Valley Athletes Named Academic All-Conference at University of Montana

By Beacon Staff

Four University of Montana student-athletes from the Flathead Valley have earned academic all-conference honors.

Derek Crittenden of Whitefish and Kalispell’s Josh Harris, Maddey Frey and Shay Smithwick-Hann were named Academic All-Big Sky Conference last week.

To be eligible, a student-athlete must have participated in at least half of the team’s competitions and achieved a 3.2 cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of the most recently completed term.

A total of 52 UM student-athletes qualified for academic honors. The school had the third most in the conference, behind Eastern Washington (59) and Idaho State (53).

Crittenden was a redshirt freshman on the Grizzlies’ football team last season, playing in 11 games and recording 20 tackles. The former Bulldog has a 4.0 GPA in college and is majoring in both chemistry and mathematics. He was valedictorian of his class at Whitefish High.

Crittenden and Griz soccer player Mary Makris, a junior marketing major, were the department’s only student-athletes on the fall academic team with 4.0 cumulative GPAs.

“I don’t like to say this, but I haven’t received a B since the fourth grade,” Crittenden told UM’s Joel Carlson for a story published on the school’s website.

“It actually started in the fifth grade, when I started seeing what I could do. Academics just became a way of separating myself from others.”

Harris, a former standout defensive player for Flathead High’s football team, capped his senior season with the Grizzlies after battling back from injury. He earned honorable mention all-league on defense, recording 39 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss. He was also named to the College Sports Information Director Association’s Capital One Division 1 Academic All-District 7 football team. At UM, he majored in sociology.

Smithwick-Hann, a former all-state player at Glacier High, became the Grizzlies’ starting quarterback as a redshirt sophomore last season. He is studying finance.

Frey, a former all-state soccer player at Glacier, is a junior on the Griz soccer team. She has earned academic all-conference three straight years now. She’s majoring in mathematics.