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Harrell, Mears Earn First Team Academic All-America Honors

Lindsey Branch, UMW Sports Information

AUSTIN, Texas – The College Sports Communicators (CSC) released the Academic All-America teams Tuesday morning. Two Bulldogs earned their name on the 25-man list.

Montana Western kicker John Mears was named First Team Academic All-America for the second time in his career. Tanner Harrell also earned First Team Academic All-American honors, a first in his career.

Mears is the second athlete in Montana Western history to achieve a first team selection and the third to earn Academic All-America honors.

Mears, a redshirt junior kicker from Belgrade, Mont., earned his second First Team Academic All-America honor in his career. This season, Mears was 49 for 51 on PATs. He was also 10 for 13 on field goals this season with a career long field goal of 50-yards made on the road at Arizona Christian. Mears was the second-highest scorer for the Bulldogs, accumulating a total of 79 points this season.

Harrell, a redshirt senior defensive lineman from Shepherd, Mont., earned his spot on the list for the first time in his career. Harrell totaled 30 tackles this season, with eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Harrell rewrote the record book after his career total of 41 tackles for loss (TFL) broke the Montana Western career TFL record.

Harrell and Mears' honors add to the Montana Western total of five Bulldogs in school history who have been named First Team Academic All-American.

The NAIA Academic All-America® program is financially supported by the NAIA national governance structure to assist the College Sports Communicators with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2023-24 NAIA Academic All-America® program.

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