Feb. 9, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--The annual winners of a scholarship towards graduate studies from the BIG EAST Conference and American Eagle Outfitters were announced today and Villanova senior cross country and track & field athlete Matthew Gibney (Albury, Australia) was named the school's male institutional winner.
The selections of the scholarship recipients are made by the BIG EAST Academic Affairs Committee and Gibney will receive a $2,000 scholarship to put towards his chosen graduate studies. One male student-athlete from each BIG EAST school is named the winner of an institutional scholarship and from that group one person is chosen as the BIG EAST Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
During the cross country season that just ended Gibney earned All-Mid Atlantic Region and All-BIG EAST honors. He was one of the top two runners on the team in four consecutive meets to start the season and led the Wildcats with a fifth-place individual finish at the BIG EAST Championships where the team captured its first title since 2002 and the fourth in program history. Gibney also finished fifth overall at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and was fourth among Villanova runners at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, where the Wildcats 13th place team finish was a 10-spot improvement from last year.
Gibney was named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team in cross country for his combination of success in competition and academically. He is also a two-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star and has been named to the national All-Academic Team in cross country by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Following the 2010-11 cross country and track seasons Gibney earned third team Capital One Academic All-America honors.
As successful as Gibney has been in cross country competition his efforts during the indoor and outdoor track seasons are even better. Last season Gibney ran the anchor leg of the distance medley relay and led Villanova to a Championship of America title at the Penn Relays, the second time in three years he has anchored that same relay to Penn Relays glory. Gibney also was an All-American last outdoor season in the 1500 meters for the second time in his career and received All-BIG EAST honors in the 800 meters. Indoors, Gibney is a two-time BIG EAST champion in the Mile and last broke the four-minute mark in the Mile for the first time in a race at the Flotrack Husky Classic in Washington.
Through the end of the Fall 2011 semester Gibney has a 3.749 cumulative grade-point average as an English major in Villanova's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He plans to attend medical school in his native Australia.
Another cross country and track & field athlete, Cincinnati runner Eric Finan, was named the 2011-12 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Including Gibney and Finan, eight of the 16 institutional scholarship winners are cross county and/or track & field athletes.
The American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is one of a number of scholarships presented by the BIG EAST Conference and American Eagle Outfitters during the 2011-12 academic year. Thirty-two student-athletes (one male and one female from each of the BIG EAST's 16 member institutions) will be named as the winners of the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Scholarships. The conference also names male and female American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Basketball Scholar-Athletes of the Year and an American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.