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Jeff Spear Named NCAA Top VIII Award Winner

Courtesy of Columbia Sports Information/Media Relations

Complete NCAA Today's Top VIII Award Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Following an incredibly successful career as a student-athlete at Columbia, the accolades continue to roll in for former fencing standout Jeff Spear.  Earning one of the top honors presented by the NCAA, Spear became the first Columbia student-athlete to receive the NCAA's Today's Top VIII Award.

The Today's Top VIII Award recognizes 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.

The eight winners in addition to Spear include Amy Backel (Oklahoma, indoor/outdoor track and field), Zach Carr (Stevens Institute of Technology, soccer), Casie Hanson (North Dakota, ice hockey and softball), Dan Laurent (Wisconsin-La Crosse, wrestling), Greg McElroy (Alabama, football), Marcia Newby (Georgia, gymnastics) and Jessica Pixler (Seattle Pacific, cross country and track and field).

The 2008 NCAA Champion in men's sabre, Spear was the 2010 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Men's At-Large Academic All-American of the Year. An evolutionary biology of human species major with a 4.07 grade point average, Spear is a three-time All-American who also earned first team All-Ivy League honors three times.

He received the 2010 NCAA Elite 88 award for fencing, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 88 championships.  He was recently also chosen as the ECAC Division I Male Scholar Athlete.