Chena Underhill, a standout women’s track & field athlete for Wesmont College, became the school’s first three-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American, and two members of the men’s team also earned national academic honors on Monday.
Distance runner Michael Oldach received first-team recognition and thrower Jack Dickinson was a second-team selection for NAIA cross country and track & field.
The trio joins Cassidy Rea (women’s volleyball) as CoSIDA Academic All-American recipients in the 2019-20 athletic season.
The four Warriors to be honored in the same academic year ties for the most in school history. In 2011-12, Alison Hensley (women’s soccer), Coby Cress (baseball), Kate Stuart (women’s cross country/track & field) and Melissa McGregor (women’s cross country/track & field) received the award.
Oldach and Dickinson are the third pair of Westmont teammates to earn Academic All-American honors in the same year, joining Stuart and McGregor and Hensley and Christine Adams (women’s soccer, 2013). Hensley is also a three-time All-American
The awards were voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Voters took into consideration student-athletes’ academic portfolio and their career athletic achievements. Typically, only athletic accomplishments from the most recent season are included in nominations, but because the spring sports seasons were cut short due to COVID-19, career achievements were considered.
Underhill, an Augustinian scholar who double majored in political science and data analytics, graduated this past May with a 3.97 GPA. She completed 203 units at Westmont. She served as honorary team captain in 2020, earned NAIA All-American honors four times in the pole vault and ranks second in program history with a personal best mark of 3.75m (12-3.5). She also ranks as the sixth best Warrior ever in the pentathlon (3,009 points) and eighth in the 60-meter hurdles (9.47 s).
Oldach, an Augustinian scholar, graduated from Westmont in May with a 3.77 GPA after majoring in kinesiology and minoring in math. Last summer, he researched the impact mental strength training has on exercise performance with Dr. Timothy Van Haitsma, Westmont assistant professor of kinesiology. This past spring, Oldach also researched the restriction of blood flow in the process of exercise recovery.
Oldach is the only two-time individual Golden State Athletic Conference cross country champion in Westmont history and earned NAIA All-American honors four times, combining cross country and track & field. He ranks second in program history in both the mile (4:06.69) and 3,000m (8:19.28), third in both the 1500m (3:48.59) and 5,000m (14:32.49), as well as ninth in the 1000m (2:32.46).
He served as captain of the cross country team and qualified for cross country nationals four times and led his team to nationals three times.
Dickinson, an English major and religious studies minor, graduated from Westmont last month with a 3.87 GPA.
Dickinson, who served as honorary team captain this past season, is regarded by coach Russ Smelley as the most complete thrower in program history. He ranks no lower than seventh in the Westmont record books in four of the five throwing events. He holds the program record in the 35-pound weight throw – 15.10m (49-6.50), which is 1.17m further than the next closest Warrior. Dickinson earned Most Valuable Performer honors at the 2019 GSAC Championships and was named April 2019 GSAC Field Athlete of the Month.
Oldach, Dickinson and Underhill were all honored this year with the prestigious Golden Eagle Award. The trio also earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors in 2018-19 and GSAC Scholar-Athlete honors in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.