(AUSTIN, Texas) – After finding a spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Team for men's and women's cross country and track and field less than a month ago, three Carnegie Mellon University senior athletes were selected to the Capital One Academic All-America Third Team for the 2014-15 season; George Degen (Madison, Wis./West) and Thomas Vandenberg (Mamaroneck, N.Y./Mamaroneck) on the men's side are joined by Erin Kiekhaefer (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) on the women's team.
Kiekhaefer becomes the second Carnegie Mellon women's track and field and cross country runner to receive the honor. Maureen McGranaghan became the first female in school history to earn Academic All-America honors in 1996-97, as that marked the first of three straight honors for McGranaghan. It is the third time a pair of men's track and field and cross country runners have merited the honor in the same year and 14th and 15th male athletes to do so.
All three runners competed at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Division III Track and Field Championships at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. the weekend prior to be named to the Academic All-District squad.
Degen, a chemical engineering major with a minor in computer science, graduated with a 3.86 GPA. He was crowned the 2014 individual University Athletic Association (UAA) cross country champion and became a three-time All-Mideast Region runner in the fall after placing eighth at the regional event. He graduated holding two school records on the track; the indoor 3,000-meter run and outdoor 10,000-meter run. Degen placed 14th at the outdoor championships in the 10,000 while he finished 10th in the 3,000 at the indoor championships in March. This summer, Degen has been accepted into the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) International at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. He is spending 10 weeks in Germany performing research modeling diffusion of gases into polymers. In the fall, Degen will be heading to the University of California, Santa Barbara to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering.
At the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Vandenberg earned All-America honors for the first time on the outdoor track in the 800-meter run and fourth of his career for the indoor and outdoor seasons; three times in the 800 and once in the 400-meter dash. The Mamaroneck, New York, native graduated as a 10-time UAA champion and 19-time All-UAA selection in track and field. Vandenberg is a four-time Most Outstanding UAA Performer in running events for indoor (3) and outdoor (1) and owns three school records; indoor 800-meter, outdoor 800-meter and is part of the 4x800 relay team that also broke the UAA outdoor record this past season. Vandenberg graduated with a double-major in mechanical and biomedical engineering with a minor in business administration while he held a 3.31 GPA.
Kiekhaefer, also a double-major graduate in global studies and hispanic studies with a minor in linguistics, has a 3.87 GPA. In the fall, she crossed the finish line 25th at the cross country Mideast Regional to earn All-Region distinction. She graduated a part of four school records on the track; indoor mile run, outdoor 1,500-meter run and part of two relay school record squads, indoor distance medley and outdoor 4x800 relay team. Kiekhaefer placed 11th at the outdoor championships in the 1,500-meter race while she finished ninth in the mile at the indoor championships this year. She was awarded a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Grant and will be completing an English Teaching Assistantship in Mexico. While in Mexico, she plans to pursue a community project that combines her two passions — participating in sports and working with children.