San Antonio – St. Mary’s University cross country student-athletes Tara Wicketts and Jessie Smith were named ESPN The Magazine/College Sports Information Directors (CoSIDA) Academic All-District for his work in the classroom and the field, it was announced on Thursday.

Wicketts (Sr., Cibolo) earned first team Academic All-District honors for the second straight year. Wicketts finished in the top 20 in five of the six meets this season for the Rattlers, including three top-10 finishes. She placed eighth overall at the Heartland Conference Championships, earning her All-Heartland Conference honors for the fourth straight season; the first Rattler to accomplish that feat in cross country. Her top finish on the course was a fourth place showing at the UTSA/Ricardo Romo Classic.

Off the course Wicketts was an outstanding all-around student. She has a 3.94 grade point average, majoring in psychology at St. Mary’s. She is an Honor Roll student, Vice-President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Treasurer of Phi Alpha Delta Professional Pre-Law Fraternity, Secretary of Phi Eta Sigma Honors Fraternity, a member of the Dean’s List and a St. Mary’s Excellence of Achievement Award recipient.

Smith (So., Boerne) was a standout in her first season on the cross country team. She placed in the top 20 in three of six meets and just missed All-Heartland honors, placing 15th at the Heartland Conference Championships. Her top individual finish this season was 14th place overall at the UTSA Classic. She is a two-sport athlete for the Rattlers as she is a starter on the women’s basketball team. Off the course, she is an Honor Roll student, helped raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation and earned Heartland Conference President’s Honor Roll Recognition last season. The honor marked the first time that Smith has been named Academic All-District.

To earn Academic All-District recognition, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for his/her career. No athlete is eligible until he/she has reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at his/her current institution. In the cases of transfers, graduate students and junior college graduates, the athlete must have completed one full academic year at the nominating institution to be eligible.

Wicketts and Smith’s awards give St. Mary’s a total of five Academic All-District honorees for the 2007-08 academic year. Previously Bobby Freeman (Sr., Fair Oaks Ranch) of baseball, Natalie Gamez (Jr., San Antonio) of women’s basketball and Sarah Cooper (Sr., Houston) of the softball team earned Academic All-District honors this year. The five honorees in one academic year is a new school record, eclipsing the mark of four, set last year. Both Wicketts and Smith will advance to the Academic All-American national ballot, with the winners announced in two weeks.

Wicketts and Amy Crissman (So., San Antonio) each earned All-Heartland Conference recognition during the 2007 season, helping St. Mary’s to a third place finish at the conference meet. The Rattlers will return four of their top five runners from last season and open the 2008 season on August 30 at the University of the Incarnate Word Invitational.

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