CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Ivy League has announced the names of 80 student-athletes – including 10 from Harvard—who have been named to the winter 2008-09 Academic All-Ivy League team.
The honorees are starters or key reserves on officially recognized varsity teams who have cumulative grade-point averages of at least 3.0. Each of the eight Ivy League schools nominates five men and five women from its eligible student-athletes.
The fencing team headed the list with three selections – two from the women’s side and one from the men’s.
Senior Megan Watson, a skipper on the sailing team, was named academic all-league for the second straight season after placing fifth at the New England Women’s Singlehanded Championship and 12th at the national championship this fall. Watson was an All-New England selection last season and earned All-America honorable mention as a sophomore.
The lone junior on the women’s side, swimmer Alexandra Clarke, led Harvard to the Ivy League championship, winning one individual title and one relay championship. She placed second and two events and was the leader of a dominant distance corps for the Crimson. During the season, she set three individual school records and a relay record at the Ivy Championships. Clarke qualified for the NCAA Championships for the third straight year and competed in the 500 and 1,650 freestyles.
Senior Becky Christensen, a three-time All-America selection in track, makes her second appearance on the Academic All-Ivy League list. Christensen placed fifth at the NCAA Championships and was an automatic NCAA qualifier as well as the ECAC and Heptagonal Champion. A first-team All-Ivy pick, Christensen improved her personal best in the high jump by seven centimeters. She currently stands second all-time on top 10 list. She was named to the USTFCCA All-Academic team as a sophomore and junior.
Ice Hockey co-captain Jenny Brine was a semifinalist for the John Wooden Citizenship Cup this past fall. Brine was named to the All-Ivy League and All-ECAC Hockey second team. She was second on the Crimson with 16 goals, 15 assists and 31 points and was sixth in ECAC Hockey with 23 points in conference games. She finished her career ranked 10th in program history with 144 points on 77 goals and 67 assists.
Emily Cross makes her second Academic All-Ivy honors this season after reaching All-America and All-Ivy League status again. A team co-captain, Cross won a gold medal at NCAA Regionals after posting a 16-2 record at the Ivy League Championships. She was third at the NCAA Championships and was an Olympic silver medalist last summer in Beijing.
Teammate Marisa Larsson was also an All-league selection, in epee. She posted a 14-4 record at Ivy League Championships and earned the silver medal at NCAA Regionals and IFA Championships.
The lone junior on the men’s side was wrestler J.P. O'Connor. O’Connor was a unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection. An EIWA Runner-up, O’Connor reached the round of 12 at the NCAA Championships for the third straight year before finishing the season with a 32-5 record. A two-time All-American, O’Connor was previously an Academic All-Ivy recipient and NWCA Academic All-American in 2008.
Men’s volleyball player Brady Weissbourd also makes his second appearance on the Academic All-Ivy list. Weissbourd was a 2008 CoSIDA Academic All-District 1 selection. Still competing, he entered this week ranked fifth in the nation in aces per set (0.52), seventh in kills per set (5.23) and blocks per set (1.42) and 24th in hitting percentage (.352).
Ice Hockey co-captain Brian McCafferty was a Lowe’s Senior Class Award Candidate. He skated on Harvard’s top defensive pair and on power play and penalty kill units. He ranked second on the team at +5 in league games. This season, he had a goal and seven assists to finish his career with 55 points.
Fencing co-captain Benjamin Ungar makes his second appearance on the Academic All-Ivy team after a hiatus in 2007. Ungar was named All-Ivy League first team in epee and went 11-1 at the Ivy League Championships. He won gold medal at the IFA Championships and placed third at NCAA Championships to earn All-America status.
Men’s swimmer Bill Jones rounds out the selections. Jones earned All-Ivy League first team honors in the 200 medley relay and was named All-Ivy League second team in the 100 butterfly, 800 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay. He was part of the 200 medley relay that broke the meet record at Ivy League Championships, posting a collective time of 1:27.61. He surpassed the previous Ivy League record in 100 butterfly, swimming in 46.12 and qualified for the NCAA Championships.
The Ivy League will publish one more edition of the Academic All-Ivy League team during the 2008-09 academic year, one following end of spring competition.
Winter 2008-09 Academic All-Ivy League Team
Alexandra Clarke, Women’s Swimming (Jr., History & Literature, Phoenix, Ariz.)
Becky Christensen, Track and Field (Sr., Psychology, Celina, Texas)
Jenny Brine, Women's Hockey (Sr., Economics, Truro, N.S.)
Emily Cross, Women's Fencing (Sr., Biology, New York, N.Y.)
Maria Larsson, Women's Fencing (Sr., History of Art and Architecture, Stockholm, Sweden)
Brady Weissbourd, Men’s Volleyball (Sr., Human Evolutionary Biology, Chicago, Ill.)
Brian McCafferty, Men’s Hockey (Sr., Economics, Lexington, Mass.)
J.P. O'Connor, Wrestling (Jr., Human Evolutionary Biology, Oxford, N.Y. )
Benjamin Ungar, Men's Fencing (Sr., History & Science, New York, N.Y.)
Bill Jones, Men's Swimming and Diving (Sr., Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Fremont, Mich.)