WEST ORANGE, NJ - West Orange High School graduate and rising University of Alabama senior Nia Barnes has been named a 2014 Capital One Academic All-American Division I Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country athlete. The prestigious honor is awarded each year by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) to the top student-athletes across all Divisions.

Said  Barnes, "I am so grateful for all of my accomplishments.  I want to thank my parents, family, and friends for always encouraging me to work hard and stay fully committed to everything that I do.”

The senior earned third team honors with a 4.0 cumulative GPA in telecommunication and film/media production, and a minor in Spanish. She is ranked second all-time at Alabama in the hammer throw, and was a bronze medalist in the event at the 2014 Southeastern Conference Championships. Her accomplishments qualified her as one of only 24 female hammer throwers in the country to compete at the NCAA Division I Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

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Nia is one of 727 women across 193 institutions that earned the USTFCCCA (USA Track and Field College Coaches Association) All-Academic honors for her combined academic and athletic accomplishments during the 2013-2014 season.  She has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll yearly while at the University of Alabama and has been inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta, Kappa Tau Alpha and Phi Eta Sigma national honor societies. In addition, Barnes was the recipient of the College of Communication and Information Sciences TCF Outstanding Senior Award in the Spring of 2014.

“It is great to represent my town of West Orange, New Jersey in everything that I do. I am thankful for all of the people that have come before me who have paved the way to allow me to accomplish so many goals,” she noted.

Nia was a star track athlete at West Orange High School, graduating in 2011. In her senior year she broke the Essex County, North 1 Group IV, Group IV and State Championship record in the javelin, and those records remain intact.

 Nia is currently completing a summer internship program with Nike Sports in Beaverton, Oregon. The experience opened Barnes to future possibilities. “ I got to meet so many wonderful people and I explored and learned all about the great things that NIKE has to offer to the world,” she enthused.

"Renard and I are very proud of Nia,” said her mother, Tiffani Barnes. “The award is well deserved and a direct result of her hard work, sacrifice and dedication.”

Nia’s Dad, Renard Barnes, was elected to the West Orange Township Council and served from 2006-2010. The family resides in West Orange. Naima Barnes, Nia’s older sister, graduated from West Orange High School in 2009 and Ohio State University in 2013. She currently lives and works in the Seattle, Washington financial arena.

Nia’s younger sister Aliyah graduated in June from West Orange High School, breaking several track records of her own. She is entering freshman year at the University of Cincinnati, leaving only Renard Jr. at home. He will be entering eighth grade at Roosevelt Middle School in September.

Barnes has no plans to slow down anytime soon, and says, “I want to continue working hard and make it to indoor and outdoor national championships and graduate with a 4.0 GPA."

“I have learned so much from this experience and I have grown into a much better person,” Nia said. “By keeping faith and working hard, anything is possible."