January 4, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma Track and Field alum Amy Backel was named one of eight recipients of the NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award the organization announced Tuesday. The two-time All-American and 2010 Big 12 champion in the javelin, Backel completed her Civil Engineering degree requirements with an overall 3.98 grade point average en route to becoming Oklahoma’s first ever, male or female, three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American. Backel was one of two track and field athletes nationally to receive the honor and the only student-athlete from the Big 12 Conference to do so.
The NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award recognizes current student-athletes who will have completed their athletics eligibility for their success on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community. They will receive their award at the NCAA Honors Celebration on Jan. 14 at the 2011 NCAA Convention in San Antonio.
The honorees are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which is composed of athletics administrators at member institutions and nationally distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes.
Backel is the second NCAA Top VIII award winner in Oklahoma history and the first since football's Anthony Phillips received the honor in 1989.
The award is the latest in a long list of achievements for the Dillsburg, Pa., native. Backel was named the 2010 OU College of Engineering Outstanding Senior in Civil Engineering and has been named to the Academic All-Big 12 first team all four years of her athletic career, carrying a 4.0 grade point average for three of the four years. In her collegiate career, Backel, who is beginning work on her master’s degree in engineering, recorded a B just once.
Backel owns six All-Big 12 honors and was also recently named a recipient of the Big 12’s Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship. During her college career, Backel served as president of Oklahoma’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and served on the Big 12 SAAC from 2008 to 2009. Backel was also the 2007 recipient of OU’s Dan Gibbens Outstanding Scholar Athlete of the Year Award and Athletics Council Service Award.
The OU record holder in the javelin, Backel was the top collegiate finisher in the event at 2010 USA Track and Field Championships. Along with her individual academic achievements, Backel helped guide the OU women’s team to the top spot in the 2010 USTFCCCA Academic Team rankings.