Case Western Reserve University senior Sam Merriman was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-America Division III Track & Field/Cross Country First Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) based on his academic and athletic achievements.
It is the ninth time that a CWRU men's cross country/ track and field member has claimed the honor, with Merriman joining former Spartan Stephen Hrinda (2006 and 2007) as the program's only other first team selection in multiple years. Merriman was an Academic All-American First Team selection last year as well.
Merriman is one of seven CWRU student-athletes to be named an Academic All-American this academic year, and becomes one out of the 104 student-athletes in the history of Case Western Reserve athletics to receive the honor.
Merriman capped off his stellar 2017 cross country campaign with an 11th-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Division III Championships in Elsah, Illinois, the fifth-best finish in program history by a Spartan at a national championship, and a 10-spot improvement over his finish last year. His time of 24:37.00 was the best 8,000-meter time of his career, and was the fastest ever at the distance by a Spartan at the NCAA Championships (and second only to Peter Kummant's five-mile time of 24:28 at the 1975 NCAA Championships). Merriman became just the fourth repeat cross country All-American in program history, along with Steve Cullen, Kummant and Greg Bowser.
Merriman qualified for the NCAA Championships after earning all-region honors for the third-straight season at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Championships, placing fourth out of 242 finishers at the meet at Liberty Park in Powell, Ohio.
During the indoor track season, Merriman added an All-Region honor in the 3,000-meter run and finished as the runner-up in the event at the UAA Indoor Championships. Merriman also claimed the conference title in the 5,000-meter run at the indoor championships. Merriman concluded his senior year by receiving the Philip K. Nip Heim Department Award.
Academically, Merriman has recorded a 3.94 grade point average as an engineering physics major. In addition, he was a NCAA Elite 90 Award winner as a junior, for having the highest grade point average among competitors at the NCAA Championships. Merriman has been named a USTFCCCA Scholar-Athlete awardee and has been recognized on nine occasions as an UAA All-Academic honoree.
The senior became eligible for selection for the award after being named to the Academic All-District Team earlier in the year, based on a vote of CoSIDA members. To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.