(Photo courtesy MSUB Athletics)

Evan O’Kelly, MSUB Athletics

PORTLAND, Ore. – Five men and five women from the Montana State University Billings track and field team earned academic all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference honors, announced the conference office Wednesday.

“Academic success is a big part of our program, and we feel it is as important as their athletic success,” commented MSUB head coach Dave Coppock. “It is part of our team culture to excel in the classroom as well as on the playing field. It says a lot for those who repeat each year; that they’re really dedicated to the academic side of sports. It is difficult to balance classwork with all the practice, travel and competition for an entire year.”

Among the 118 women selected, MSUB senior Rio Frame was one of 31 who were being honored for the third time in their career. Frame was joined by repeat selection Bailey Bomar, and by first-time academic picks Shaniah Schwend, Josie Smiedala, and Janessa Williams.

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On the men’s side, juniors Jorey Egeland and Liam McKay were repeat winners, while Ivan Colmenero, Brady Ostermiller, and Kaelen Shay were each picked for the first time.

Frame recently completed her degree in English, with a 3.66 grade point average, and was accepted to the Gonzaga University School of Law. The distance runner earned academic all-conference three times in cross country, and in each of the last two years in track as well.

Bomar was MSUB’s other repeat selection on the women’s side, holding a 3.20 GPA while studying psychology. The junior is also a distance runner, who has twice won academic all-league in cross country.

Schwend is a jumps specialist, Smiedala and Williams team up on the relays and hurdles, and Williams is also on the jumps team as the trio of sophomores was honored. Schwend has a 3.84 GPA while studying pre-nursing, Williams has a 3.68 GPA in elementary education, and Smiedala holds a 3.20 GPA in public relations. Williams and Smiedala helped MSUB break school records in both the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays this spring.

Egeland was equally successful on the track and the classroom this spring, making all-conference by finishing in third place at the 2017 GNAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 3,000-meter steeple chase. Egeland carries a 3.44 GPA in biology, and is also a two-time academic winner in cross country.

McKay and Colmenero are also distance runners, with 3.49 and 3.28 GPAs, respectively. McKay is studying chemistry, while Colmenero is working towards a degree in criminal justice.

Ostermiller and Shay helped ensure that all areas of the track team were represented, with the former being a thrower and the latter a sprinter. Ostermiller carries a 3.59 GPA as a management major, and Shay is a future accountant with a GPA of 3.42.

Athletes must carry a 3.20 GPA, be in at least sophomore standing at their university, and be in their second season of competition in order to be eligible for the academic all-conference teams.