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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama cross country junior Mercy Chelangat was named the 2021 SEC Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the conference announced on Wednesday.

Chelangat is the first female cross country runner to earn the honor in Crimson Tide program history.

On top of maintaining a 3.87 GPA while pursuing her public health degree, Chelangat also won titles at both the NCAA and SEC level last season.

“We’re very proud of all that Mercy has accomplished," Alabama head coach Dan Waters said in a statement. "This latest honor shows the hard work, focus and dedication that she puts into everything she does, whether it’s on the course or in the classroom. I think she’s a great example of the importance our entire team puts on successfully balancing academics and athletics, which just goes to show that at Alabama you can really have it all.”

Here is the full release issued by Alabama Athletics:

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Alabama’s Mercy Chelangat Named 2021 SEC Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year

The defending NCAA and SEC cross country champion is the first Crimson Tide woman to earn the academic accolade for cross country

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Defending NCAA and Southeastern Conference cross country champion Mercy Chelangat has been voted the 2021 SEC Cross County Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the league’s coaches the conference office announced Wednesday.

Head Coach Dan Waters Said

“We’re very proud of all that Mercy has accomplished. This latest honor shows the hard work, focus and dedication that she puts into everything she does, whether it’s on the course or in the classroom. I think she’s a great example of the importance our entire team puts on successfully balancing academics and athletics, which just goes to show that at Alabama you can really have it all.”

More on Mercy Chelangat

  • A junior from Kericho, Kenya, Chelangat carries a 3.87 grade point average while pursuing a degree in public health
  • She is the defending NCAA and SEC cross country champion
  • Voted a CoSIDA Academic All-American last season
  • Named the 2020-21 USTFCCCA National Cross Country Athlete and Scholar-Athlete of the Year
  • Won the Joe Piane Invitational earlier this year
  • The SEC began the cross country scholar-athlete of the year program in 2014, and Chelangat is the first UA woman to earn the honor
  • Chelangat’s brother Vincent Kiprop became the first member of the UA men’s program to earn the honor in 2019

Chelangat and the rest of the Crimson Tide will race in the 2021 SEC Championships Friday, Oct. 29 in Columbia, Mo.