Atwater and Ortiz Named as USTFCCCA Scholar Athletes

Jul 28, 2016


QUICK LINKS:  USTFCCCA Division III All-Academic Team

NEW ORLEANS, La. — The University of Dubuque's Tanasha Atwater and Fabiola Ortiz were named as U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Scholar Athletes in Division III Track & Field for the 2015-16 season. Combining their accomplishments in the classroom and in competition during the recently completed academic year, these two women were among a group of 423 women who earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors. The Spartans also claimed the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team award by finishing with a team cumulative GPA of 3.37.

Including the Scholar Athletes of the Year, a total of 423 women from 129 institutions earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors during the 2015-16 track & field season.

To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track & Field Team, the student athlete must have compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and have met at least one of the following athletic standards:

  • Competed in an NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championship
  • Finished the regular season ranked in the national top 35 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 25 (collective listing) in a relay event on the official NCAA POP list provided by

Sophomore thrower Tanasha Atwater collected plenty of accolades in representing the University of Dubuque track and field team after tying the highest-ever finish by a UD woman with a third-place shot put finish at the Division III Outdoor Championships and earning the IIAC women’s Field MVP at the IIAC Outdoor Championships.

Atwater, who posted the best shot put mark in the nation, led Division III in shot put for most of the outdoor season and won both the IIAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships. She paired it with a runner-up showing in the outdoor hammer throw IIAC Outdoors to win UD’s first-ever woman’s Field MVP. Throughout her 2016 season, the Davenport, Iowa native added two IIAC Championships and four All-IIAC performances, set four school records, anchored the UD shot put and hammer throw units to a pair of Top-5 national rankings, and was also named Academic All-Iowa Conference and CoSIDA Academic All-District.

The shot put specialist won her main event in 16 of 19 total meets in 2016, but in the hammer throw she also qualified for the outdoor national championships and placed runner-up at the IIAC Outdoor Championships.

Stellar junior Fabiola Ortiz finished one place out and less than one second away from securing a spot at the national cross country championships after placing 12th with a time of 22:51.69 at the NCAA Division III Central Regional meet hosted by Central College on Satruday morning. The two-time All-IIAC finisher led the Spartans to 25th overall.

Ortiz, looking for her first national berth, was edged out by the 11th-place finisher by a mere 0.76 seconds after Luther's Lauren Mordini clocked a 22:50.93. Nevertheless, Ortiz was the third-highest Iowa Conference finisher behind Coe's Lucy Conroy in 10th and Mordini in 11th. The Elgin, Ill. native capped a stellar season in which she broke the 23-minute mark for the fourth times, set a new school record, and improved on her time of 24:29 set in the season opener at the Central College Invitational. She 
also shattered her school record in the 3000m outdoor steeplechase by over eight seconds in placing runner-up at Simpson’s Kip Janvrin Open.