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Big Walnut grad Mitch Stith named OAC Scholar -Athlete

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Senior Mitch Stith, a graduate of Big Walnut High School and member of the Capital University men’s cross country and men’s track and field teams has been named Ohio Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete of the Month for January for his excellence in competition and off the field of play.


A four-year contributor in both sports, Stith completed his final season in cross country by qualifying for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional race for the second consecutive season. He finished among the Crusaders’ top two runners at each of the team’s six meets this season.


Stith will compete this winter and spring as one of the men’s track and field team’s top distance runners. He finished in the top half of the field in the 3,000-meter run and placed 11th in the 1-mile run at the Capital Challenge on January 11.


A native of Sunbury, Stith earned Academic All-OAC honors in cross country after carrying a 3.95 grade point average on a 4.00 scale through the Spring 2013 semester. The Political Science and Spanish major also earned Academic All-OAC accolades following the 2012-13 track and field season for his academic performance through the fall 2012 semester.


Stith said he was “humbled” upon hearing the news of receiving the award.


“It’s definitely something I didn’t put much thought toward,” Stith said. “It’s definitely an honor — it encompasses different things I’ve been working toward. To be recognized outside of the university is pretty special.”


Besides a full academic schedule and the rigors that go along with competing year round, Stith is highly involved in several campus organizations. He is the president of Capital’s Student Government, the treasurer of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and a visit leader for the institution’s Admissions Department. Stith also juggles a part-time job at the Delaware County Bank.


With days that may include, class, practice, a meeting with the mayor of Bexley and other community members, helping organize a promotion around a basketball game, giving a tour of campus to a potential student and a dinner with the school’s Board of Trustees, Stith said careful planning is crucial to organizing his busy schedule.


“Keeping a calendar, or writing a calendar, is so important,” Stith said. “The nice thing is that the coaching staff understands … it’s really an understanding campus community overall.”


Stith said there have been a few conflicts during his time at Capital. He noted that understanding when to prioritize one thing over the other is key, as well as the environment that Capital creates with an emphasis on the well-rounded experience.


“The small school and Division III environment has facilitated the core of what I’ve done,” Stith said. “I’ve missed cross country or track meets to attend research conferences, but I’ve rarely missed one thing because of another, so I’ve been very fortunate to work those things out.”


Stith points to several people who’ve had an impact on his career at Capital — head cross country/assistant track and field coach Grace McCarron, assistant professor of world languages and cultures Stephanie Saunders, and assistant professor of political science Daniel Skinner. The group reflects Stith’s vast experiences during his Capital career.


After graduating this May, Stith plans to attend law school with a focus on dispute resolution and mediation. He has applied to Capital, Ohio State, Michigan State, Kentucky and Cincinnati. While he indicated it would be fun to return to his alma mater for graduate school, he said he may seek a change from a small-school atmosphere to that of a larger institution.


Whatever he decides, Stith said he hopes to leave a legacy behind with all the different teams, organizations and groups he’s worked with.


“I hope the tradition grows and that our student government continues to move forward with things we’ve tried to accomplish,” Stith said. “I also hope people realize it is possible to do all these different things at Capital.”

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