Bacher Named Academic All-America of the Year, Seven Engineers Honored as Academic All-Americans

Action photo of Katie Bacher from MIT track/cross country, along with six other headshots of student-athletes.

Cambridge, Mass. (June 23) -- Led by senior Academic All-America of the Year Katie Bacher (Macungie, Pa.), seven members of the MIT men's and women's cross country/track & field teams earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. The Engineers had six First Team honorees and one Second Team selection.

MIT now has 339 all-time Academic All-America selections, which leads both NCAA Division III and all divisions of the program (NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA). In addition, MIT now has earned 20 or more Academic All-America honors in four straight seasons, including in 2017-18 when the Engineers posted a CoSIDA AAA program-record 24 selections. (Note that Division I track & field/cross country selections will be announced on June 25, which may adjust the overall standings among all divisions).

For the women's program, Bacher, junior Katie Collins (Newton, Mass.), senior Jenna Melanson (Woodland, Wash.) and senior Margaret Trautner (Houston, Texas) were named to the First Team, with sophomore Izzi Gengaro (Boonton Township, N.J.) earning a spot on the Second Team. On the men's side, junior Yorai Shaoul (Raanana, Israel) and senior Billy Woltz (Logan, Ohio) were each members of the First Team. Bacher and Melanson are now three-time Academic All-Americans and Trautner is a First Team selection for the second straight season. Shaoul is now a two-time First Team performer, while Woltz was also named to the Second Team in 2018-19. 

Bacher becomes the second MIT women's cross country/track & field student-athlete and 14th overall MIT student-athlete to earn the Academic All-America of the Year Award for their sport. Bacher is now a three-time Academic All-America selection and is a First Team performer for the second straight season. A three-time All-American and five-time NCAA Nationals qualifier in track and field, she is a four-time NEWMAC All-Conference cross country runner who finished as the runner-up at the 2019 NEWMAC Championship. She graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science and a perfect 5.0 GPA as she will now be pursuing her Masters of Engineering in Computer Science with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

Collins is a first-time selection who is a brain and cognitive sciences major with a perfect 5.0 GPA, a three-time NEWMAC All-Conference runner and a 2020-21 Goldwater Scholar. On the cross country course, she finished 15th at the 2019 NCAA National Championship to earn All-America accolades and is a three-time USTFCCCA All-Region performer. In track and field, she earned All-America honors after qualifying for 2020 NCAA Indoor Championship in the 5,000 meters and earning All-New England D3 recognition in the event.

Gengaro is a first-time selection to the Second Team as she is a chemical engineering major with a 5.0 cumulative GPA. In the 2019 cross country season, Gengaro was named as a USTFCCCA All-American after posting the top MIT finish in program history as she finished 10th at the NCAA National Championship. In addition, she won the NCAA New England Regional Championship and captured the NEWMAC Championship title to earn Athlete of the Year honors. 

Melanson, who graduated from MIT with a perfect 5.0 GPA and a degree in biological engineering, joins Bacher as one of four three-time Academic All-Americans on this year's teams. She was a First Team selection in 2018-19 and a Second Team honoree in 2017-18 while also being a four-time All-American on the track. In 2019-20, Melanson was an NCAA Indoor Qualifier in the 3,000 meters and was All-New England D3 in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters. In cross country, she finished her career as a three-time NEWMAC All-Conference runner who finished as the runner-up at the 2018 NEWMAC Championship. 

Trautner graduated from MIT with a degree in mathematics and a 5.0 GPA who is now a two-time First Team Academic All-American. In 2019-20, Trautner qualified for NCAA Indoor Nationals in both the distance medley relay and mile while also being an All-New England D3 selection in the 800m, mile, 4x800 and DMR. For her career, she won the 2019 Indoor Track and Field NCAA Elite 90 Award, was a four-time All-American on the track and a seven-time NCAA Qualifier.

Shaoul, an electrical engineering and computer science major with a 4.9 GPA, is now a two-time First Team selection. One of the top jumpers in the nation, he is a two-time NCAA National Champion in the triple jump and a seven-time All-American after just three seasons. In the 2019-20 indoor season, Shaoul qualified for NCAA Indoor Nationals in both the triple and long jumps and captured the New England D3 Championship in the triple jump. He is also a three-time NCAA National Runner-Up, a 10-time All-Region selection and was named the 2018-19 USTFCCCA New England Indoor and Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year.

Woltz earns First Team honors in 2019-20 after being a Second Team selection in 2018-19. Graduating with a 5.0 GPA in physics, electrical engineering and computer science, he was a cross country team captain in 2019 who finished 17th at the NEWMAC Championship and was named to the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team. The 2018 NEWMAC Athlete of the Year in cross country, he is a two-time USTFCCCA All-Region performer and was named as a 2020 American Rhodes Scholar.

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