Six Northern Illinois University student-athletes were recognized as Distinguished Scholar-Athletes by the Mid-American Conference on Thursday (May 7) as the league office announced its winter sports honorees.
Mia Lord (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) from the NIU women’s gymnastics team, Courtney Woods (Brisbane, Australia/St. Margaret’s Anglican School) of the Huskie women’s basketball team along with Nora Finegan (Palatine, Ill./Fremd), Grace Harris (Dousman, Wis.), Kaitlyn Lewis (Liberty, Mo./Liberty) and Ashley Tutt (Channahon, Ill./Minooka) from women’s track and field qualified for the distinction, which goes to student-athletes who qualify for the Academic All-MAC Team with a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or above, and earn All-MAC honors in their sport.
Lord earned Second Team All-MAC honors this season as she was ranked second in the MAC, and ninth in the South Central Region, on balance beam with a National Qualifying Score (NQS) of 9.870 when the season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lord, who has a 3.97 GPA while majoring in psychology, is a two-time MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete recipient.
Woods led the Huskie women’s basketball team in scoring, averaging 185 points per game, along with 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest, while earning First Team All-MAC honors. A sport management major with a 3.89 GPA, the Brisbane, Australia, native finished her career ranked second in school history in scoring, with 2,216 points, while setting new records for three-pointers made (323) and games played (130).
Tutt capped her outstanding year with a second MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete award, having already claimed the award in the fall during cross country season. On the track, the Channahon, Ill., native was named the Most Valuable Performer at the 2020 MAC Indoor Championship after winning both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters. A history major with a 3.76 GPA, Tutt also set new school records in both the 3,000 and 5,000 earlier in the season.
Finegan earned Second Team All-MAC as part of NIU’s distance medley relay team. She also qualified for the conference championship in the 800 meters, where she finished 11th. An electrical engineering majors, Finegan has a 3.97 GPA.
Harris and Lewis were both part of NIU’s second place 4×400-meter relay team at the MAC Indoor Championship. Lewis, a biological sciences major with a 3.60 GPA, was also ninth at the MAC Championship in the 400 meters. Harris, who also qualified for the conference championship in the 400 meters, finishing 11th, is a health sciences major with a 3.56 GPA.
The MAC announces its Distinguished Scholar-Athletes three times a year, at the conclusion of the fall, winter and spring seasons.