-Crossroads League honors after placing fourth at the CL Cross Country Championships. The Overland Park, Kansas native finished 10th place in the 5,000-meters at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships and recorded the second-fastest 10,000-meter time in Taylor track and field history.

Derek Van Prooyen also collected his first CoSIDA Academic All-District honor. The junior from Munster, Indiana posted a 3.76 GPA in exercise science. Van Prooyen earned All-American honors at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships, earned All-Crossroads League honors in the indoor track and field 5,000-meters and finished ninth in the 5,000-meters at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. During his junior season, Van Prooyen recorded the fourth-fastest 5k time in Taylor track and field history.

The Taylor men’s cross country and track programs has now claimed 27 Academic All-District honors over the past seven years. The five awards this spring combined with four from the women’s program give Taylor 36 CoSIDA Academic All-District awards in 2020-2021 to lead all colleges in the NAIA.

The CoSIDA Academic All-District award is designed to recognize student-athletes for outstanding achievements in the classroom, as well as on the court or field of play. In order to be eligible for the honor, an athlete must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30, must have reached sophomore status academically with at least one full year at their current institution and must have participated in over half of the team’s competitions as a key contributor during the current season.

Student-athletes are nominated for the award by their institution’s Sports Information Department and voted on by members of CoSIDA.

Gerber, Roth, Helmuth, Rovenstine and Van Prooyen will now advance to the national ballot for the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team, which will be announced on August 9.

Taylor Women Collect Four CoSIDA All-District Honors

 UPLAND, Ind. – The Taylor University women’s cross country and track and field programs earned four College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District II recognitions recently, tying for the most of any institution in the NAIA.

 

Abbey Brennan, Sarah Harden, Livy Schroder and Brooke Studnicki claimed four-of-12 spots on the NAIA Track and Field and Cross Country Academic All-District II Team, which was made up of student-athletes from the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

 

Brennan collected her second CoSIDA Academic All-District award. The junior from Fort Wayne, Indiana posted a 3.83 GPA in political science, philosophy and economics. During the 2021 track and field season, Brennan was honored as a two-time NAIA All-American, including helping the Trojans win the indoor 4×800 National Championship and place seventh in the 4×800-meter relay at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Nationals. Brennan earned four All-Crossroads League awards and set two TU program records, including the indoor 4×800-meter relay and the outdoor 800-meters.

 

Harden claimed her third CoSIDA Academic All-District award with a 3.81 GPA in exercise science. The senior earned two more All-American honors, tallying a total of 10 All-American awards in her four-year collegiate career. Harden finished 16th place at the NAIA Cross Country Nationals and fifth place in the 5,000-meters at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. In her final year at Taylor, Harden set four new records for the record books. The Arlington Heights, Illinois native broke TU’s cross country 5,000-meter record, the indoor track and field 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter records, and Taylor’s outdoor track 5,000-meter record. Following her senior year, Harden was named Taylor University’s Natalie Steele Award winner.

 

Schroder collected her first CoSIDA Academic All-District award, posting a 3.63 GPA in public relations. During her senior year, Schroder collected three All-American awards. The Caledonia, Michigan native placed 10th at the NAIA Cross Country Nationals, fourth in the 5,000-meters at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships and sixth in the 10,000-meters at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Schroder earned three All-Crossroads League honors this season and ended her Taylor running career with a total of five All-American honors.

 

Studnicki made the list in her first year of eligibility, posting a 3.97 grade-point average in psychology. The sophomore from Waukesha, Wisconsin earned two All-American awards, including an NAIA National Championship in the indoor 4×800-meter relay and a seventh-place finish in the 4×800-meter relay at the 2021 Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Studnicki helped the indoor 4×8 squad break the TU program record and collected two All-Crossroads League honors.

 

The Taylor women’s cross country and track programs has now claimed 28 Academic All-District honors over the past seven years. The four awards this spring combined with five from the men’s cross country and track programs give Taylor 36 CoSIDA Academic All-District awards in 2020-2021 to lead all colleges in the NAIA.

 

The CoSIDA Academic All-District award is designed to recognize student-athletes for outstanding achievements in the classroom, as well as on the court or field of play. In order to be eligible for the honor, an athlete must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30, must have reached sophomore status academically with at least one full year at their current institution and must have participated in over half of the team’s competitions as a key contributor during the current season.

 

Student-athletes are nominated for the award by their institution’s Sports Information Department and voted on by members of CoSIDA.

 

Brennan, Harden, Schroder and Studnicki will now advance to the national ballot for the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team, which will be announced on August 9.