(Posted June 2, 2006)

Huntingdon, PA - Juniata College track and field and cross country standout Mike Vella has been selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District II College Division Men's Track & Field/Cross Country Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Vella was one of 10 athletes from District II to claim first-team recognition. As a member of the district first team he will now go on the ballot for the Academic All-America Team for the Women's Track & Field College Division. It is the first time that he has earned Academic All-District honors in his career.

A four-year competitor in both cross country and track and field, Vella was particularly strong in his senior season, when he earned All-Conference honors in track. He posted a career-best sixth-place finish in the 1,500 at the MAC Championships with his fastest time of the year, which earned him All-Conference recognition. He also enjoyed career-best performances in cross country in his senior campaign. His 26th-place finish at the MAC Championships was the best of his career, and helped Juniata finish third as a team. Vella then contributed a 63rd-place finish at the NCAA Mid-East Regional, helping Juniata place 10th in the region.

Vella owns the Juniata track and field record in the 1,500, a mark he set at the 2005 MAC Championships with his seventh-place finish. He holds the record with a time of 4:03.81 which broke the previous record by nearly a second. He was also consistently one of Juniata's top-3 finishers in cross country during his career and had three top-50 finishes at the MAC Championships in the three seasons he competed in the race.

Vella's success in athletics has been matched by his success in the classroom as he graduated this spring with a bachelors degree in biology. Over his four years he amassed a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.970 on a 4.0 scale. His cumulative GPA ranks as the highest among any senior athlete in the class of 2006. Vella was selected as the 2006 MASCAC Men's Track and Field Scholar Athlete and claimed MASCAC Academic Honor Roll recognition nine times.

The members of CoSIDA, by districts, vote on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District II College Division Men's Track & Field Teams. The District II College Division consists of all non-NCAA Division I colleges and universities in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. To be nominated for the Academic All-America program, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore standing with a 3.2 or higher cumulative GPA and be a starter or significant reserve.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.