MIAC gets five on CoSIDA Academic All-America Track & Field/Cross Country teams


BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Five Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) student-athletes have been named to Academic All-America Track and Field/Cross Country Teams by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Gustavus' Birgen Nelson received First Team billing on the Women's side, with teammate Elizabeth Donnelly on the Second Team alongside Saint Benedict's Fiona Smith. Saint John's landed Shawn Schindler on the First Team and Maguire Petersen on the Second Team. Nelson and Schindler both received Academic All-America honors for the second straight season, while the honor is the first for Donnelly, Smith, and Petersen.

Nelson (Jr. | Edina, Minn.) made her second appearance on the All-America Team after earning Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors last year. Nelson capped her junior season by winning the national championship in the 100-hurdles at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championships with a Division III meet record time of 13.44, breaking a 24-year old record. Nelson also earned All-America in the 400-hurdles at the outdoor championships with a runner-up finish, repeating as a dual All-American in the 100- and 400-hurdles. Prior to the national meet, Nelson earned MIAC Outstanding Track Athlete and Outstanding Performance of the Meet at the 2022 MIAC Championships where she won all four of her events. The Outstanding Performance of the Meet came in the 100-hurdles where she broke her own conference record with a time of 13.71. Nelson is a five-time All-American after taking second in the 100-hurdles and fifth in the 400-hurdles at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Nelson also took seventh in the 60-hurdles at the 2022 NCAA Indoor Championships. She was the first Gustie woman in program history to earn Indoor All-America in an individual track event. Nelson is the school record holder in the outdoor 100-hurdles, 400-hurdles, 4×100 relay, and indoor 60-hurdles, 4×400 relay, and 200-meter. Nelson has claimed 10 All-Conference honors and five conference titles. She was recently named the USTFCCCA North Region Track Athlete of the Year. After earning Third Team honors last season, Nelson joins an elite group of 30 Gustavus student-athletes to earn multiple Academic All-America honors.

Donnelly (Sr. | Langely, Wash. | South Whidbey) earned two All-America honors during the 2022 season by taking seventh place in the 800-meter at the NCAA Indoor Championships and fifth place in the 800-meter at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Donnelly is a four-time MIAC champion, winning the 2022 outdoor 800-meter, 2022 outdoor 4×400 relay, 2022 indoor 600-meter, and the 2020 distance medley relay. Donnelly has claimed five All-Conference honors and USTFCCCA All-Region honors in the 4×400 relay and 800-meter in 2022. She was also a member of the winning sprint medley relay team at the 2022 Drake Relays. Donnelly holds school records in the indoor 800-meter (2:11.97), indoor 1000-meter (2:53.02), indoor 600-meter (1:33.38), indoor 4×400 relay (3:55.24), outdoor 800-meter (2:08.60), and outdoor 1500-meter (4:35.68).

Smith (So. | Dhahran, Saudi Arabia) is the fourth CoSIDA Academic All-American in CSB track and field and cross country history, and the first since Allison Kosobud was named to the third team in 2017. Her second-team honor is the best for the two programs since Alexis Brunner was named to the second team in 1996. Smith, Kosobud, Brunner and Katy Deignan – a first-team honoree in 1993 – are the programs' four academic All-Americans. The academic honor brings Smith's All-American total to six in her sophomore season, and seven in her CSB athletic career. After taking fifth in the 5K at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Smith took fifth at the 2021 cross country national meet, third in the 3K and fourth in the 5K at the 2022 indoor national championships and recorded a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 5K and 10K at the outdoor championships in May. She set eight school records this season and won five MIAC titles.

Schindler (Sr. | Maple Grove, Minn.) graduated May 7 with a 3.98 GPA in nursing. He earned All-America distinction in 2021, thanks to a fourth-place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA outdoor meet, and finished 12th nationally in the event last month at nationals. Schindler tied for the MIAC title (4.56 meters) and is a five-time All-Region honoree (two indoors, three outdoors).

Petersen (Jr. | Hutchinson, Minn.) is a biology major (pre-chiropractic emphasis) with a 3.94 GPA and the 2022 MIAC Outstanding Field Athlete in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Petersen earned All-America honors (top eight) with a fifth-place finish in the decathlon at the 2022 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships. He recorded six personal-best marks/times in the 10 events for a program-record 6,932 points, which topped the previous school record (6,802) set by current Saint Benedict soccer coach Steve Kimble '99 in 1999. He is the fourth Johnnie to earn All-America honors in the decathlon and first since Brayden Wagner '09 in 2009: Dan Besemann '95 in 1995 (seventh), Kimble in 1999 (sixth) and Wagner (sixth). Petersen also qualified for nationals in the high jump, where he tied for 19th.

The all-time total for MIAC Men's Cross Country/Track and Field Academic All-Americans is now 49, while MIAC Women's Cross Country/Track and Field is 74. A complete list of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans from the conference can be found here.

2021-22 CoSIDA Academic All-America Men's T&F/XC Team  
Name Institution Class GPA Major Team Previous Selections
Shawn Schindler Saint John's Sr. 3.99 Nursing First Team 2021 (1T)
Maguire Petersen Saint John's Jr. 3.94 Biology Second Team --
2021-22 CoSIDA Academic All-America Women's T&F/XC Team  
Name Institution Class GPA Major Team Previous Selections
Birgen Nelson Gustavus Jr. 3.98 Classics | Political Science First Team 2021 (3T)
Elizabeth Donnelly Gustavus Sr. 3.98 Sociology & Anthropology Second Team --
Fiona Smith Saint Benedict So. 4.00 Mathematics Second Team --

| 2021-22 Men's T&F/XC Academic All-America | 2021-22 Women's T&F/XC Academic All-AmericaAll-Time MIAC Academic All-Americans |