UCSD Runner Named Scholar-Athlete of the Year

    UCSD distance runner James Nielsen has been named the 2000-2001 California Collegiate Athletic Association Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

    The award is the culmination of an impressive career for Nielsen that has included three athletic All-America selections, three academic All-America Awards and two NCAA Division III Championships in track and field.

    The award is given annually to the top male and female student-athletes in the CCAA conference. Athletes are selected by CCAA faculty athletics representatives. To be eligible, athletes must be seniors, have competed in their final year of athletic eligibility in a CCAA-sponsored sport, and have a minimum GPA of 3.5.

    Nielsen achieved a 3.86 GPA as an electrical engineering major at UCSD. As a sophomore, Nielsen began working with a prominent person in that field and contributed to his projects. In his senior season, he was a Rhodes Scholar District VIII finalist. He also received the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award that year.

    On the athletic field, Nielsen began contributing as a freshman. He finished second in the 5,000-meter run at the CCAA Track and Field Championships and was named UCSD’s Outstanding Freshman Athlete.

    One year later, he won the CCAA Cross Country Championship, earning league athlete of the year honors for cross country, a NCAA Division III All-America award, and his first NCAA Division III Track Championship in the 5,000 meters. He was named an NCAA All-American as well as a GTE Academic All-American.

    In his junior season, Nielsen repeated as the CCAA cross-country champion and as the NCAA Division III 5,000-meter track champion. He was again named an NCAA All-American and a GTE Academic All-American.

    In his final season at UCSD, Nielsen was unable to compete in cross country due to an injury, but he came back strong in spring and won the 5,000 meters at the CCAA Track and Field Championships. He also set the school record in the 5,000 meters.

    Nielsen will enter the doctorate program at Stanford University in fall on a full academic scholarship. He will also use his final season of cross country eligibility to run for the Cardinal.

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