Two North­eastern Uni­ver­sity student-​​athletes have been rec­og­nized by the Colo­nial Ath­letic Asso­ci­a­tion (CAA) con­fer­ence for out­standing achieve­ment on the field and in the classroom.

Sopho­more cross country runner Eric Jenkins was named the 2011 CAA Men’s Cross Country Ath­lete of the Year, and senior field hockey player Kaela Barker was named the 2011 CAA field hockey Scholar-​​Athlete of the Year.

North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun met with both Jenkins and Barker on Jan. 18 to con­grat­u­late them on their honors and to dis­cuss their future ath­letic and aca­d­emic aspirations.

Jenkins led his team to a program-​​best third-​​place finish in the CAA Cross Country Cham­pi­onships, held in Georgia on Oct. 29. The second-​​year sen­sa­tion, who was named CAA Rookie of the Year last season, earned the indi­vidual con­fer­ence crown by win­ning the eight-​​kilometer (five-​​mile) race with a time of 24:56.

His 11th place finish in the 10-​​kilometer race at the 2011 NCAA Regional Cham­pi­onship hosted by the Uni­ver­sity at Buf­falo on Nov. 12 secured the cross country star a spot in 2011 NCAA Cham­pi­onship in Terre Haute, Ind.

The second-​​year har­rier, who was the only CAA runner to com­pete in the nationals, bet­tered nearly three-​​quarters of the 252-​​man field by fin­ishing in 67th place with a time of 30:31:5.

Jenkins, a Portsmouth, N.H. native who started run­ning cross country in middle school, expressed great pride in being the first Husky to com­pete in the cham­pi­onship since 1993.

It’s good to put Northeastern’s pro­gram back in the race,” said Jenkins, whose long-​​term goal is to com­pete in the 1,500-meter race in the Olympics. “It was a cul­mi­na­tion of a lot of hard work.”

Jenkins plans to increase his summer run­ning rou­tine from about 50 miles per week to 60 or 70 miles per week in prepa­ra­tion for next fall’s cross country season. As he put it, “I have to make sure to keep the miles high.”

Barker, a health sci­ence major with a 3.6 GPA, has made the Dean’s List in all six semes­ters at North­eastern. The aca­d­emic star is a three-​​time CAA Commissioner’s Aca­d­emic Award recip­ient and a two-​​time recip­ient of Northeastern’s Top Dogs Award, which rec­og­nizes student-​​athletes who earn at least a 3.8 GPA for the semester.

Barker takes pride in achieving aca­d­emic suc­cess. As she put it, “It’s impor­tant to be well-​​rounded and I can’t exactly go pro in field hockey.”

Last semester, the North Van­couver native applied to the grad­uate pro­gram in human nutri­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of British Columbia. She would like to become a reg­is­tered dieti­cian and work with impov­er­ished com­mu­ni­ties in third-​​world coun­tries, where, she said, “I could really help people.”

The mid­fielder, who earned 2008 CAA Rookie of the Year acco­lades and scored 17 goals and 20 assists in 81 games for the Huskies, finds par­al­lels between achieving suc­cess on the field and in the class­room. “If you work hard enough, you can achieve any­thing you want,” she said.