VERMILLION, S.D. -- South Dakota women's track and field athletes Bethany Buell and Alexa Duling were recently named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I women's track and field/cross country first team, while men's track and cross country runner Jeff Mettler was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I men's track and field/cross country second team. The teams were selected in a vote by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
It's the first Academic All-America honor for all three honorees. The South Dakota women tied Oregon for the most athletes to make the women's first team with two, while the USD men were the only Summit League men's track and field team to have an honoree this season.
Buell, a psychology major with a 3.97 GPA, won the pole vault at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last month to become USD's first champion at the Division I level. The junior from St. Louis, Mo., tied the NCAA Outdoor Championship record with a vault of 14 feet, 7¼ inches (14-7¼), and had the top vault in the nation of 14-7½.
Buell also earned first team All-America honors during the indoor season after placing sixth at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
Duling, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA from the business administration graduate program, received the 2013 Walter Byers Scholarship, which is awarded to one male and female athlete in recognition of academic achievement and potential future success. She will receive a renewable $24,000 scholarship while attending the Arizona College of Medicine.
On the track, the Gregory, S.D., native earned All-America honors in the 400-meter hurdles in 2012 and was the 2013 Summit League champion in the event. She qualified for the Olympic Trials in the event a year ago and competed at the NCAA West Region Preliminary Round this year.
Mettler, a junior with a 4.0 GPA in USD's kinesiology and sports sciences program, won Summit League track titles this season in the indoor mile, the indoor 3,000-meters and the outdoor 3,000-meter steeplechase. The Eureka, S.D., native also placed second at the Summit League Cross Country Championships last fall and was named this year's Summit League Scholar Athlete of the Year.
To be eligible for Capital One Academic All-America honors, a student athlete must be a varsity starter or a key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale, must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at the nominating institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.