GLIAC -- Grand Valley State's Angela Ritter and Tiffin's James Ngandu have been selected as recipients of the 2017-18 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards. The winners, awarded annually to one male and one female, were chosen from the 18 male and female GLIAC Commissioner's Award honorees throughout the 2017-18 academic year showcasing the top student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom.
Angela Ritter | Track & Field | Grand Valley State University
James Ngandu | Track & Field/Cross Country | Tiffin University
James Ngandu has had one of the most distinguished careers in Tiffin University history, excelling at the highest level in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. In the 2018 outdoor season, Ngandu was the national champion in the 10,000 meters, while also taking 4th in the 5000. His 10K time of 29:19.91 was 7 seconds faster than his nearest competitor and just 3 seconds off his own personal record. It improved his finish from one year ago, when he took second. In the 5000, he posted a time of 14:04.85. In the 10K and 5K combined, Ngandu has accounted for 6 outdoor All American honors along with 6 more All American honors in indoor competition in the 3000 and 5000 meters. He was also named the 2018 Midwest Region and GLIAC Track Athlete of the Year.
In the 2018 indoor season, Ngandu earned two First Team All American honors at nationals, finishing 2nd in the 5000 meters in 14:00.29 and 4th in the 3000 in 8:07.36. Entering nationals, Ngandu had posted the second-best and fourth-best times in the 5000 and 3000, respectively. His marks in both events were also the top times in the Midwest Region, while he also had the top regional time in the mile.
In cross country, Ngandu enjoyed another stellar season in 2017, culminating his cross country career by winning the NCAA Division II National Championship by 34 seconds over his nearest competitor in 30:18.8. Ngandu finished the season undefeated, winning his 3rd straight GLIAC title, 2nd consecutive Midwest Region title, was named GLIAC Male Athlete of the Year, Midwest Region Athlete of the Year, and National Runner of the Year. The greatest long distance runner to ever step foot upon the campus of Tiffin University, James also excelled in the classroom, majoring in Criminal Justice while posting six GLIAC All Academic citations. He was a 2017 Commissioner's Award recipient as well as being named USTFCCCA Scholar Athlete of the Year