June 21, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
For the fourth consecutive year, Indiana's track and field program has produced at least one Academic All-American, and with Andy Bayer and Chelsea Blanchard each reeling in the academic award, the IU track program has two straight years with multiple honorees. The College Sports Information Directors of America have announced the list of 2012 Capital One Academic All-Americans for track and field and cross country. Bayer and Blanchard both earned second team laurels this year after being third teamers in 2011. The two student-athletes join Audrey Giesler ('03 & '04) and Vera Neuenswander ('09 & '11) as the only two-time honorees in the history of IU track and field.
Indiana Track and Field Director and Head Coach Ron Helmer said that the success his student-athletes have had on the track has only been paralleled in the classroom, and with nine Academic All-Americans in the past four seasons, he feels like his program is heading in the right direction.
"We have had great success in competition since our coaching staff arrived in 2007," said Helmer, "but it is even more rewarding to know that the kids that are succeeding on the track are also thriving in the classroom. We've had nine of these awards come to Bloomington since 2009. It is a sign that we're accomplishing the goal we've set as a program to build strong all-around student-athletes."
Bayer won the NCAA 1,500m title earlier this month and won three Big Ten titles over the course of the year. The junior earned All-America honors in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field this year. He will compete at the Olympic Trials later this week. His 44 career points scored at NCAA Championships are the fifth most in IU history. Last year, Bayer became the first Academic All-American ever for IU in men's track and field, and with one more year of eligibility, Bayer has the chance at joining men's basketball's Randy Wittman, softball's Karleen Moore and men's soccer's Chay Cain as the fourth three-time Academic All-American in the history of IU athletics. A biology major, Bayer has a 3.606 GPA.
Blanchard finished her career this season. Majoring in Visual Arts Education with a 3.97 grade point average, the Ft. Wayne native was a top-five contributor in cross country all four years at IU and an All-Region honoree. She helped lead Indiana to the NCAA Championships in cross country in 2009 and was an indoor NCAA qualifier as the anchor for the distance medley relay in 2010. She has IU's second-best time ever in the 5,000 meters.
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