Five Colonels Earn USTFCCCCA Academic Honors
RICHMOND, Ky.— Five student-athletes in Eastern Kentucky University athletics — Emma Garcia-Palencia, Ahmed Jaziri, Quantasia Perry, Laura Tabordaand Jone Zabaleta Larranaga – earned academic honors from the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for the 2022 season.
EKU’s men’s (3.24 cumulative GPA) and women’s (3.59 cumulative GPA) track and field teams have also been named All-Academic Teams by the organization.
Garcia-Palencia, an elementary education major, won gold in the heptathlon at the ASUN Outdoor Championships in May. His winning score of 5,165 points broke the EKU record for the event and was the second-best heptathlon performance in ASUN Championships history. Garcia-Palencia also won silver in the pentathlon at the ASUN Indoor Championships in February. She finished the year with a GPA of 3.41.
Jaziri, a sports management student, won the NCAA title in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase in June. His winning time of 8:18.70 was the second fastest in NCAA history. The native of Rades, Tunisia also won the ASUN titles in the 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters outdoors. During the indoor season, he broke his own school record in the 3,000 meters, clocking 7:47.34. Jaziri finished the year with a cumulative GPA of 3.25.
Perry, an elementary education major, won ASUN gold medals in both the indoor and outdoor 200 meters. She broke or helped break five school records during the season – 200 meters indoor (23.78), 4×400 meters indoor relay (3:45.99), 100 meters outdoor (11.42), 200 outdoor meters (23.35) and outdoor 4×100 meter relay (45.33). ). She competed in the NCAA East Preliminaries in the 100 meters and 200 meters. Perry graduated in May with a GPA of 3.38.
Taborda, an art/design studio major with a concentration in graphic design, became the first female EKU to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She did it by running a school best 9:58.50 at the NCAA East Preliminaries in May. Taborda also won gold in this event at the ASUN Outdoor Championships. She finished that year with a GPA of 3.64.
Zabaleta Larranaga won ASUN gold in the 3,000 meters indoors and the 5,000 meters outdoors. She ran a 5k time of 16:02.55 during the outdoor season, which is the second fastest in school history. That time, she qualified for the NCAA East Preliminaries. Zabaleta Larranaga posted a perfect 4.0 GPA this year while pursuing a Masters in Exercise and Sport Science. She was named to the ASUN All-Academic Team after the outdoor season.
To qualify for USTFCCCA All-Academic Honors, student-athletes must have a minimum GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale. The sporting criteria for the award:
- For the indoor season: must have finished the season in the top 96 in any individual championship event, or in the top 48 in any championship relay event, for the most recent indoor season, certifiable by place on the final season performance rosters on TFRRS for indoor athletics (including performances made outside of the qualifying window during the indoor season).
- For Outdoor Season: Must have competed in any round of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Athletics Championships (the Championship Preliminary Meet and/or the Championship Final Meet) or for Multi -events, must have finished the season ranked first 48 in the East or top 48 in the West for the last outdoor season, certifiable by their place in the NCAA Division I