VILLANOVA, Pa. - Junior cross country runner Bella Burda (Pleasant Valley, N.Y.) was named the Office of Academic Support Student-Athlete of the Month for November after she continued to stand out for her academic achievement and her success in competition. This is the second straight year that Burda has been honored with a Student-Athlete of the Month award. The Office of Academic Support Student-Athlete of the Month award is presented by Rothman Institute.
During the Fall 2017 semester, Burda achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average for the fourth time in her five collegiate semesters. She was a part of a women's cross country team whose 3.633 team GPA for the semester is the highest-ever for a Villanova team in a single marking period. Burda, who has been one of the team's leading performers in all three of her collegiate cross country seasons, was presented with the NCAA Elite 90 Award as a sophomore at the 2016 national championships. She is a three-time member of the BIG EAST All-Academic Team and a two-time selection to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team in both cross country and track & field.
The cross country season which just ended saw the Wildcats advance to the NCAA Championships for the third straight year and the ninth time in the last 10 seasons. Burda was the team's top finisher in each of her last four races, including winning the individual title at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. She was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year and also repeated as an All-Region and a first team All-BIG EAST performer. Burda finished 65th at the NCAA Championships, third at the BIG EAST Championships and was the individual winner at the Penn State National Open.
Combining the cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field seasons, Burda is a seven-time All-BIG EAST performer. She was the BIG EAST outdoor 5000 meter champion last season and has also been a part of two champion 4x1500 meter relay teams at the Penn Relays in the past two seasons.