ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — They’re great on the track, but they’re unmatched in the classroom.
University of New Mexico track and field athletes Luke Caldwell, Gabe Aragon and Patrick Zacharias earned 2014 Capital One Academic All-America honors Thursday, with Caldwell also claiming the All-America of the Year award.
All three were selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I Men’s Track and Field/Cross Country first team, an unprecedented feat in both program and school history.
The trio’s selection increases New Mexico’s total number of First Team All-America recipients in the 2013-14 school year to five student-athletes, the most in school history and the third most in Division I history on the men's side.
“Having three guys make the first team is amazing,” New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said. “And when you have one guy who is considered the best, that’s what you strive for. He was obviously a great candidate for that. And with his résumé of academics and athletics, he was the top.”
Caldwell, hailing from Betchworth, England, just completed his second year pursuing a Master of Science in physics with a 3.92 GPA. He is the school’s first winner of an Academic All-America of the Year award since men’s soccer’s Simon Ejdemyr in 2009.
“I'm very pleased and quite humbled,” Caldwell said. “It's an incredible honor to receive that in my last season.”
Caldwell is a five-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) First-Team All-American and was named Mountain West Men's Indoor Student-Athlete of the Year in 2013 and 2014 and the Mountain West Men's Outdoor Student-Athlete of the Year in 2013.
He is an nine-time MW champion during his two years running cross-country and track for UNM, and won the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs at the 2014 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships as New Mexico’s men completed the program’s first “Triple Crown” by taking the cross country, indoor and outdoor team titles.
Caldwell is the only track athlete in Mountain West history with as many titles.
| Gabe Aragon
Additionally, he owns the the school and conference record of 13 minutes, 34.54 seconds in the indoor 5000 and is the school record holder in outdoor 5000 (13:29.94).
He was also selected to the Academic All-Mountain West team in 2012 and 2013, and was named a Mountain West Scholar-Athlete in 2013.
He recently was named trackboundUSA.com’s 2014 Male Track Athlete of the Year and finished sixth in the 5,000 at the European Team Championships in Braunschweig, Germany.
Aragon, a graduate student from Albuquerque, earned his second-straight All-America selection, after earning second-team honors last season.
He registered a 4.0 GPA through his first year pursuing a master's degree in business administration. Additionally, Aragon was a four-time Academic All-Mountain West recipient from 2010-13, and was named a Mountain West Scholar-Athlete from 2010-11 and again in 2013.
While running for the Lobos, Aragon was part of a distance medley relay (DMR) team that earned First Team All-American status from the USTFCCCA in 2011.
He is a two-time MW champion across 800-meters, winning indoors in 2012 and outdoors in 2014. He was selected to additional All-Mountain West Indoor teams, including in 2011 in the DMR and in 2013 in the 4x400 meter relay.
Zacharias, a senior from Albuquerque, is majoring in biology and carries a 4.03 GPA. He is a two-time Mountain West Academic All-Conference honoree (2012-13) and was named Mountain West Scholar-Athlete in 2013.
A five-time all-Mountain West performer, Zacharias has been selected to the All-Mountain West Outdoor Team in 2013 (5000-meter run) and 2014 (5000 and 10000) and to the All-Mountain West Indoor team in 2014 (3000 and 5000).
In cross-country, he was named to the USTFCCCA All-Mountain Region Team (2012 & 2013) and as First-Team All-Mountain West (2012 & 2013).
The threesome’s selections increases the number of Academic All-America selections that Lobo cross country/track and field has received in program history to eight, with five coming in the last two seasons.
Last year, Aragon was selected to the second team and Thomas Trujillo to the third team. Prior to that, ESPN The Magazine named Jeremy Johnson third team Academic All-America in 2007 and Frank Hemmingway second team Academic All-America in 2006, while Mark Johnson was named Academic All-America in 2004.
New Mexico is also the only institution — and the first since Stanford in 2012 — to have three representatives on the Academic All-America first team for track and field/cross country.
For UNM as a whole, the trio are the fifth, sixth and seventh Academic All-America selections this year, which is the most since earning the same number in 2005. The school record for Academic All-America selections is nine, achieved in 2004.
They also bring UNM's total of First Team Academic All-Americans this year to five, joining Armin Triendl and Mats Resaland of the ski team. Overall UNM has had 23 Academic All-America selections over the last five years.
The Lobos also received 17 Academic All-District selections in 2013-14, which is another school record.
NOTES: Stanford is the only institution in Division I history to earn more than five First Team Academic All-America selections in one year on the men's side, with seven in 2011 and six in 2012 ... New Mexico's total of five male first teamers ties it with Ball State (2002), Nebraska (1993, 1994) and Penn State (2008) for the third most in Division I history ... Caldwell, Aragon and Zacharias — along with alpine skier Triendl and Nordic skier Resaland, both of whom were named to the Men's At-Large team — give UNM five First-Team Academic All-America picks in the month of June … Before this month, 2011-12 was the last year UNM had any First-Team Academic All-America honorees, with Kelly Williamson (volleyball) and Caroline Durbin (women’s basketball) … The five men are also the first male student-athletes to earn First Team honors since Tor-Hakon Hellebostad (skiing) and Travis Ross (men’s golf) in 2010-11