Gardner-Webb Nabs Two USTFCCCA Academic Awards

Gardner-Webb Nabs Two USTFCCCA Academic Awards

NEW ORLEANS — The Gardner-Webb women's track and field team was honored for its work in the classroom during the 2015-16 season with its fourth consecutive United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Scholar Team award last week, while sophomore Natasha Akbarizadeh (Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada) earned All-Academic honors for the first time in her career.

This marks the fourth straight year - and the eighth time in the last nine years - Gardner-Webb's women's team has been honored for its academic achievements by the USTFCCCA. A total of 220 women's teams earned the distinction as a result of compiling a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher. Gardner-Webb compiled a team grade point average of 3.22, and is one of five Big South Conference teams to earn Scholar Team honors last season.

Individually, Akbarizadeh was rewarded for her hard work in the classroom after posting a 3.79 GPA during her first two years at Gardner-Webb. She has progressed consistently since her arrival on campus two years ago under the guidance of GWU throws coach Rob Golabek. The Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada native qualified for the 2016 NCAA Division I East Regional Championships this past season after posting a school-record mark of 59.65 meters in the hammer throw at the Mountaineer Outdoor Open on April 30.

Akbarizadeh added to her impressive list of accomplishments with a Big South All-Conference performance at the Big South Conference Outdoor Championships in Lynchburg, Virginia, placing second with a mark of 58.03 meters in the hammer throw.

She is also an accomplished athlete on the international stage, having competed with Team Canada last summer at the 2015 Pan Am Junior Games after winning the Canadian Junior National Championship in the hammer. Akbarizadeh competed internationally for the second time in her career earlier this summer after being named to the Canadian National Team for the NACAC U23 Championships.