Hilliard Earns Academic All-Conference Honors
Nov. 17, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - In a season Rachel Hilliard filled with firsts and milestones the junior was honored for the first time as one of six Atlantic 10 athletes to earn an Academic All-Conference nod. This is Hilliard's first time earning the honor, adding to a season of firsts for the Hookstown, Pa. native.
Hilliard is now a four-time Atlantic 10 Commissioner's Honor Roll member and holds a 4.0 GPA majoring in Biology and English. The junior also has been accepted into the highly competitive Tufts Veterinary School last spring. This season Hilliard put together the best season thus far in her collegiate career leading the team in six-of-seven meets.
This season UMass raced against stout competition week after week, running against highly ranked teams in the nation as well as in the region. Despite the toughest schedule Hilliard's faced since attending the University, she has displayed significant progress from 2012 to 2013.
Along with her first Academic All-Conference honor the 2013 cross country season was a season full of firsts in what was by far the most competitive season she has competed in as a Minutewoman. Her six times leading the Minutewomen was the most time she's led the team in any season thus far. This was also the junior's first time finishing in the top 100 of the highly competitive Paul Short Invitational and NCAA Northeast Regional Championship.
The Atlantic 10 Championship marked the first time Hilliard has lead UMass at the conference championship as well as finishing top 20. On October 12 Hilliard finished broke the top 30 at the New England Championship and just a week prior was honored for the first time as an UMass Athlete of the Week for her performance at the Paul Short Invitational.
The NCAA Northeast Regional Championship marked the end of Hilliard's cross country campaign. The long distance runner will now begin to train for the indoor and outdoor track and field season.