NEW ORLEANS – For the 20th consecutive year, the Richmond Athletics program has been named the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Academic Team. In addition to team accomplishment, five Spiders received individual All-Academic honors for their efforts both on the track and in the classroom.
To be named an All-Academic team, the cumulative GPA of all student-athletes on the institutions’ NCAA team roster must be 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. The Spiders mark their emerald anniversary on the roster with a team GPA of 3.53.
“What an incredible achievement from our student-athletes! Two decades of academic achievement! We are proud of the tradition that our track and field and cross country teams have established over the years,” said the director of the ‘Athletics. Lori Taylor.
“The fact that our women’s track and field and men’s cross country programs have each earned All-Academic Team honors for 20 consecutive years demonstrates that our student-athletes understand balance. As coaches, we are educators first and recognize that our student-athletes are here for their programs of study. The University of Richmond is a great school and our student-athletes choose to come here because they know they will have the opportunity to have a great educational and sporting experience. This is an outstanding achievement by our entire team,” added Taylor.
Five individuals in Brooke Fazio, Rachel Helbling, Kayla O’Connell, Elizabeth Stockman and Kayla Wood also earned USTFCCCCA All-Academic Individual Honors.
To qualify, student-athletes must have a GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale and must have finished the season in the top 96 in any individual championship event, or top 48 in any relay event championship for the indoor season. For the outdoors, the athlete must have competed in any round of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Athletics Championships (the Championship Preliminary Meet and/or the Championship Final Meet.
Fazio earned this honor thanks to his performance in indoor A-10 and ECAC. Fazio, Helbling, O’Connell and Stockman won the honor for their DMR performance during the indoor season and Woods won the honor for his NCAA qualifying performance in the long jump.
Brooke Fazio – Graduate Student – Basking Ridge, NJ – 800m
Graduating from Richmond in May with her Masters in Liberal Arts, Fazio finished first at the Atlantic 10 Championships in the 800m with a time of 2:07.79. She also helped the Spiders win the 4×800 with a time of 9:06.01. Fazio ended her career without losing in the Atlantic 10 individual or relay competition – indoor or outdoor – since May 5, 2019. Earlier in the outdoor season, she helped the Spiders set a new school record when she partnered with Kate McAndrew, Kendra Smith and Helbling for a 4x800m relay mark of 8:34.14 at the Americas Championship during the 126th Penn Relays. Indoors she won the inaugural 800m race and as a member of the Spiders 4×400 and DMR at the Atlantic 10 Indoor Championships. The fastest and arguably best A-10 800m runner of all time, Fazio holds the event’s indoor and outdoor conference records.
Rachel Helbling – Senior – McDonald, Pennsylvania – DMR
One of the best to ever toe the line for the Spiders, Helbling holds eight school records, setting or breaking her own in five events in 2022. She holds the program’s top marks in the 400m, 500m and 600m indoors and is a member of the school record-holding 4×400 and indoor medley relay teams. On the outside ring, she is a member of three school record relay teams, including the 4x400m, 4x800m and medley. One of the most decorated Spiders of all time, Helbling’s forte for long sprints was on full display in championship competition. During her career, she won nine medals (8 gold, 1 bronze) at 10 Atlantic Championships and was prolific at the IC4A/ECAC Championships where she won 11 medals, the most ever. for a Spider. Helbling finished the 2022 indoor season with the NCAA’s best time in the 500 m. At the time he was run, he was the fourth fastest in the world and the fastest in the United States. Graduated with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, she won the School of Arts and Sciences award as the best senior in her respective school of study. and was also recognized by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with the Senior Academic Award for being the top student in the program. Following her outstanding senior campaign, the McDonald, Pennsylvania native was named Richmond’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2022.
Kayla O’Connell – Junior – Marshfield, Mass. –DMR
While injury sidelined her after just one encounter this spring, O’Connell managed to walk away from her abbreviated outdoor junior campaign with a PR in the 1,500m at the Fred Hardy Invitational. During the indoor season, the economics major won PR in the mile and 1,000m while helping the Spiders capture their record DMR time of 11:21.53 at the JDL DMR Invitational. She won gold as a member of the Richmond DMR and 4×800 and finished second in the 1000m at the Atlantic 10 Indoor Championships. In the IC4A/ECAC competition she ran a PR 1000 time m of 2: 46.96 for the money.
Elizabeth Stockman – Second Year – Rocky Hill, Connecticut – DMR
Also part of the DMR indoor record, Stockman, a biology major, took third place in the 5000m at the Atlantic 10 Indoor Championships before running a PR in the 3000m at the IC4A/ECAC Indoor Championships. . She kicked off the outdoor season by winning the 1,500m at the Fred Hardy Invitational before earning a PR in the event later in the season at the Virginia Challenge. She finished third in the 5,000m at the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championships with a time of 17:16.126.
Kayla Wood – Senior – Wilmington, Del. – Long jump
Woods graduated with a degree in health studies in May and is the Richmond school record holder in indoor and outdoor long jumps. She won gold at the Atlantic 10 indoor championships and silver outdoors. She went on to win gold at the IC4A/ECAC Championships and qualified all the way to the NCAA East Preliminaries. She was also a member of the gold medal winning Spiders 4×400 outdoor and 4×400 indoor championships.
“With the success of the team, these young women exemplify the qualities we seek as the foundation of our program. They are incredible young women who serve as leaders within our program and our university,” Taylor said. “They are exceptional in every way and excel not only on the competitive field, but they are ambassadors for our program and our community. The past two years have brought many challenges for student-athletes as they were adjusting to life under the umbrella of a global pandemic.These women rose to the challenges they faced while keeping their focus and priorities in the right place.They are true student-athletes in every sense and we are proud that they represent our program and our university.