Air Force's Rebecca Esselstein Winner Of 2014-15 Capital One® Academic All-America Of The Year Award For Women's Track & Field And Cross Country

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Air Force senior Rebecca Esselstein was named the winner of the 2015 Capital One® Academic All-America of the Year award for women’s Division I Track and Field/Cross Country, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Esselstein is the first Mountain West women’s student-athlete to capture the Academic All-America of the Year honor. In addition, it’s the second straight year that a MW student-athlete has received the prestigious recognition, as New Mexico’s Luke Caldwell was won the award in 2014. BYU’s Miles Batty (2011) and Utah’s Alex Smith (2004) were the other MW honorees.

Esselstein, a native of Dayton, Ohio, is a three-time Academic All-America selection, earning second team in 2014 and third team in 2013. She was named the Air Force Academy’s top overall graduate in 2015, which recognizes excellence in academic, military and athletic performance. A Rhodes Scholar and recipient of the Marshall Scholarship, Esselstein was also named the Academy’s top cadet academically among the 840 graduates.

As a member of the Falcons' cross country and track teams, she competed in all six of the Academy’s cross country meets in the fall and impacted the Air Force record book during the track and field season. A member of the Distance Medley Relay team that won the Mountain West indoor championship in 2013, she ran the 800-meter leg of the DMR team that recorded the second-fastest time in Academy history (11:49.14, adjusted for altitude) this past season.

New Mexico graduate student Peter Callahan was named to the 2015 Academic All-America men’s first team. Callahan, who posted consecutive fourth-place finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 1500 Meters, sported a 4.00 GPA with a major in geography.

Boise State seniors Marisa Howard and Kate Jette, and San José State senior Rebecca Garcia were selected to the women’s third team. Howard, a three-time MW Outdoor Track & Field champion and two-time first-team All-America in the 3000 Steeplechase, earned a 3.83 GPA while majoring in nursing. Jette, a biology major, had a 4.00 GPA, while Garcia majored in psychology and recorded a 3.93 GPA.

The Capital One® Academic All-America program recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. To be nominated, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore academically and be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA. Nominated student-athletes are then voted on by members of CoSIDA from across the nation.