NCAA honors Willamette alumnna this year for her athletic, scholastic prowess

Sprinter Jaela Dinsmore ’12 represented Willamette both academically and athletically at this year’s NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

In addition to finishing 5th in the finals of the 100-meter dash, Dinsmore received the NCAA Elite 89 Award for her outstanding academic record.

Each year the Elite 89 Award is given to the competitor with the highest grade point average at each of the NCAA’s 89 national championship events. Dinsmore — a Latin American studies and Spanish double major— qualified for the honor by achieving a 3.99 GPA while at Willamette.

“I feel blessed (my Willamette experience) ended on such a high note,” Dinsmore says. “I was continually challenged to be a better version of myself by my professors and coaches, who inspired me to set high goals and work hard to achieve them.”

Dinsmore capped off her athletic career with a personal record time of 11.95 seconds in the finals of the 100-meter dash. Her 5th-place finish gained her All-America status, an honor reserved for the top eight runners in the event. She also set a personal record time in the preliminary heats of the 200-meter dash, earning her 11th place in that event.

Dinsmore’s honors at this year’s national championship add to her long list of academic and athletic accomplishments.

She finished her athletic career ranked 2nd on Willamette’s all-time Top 10 list for the 100- and 200-meter dash, and she is ranked 6th all time in the 400-meter dash.

Dinsmore received Third Team Capital One Academic All-America and First Team Capital One Academic All-District honors in 2011, and she was nominated for the recognitions again this season. This year, Dinsmore also was honored as the Women’s Senior Scholar-Athlete at Willamette for having the highest cumulative GPA among graduating women student-athletes.

Dinsmore says she’s grateful she had the opportunity to compete at the national level and achieve her goals.

“My experience at Willamette, both on the track and in the classroom, has shown me the importance of keeping a positive attitude when things get bumpy, and that I can always work toward improving myself,” she says. “Being here has instilled in me the desire to constantly pursue excellence in all aspects of life, for the rest of my life.”

Dinsmore is the second Willamette athlete to receive an NCAA Elite Award. Chris Platano ’10 was the Elite 88 winner at the 2009 men’s cross country championships. Since then, the NCAA has added an 89th national championship.