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MIT receives four Capital One Academic All-America Track & Field/Cross Country Awards

Clockwise from top left: Kyle Hannon, Portia Jones, Lauren Kuntz, and Stephen Serene.
Clockwise from top left: Kyle Hannon, Portia Jones, Lauren Kuntz, and Stephen Serene.

For the second year in a row, four MIT student-athletes were named to the Capital One Academic All-America Track & Field/Cross Country Team, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America on Tuesday. Rising seniors Kyle Hannon (Park Ridge, Ill.) and Lauren Kuntz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) were tabbed to the first team, while Portia Jones '12 (Queens, N.Y.) and Stephen Serene '12 (Washington, D.C.) represented the Engineers on the second and third teams, respectively. MIT’s four awards tied Washington University (Mo.) for the highest tally among Division III programs to receive an accolade this year. The Engineers are the all-time Division III leader in producing Academic All-Americas and rank third across all NCAA divisions, with 188 honors.

Majoring in mechanical engineering and physics, Kuntz collected her first Academic All-America award. This past March, she received the NCAA Elite 89 award at the 2012 Division III Indoor Championship, which is given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA at the championship site. Kuntz is a two-time All-America performer in the pole vault and has won the event at the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship twice.

Hannon moved up from the third team last year to the first team and also joined Kuntz as a recipient of the Elite 89 award at this year's indoor championship, the second straight year he earned this honor. He was an All-American in the distance medley relay at the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Indoor Championship and was the NEWMAC champion in the 1500-meter this past spring. Hannon, majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, has completed internships with Facebook, the University of Chicago Computation Institute and Argonne National Laboratories, in addition to conducting research in the MIT Media Lab.

Jones collected her second consecutive second-team accolade after amassing her 17th All-America honor, courtesy of an eighth-place finish in the 4x400 relay at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championship. A four-time New England Track Athlete of the Year, she was named the 2012 NEWMAC Track Athlete of the Year. An electrical engineering and computer science major, Jones graduated as the MIT record-holder in 11 different events and was the national runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles last year.

A physics major, Serene is a first-time honoree following his placement on the third team. He narrowly missed All-America status by finishing ninth in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championship. Serene has totaled 10 All-New England plaudits, eight in track & field and two in cross country, and has been an all-conference performer twice in both track & field and cross country.

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