Dec. 13, 2011
PHILADELPHIA, Pa.--Senior Matthew Gibney (Albury, Australia) has been named to the 2011 Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Men's Cross Country Team, as announced on Tuesday morning by the Philadelphia Area Sports Information Directors Association. The award is based on both athletic and academic achievements and is voted on by local sports information directors. This is the first time that Gibney has won the award.
During the 2011 cross country season Gibney earned All-Mid Atlantic Region and All-BIG EAST honors while helping Villanova finish 13th as a team at the NCAA Championships, where the Wildcats placed 10 spots higher than last season. Gibney was one of the team's first two runners at each of the first four meets of the season, including coming in first on the team at both the BIG EAST Championships and the Paul Short Run.
Gibney placed fifth overall at both the conference meet and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and at the latter meet recorded a career-best 10K cross country time of 30:42. He came in fourth on the team and 109th overall at the national championships meet.
Outside of competition Gibney is a two-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star and last spring garnered Capital One Academic All-America third team honors for cross country and track & field. Gibney is an English major and maintains a 3.71 grade-point average.
Gibney also was named a Scholar-Athlete by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) last spring after a successful outdoor track season which saw him garner All-America honors in the 1500 meters and anchor Villanova to a Championship of America title in the distance medley relay at the Penn Relays.
The members of the 2011 Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Men's Cross Country Team are Gibney, Eric Arnold (Haverford), Tyler Dye (Philadelphia University), Stephen Hoffman (Rowan), Jacob Phillips (Swarthmore), Andrew Sturner (Haverford) and Matt VanDenHengel (Gwynedd-Mercy).
Each year the sports information directors from 28 area institutions vote on the Academic All-Area Teams for 22 different sports, plus two at-large teams. The teams recognize those student-athletes who are best able to balance athletics with academics, and excel at both. Voting is based on both grades and athletic performance. An overall Performer of the Year is also chosen from each team, as well as a Male Performer of the Year and a Female Performer of the Year at the end of each academic year.
The Academic All-Area program is now in its seventh year. A list of the honorees for each fall sport will appear in the printed edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer at a later date.