WORCESTER --- WPI's Sydney Packard (Georgetown, MA) and Oliver Thomas (Goffstown, NH) have been chosen as track & field/cross country Academic All-Americas, as selected by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Packard was selected to the first team while Thomas drew third team accolades.
The duo were named Academic All-Americas for the first time while they are 14th and 15th honorees for 12th year head coach Brian Chabot and 18th overall for the programs. Packard and Thomas are the first cross country/track and field student-athletes to earn the distinction since Brian D'Amore in 2016-17.
The pair became the 55rd and 56th different Engineers to be named Co-SIDA Academic All-Americas for the 81st and 82nd different occasions. The duo joins women's soccer's Mandy St. Germain (Upton, MA), football's Lou Duh (Monroe, CT), softball's Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY). wrestler Tyler Marsh (Upper Black Eddy, PA) and women's rower Christine Hovermale (Alameda, CA) as earning the honor during the 2019-2020 academic year. The total of seven award winners equals the 2016-17 academic year for the most in one year for WPI and the trio of Packard, St. Germain and Wood establish a new record for most first team selections in an academic year.
Packard was the top seed in the 800 meters where she had earned All-America honors as a sophomore (third) and junior (seventh). Her unconverted time of 2:06.54 in the 800 at the BU Hemery Valentine Invitational is the second fastest ever run in NCAA DIII history on a legal track and her seasonal best in the 1000 of 2:52.70 tops the all-time chart. Packard won the mile at the New England Division III Championships on her way to reeling in the New England Region's Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Year award from the USTFCCCA. The senior is now a five-time All-America in the 800 meters as she placed seventh outdoors as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore.
The recent graduate was a chemical engineering major with a 3.95 GPA. Her IQP project in the spring of 2019 developed benchmarks for ideal sanitation practices in Mandi, India. Packard was a Charles O'Thompson Scholar and fixture on the Dean's List and the social chair of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society.
Oliver was a repeat All-America honoree in the 60 meter hurdles. The junior was seeded 13th in the event after posting a time of 8.14 at Springfield's Triangle Classic. In the winter of 2019, Thomas placed fourth in the NCAA Championships hosted by UMass Boston at the Reggie Lewis Center.
The junior touts a 3.83 GPA while majoring in mechanical engineering. Thomas was the 2018-19 Leo S. Jansson - Percy Carpenter Award winner as top sophomore student-athlete at WPI. He is also a member of the club soccer team, the Sports Engineering Club, a Big Brother Big Sister volunteer and on the Dean's List.
To be nominated, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at her current institution, must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's games at the position listed on the nomination form (where applicable), completed one full calendar year at her current institution and has reached sophomore athletic eligibility.