A member of George Mason University’s track and field program has been named to receive a prestigious athletic award.

George Mason University announced that cross country and track and field student-athlete Thomas Amabile was officially named to the 2021 Academic All-America Third Team. This followed the official announcement made by the College Sports Information Directors of America August 12. 

The organization, also known as CoSIDA, focuses on professional development and support for sports information directors at all levels of organized sports and offers awards, scholarships, and grants in support of active and prospective sports information directors in the industry. The Academic All-America award is given to student-athletes who have performed well academically while regularly competing for their school. 

Amabile is one of two Atlantic 10 Conference athletes selected to join the 45 members on the Academic All-America Division I men’s track and field and cross-country team. Amabile was also named to the Atlantic 10’s All-Academic Cross Country Team back in June 2020 alongside Mason women’s track athlete Annabelle Eastman who earned her academic honor after an astounding 2020-2021 season which saw the Melbourne, Australia-native run the second ever fastest time in the at the recent A-10 Championships and finishing in 83rd place in the NCAA track and field championships.  

“I couldn’t be more pleased for Thomas - he’s the epitome of a student-athlete,” said Head Coach Andrew Gerard. “He’s thrived in the classroom and on the track for us, is a tremendous leader for our squad and is a role model on how to have success in multiple arenas while challenging yourself academically and athletically. For him to be recognized by CoSIDA is awesome, but it’s just part-and-parcel of who he is, and that is a very determined, focused, and dedicated student-athlete.”

Amabile, a native of Chesapeake, Va., came in 20th place at the 2020-21 Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championships March 5. He ran a course-best time of 25:12.3 and was one of five top-20 finishers for the Patriot’s team. This placement helped the Mason men’s team finish third overall for their highest team finish since winning the Atlantic 10 League title back in 2014.

In 2019, Amabile set a career-best time of 24:55.8 in the 8K at the Paul Short Run held October 5. He also placed ninth at the Spider Alumni Open and placed 32nd at that year’s Atlantic 10 championships.

On the academic side, Amabile is a rehabilitation science major who holds a 3.98 GPA. Amabile is also a two-time Mason Provost Athlete Scholar and has been named to the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. 

Amabile’s acceptance onto the Academic All-American Third Team makes him the second member of the Mason men’s track and field team and the first from its cross country team to be awarded the distinction since Mason student-athletes began receiving such acknowledgements in 1990. That year men’s volleyball athlete Robert Bailey was named to the AAA’s second team.

Amiable shares this distinction with another Mason track and field student-athlete John Seals. Seals was awarded to the third team twice, once in 2017 and then again in 2019. Seals was one of two Mason athletes to receive the honor twice, the first recipient being Mason men’s volleyball athlete Art Kulans. Kulans was selected for the AAA’s second team in 2002 and then was selected for the organization’s first team in 2003.

In addition to the men’s volleyball and track and field teams, Mason has had student-athletes named to AAA teams from other sports such as baseball and soccer for the men’s teams and basketball, track and field, soccer, and rowing for the women’s teams. 

The Academic All-America program is credited to have been conceived of by Lester Jordan who was the sports information director at Southern Methodist University and created the first team in December 1952 which was made up of student athletes in football.

Those awarded with the distinction are nominated by members of CoSIDA from affiliated academic institutions. The nominees must be a starter or an important reserve member of their respective teams with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA average at their school and must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s games in their assigned position.

The award is currently sponsored by Google Cloud and has been sponsored in the past by organizations such as Capital One, ESPN, Verizon, and the NCAA.

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