COLCHESTER, Vt. - Saint Michael's College men's cross country May graduate James Downs (Winchester, Mass./Winchester) was chosen for NCAA Division II Academic All-District 1 honors on Thursday, as chosen by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Downs, who was among 12 student-athletes recognized from District 1, became the third men's cross country runner in College history to land CoSIDA Academic All-District accolades, joining Chris Zacharer '84 (1983) and Matthew Alexander '09 (2009). Downs, who graduated with a 3.99 cumulative grade-point average, was one of seven Northeast-10 Conference men's cross country runners lauded, and advances to the CoSIDA Academic All-America national ballot, with those selections announced next month.
A triple major in English, history and religious studies, with a minor in medieval studies, Downs returned to form this past fall after appearing in only one race as a sophomore and junior. He was among the Purple Knights' scorers at all six races, taking 25th overall at the Aldrich Invitational and sixth during the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship. The captain nabbed the Purple and Gold's sixth scoring position at the NE10 Championship and set a 10K PR (36:04.7) at the NCAA East Regional Championship, when he was the fifth Purple Knight to finish.
Downs earned two prestigious institutional honors earlier this month, claiming the Department of Athletics' Roger F. Keleher '15 Award as the Class of 2022's top male scholar-athlete before being recognized with the Father Prevel Memorial Award, one of the College's two major senior accolades, during the school's 115th Commencement ceremony. The Prevel Award is given to an outstanding male student in the graduating class who has maintained a high level of academic achievement over four years, and has demonstrated commitment to the intellectual, social and moral values of the College by numerous and exemplary contributions to the life of the campus community.
A Dean's List and Honors student, Downs qualified for the NE10 Academic Honor Roll every semester of college and landed a pair of Division 2 Athletics Directors Association (D2 ADA) Academic Achievement Awards. Downs was involved with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Edmundite Campus Ministry, VITA peer ministry and Founders Society, and served as an Admission open house coordinator, tour guide, writing coach, teaching assistant and researcher. He holds membership in the Chi Alpha Sigma (college athlete), Phi Alpha Theta (history) and Theta Alpha Kappa (religion) honor societies. Downs has a position as a copy editor with the Washington, D.C.-based National Journal lined up to begin his postgraduate career.
Downs, women's basketball May graduate Nicole Anderson and Alpine skiing rising junior Simen Strand all earned CoSIDA Academic All-District laurels in 2021-22, giving Saint Michael's 15 honorees in the past six years alone. To be nominated for the Academic All-America program, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore in academic standing, possess at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA and be a starter or significant reserve. The NCAA Division II District 1 consists of members of the NE10, Central Athletic Collegiate Conference (CACC) and East Coast Conference (ECC). Through the Academic All-America program, CoSIDA names separate teams at each the NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III levels, while the College Division team combines NAIA, Canadian and two-year schools.