CAA Recognizes 19 With Leadership And Sports Excellence Awards
RICHMOND, Va. (July 18, 2018) – Nineteen student-athletes were chosen as recipients of the Colonial Athletic Association’s inaugural Leadership and Sport Excellence Awards, the conference announced today.
The award mirrors the Dean Ehlers Leadership Award, which is presented in men’s and women’s basketball, and the Chuck Boone Leadership Award, which is presented in football. One student-athlete was chosen from each of the 19 other sports sponsored by the CAA for embodying the highest standards of leadership, integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship in his or her academic and athletic achievements.
After reviewing the nominees, the Faculty Athletic Representatives in the CAA voted on the winners.
The 19 student-athletes selected are as follows:
Richard Palacios, Towson. A third-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft, Palacios holds a 3.42 grade-point average as a marketing major. On the field, the shortstop was a second team All-CAA selection this past year after being voted the 2016 CAA Rookie of the Year. In 2017, Palacios earned a place on the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll. Palacios has found time off the field to serve the community as well, running youth camps with USA Baseball and serving as one of Towson’s SAAC representatives.
Men’s Cross Country
Alan Hetherington, Hofstra. The 2018 Dr. James M. Shuart Award winner as Hofstra’s male scholar-athlete of the year, Hetherington became just the third Hofstra cross country runner to earn all-CAA honors when he finished 11th at the 2017 CAA Championship. Serving as team captain in his senior year, Hetherington led the Pride in all five meets in 2017. Academically decorated across all four years after building a 3.95 GPA with a degree in biology, Hetherington additionally volunteered with several organizations on Long Island to help youth in the area.
Women’s Cross Country
Nora Raher, James Madison. In 2017, Raher became the first JMU harrier to win the CAA individual championship and be named CAA Runner of the Year since 2011. In 2016 and 2017, Raher earned all-CAA honors and helped the Dukes collect the ECAC cross country title in both of those seasons. From 2014-17, Raher was named to the USTFCCCA Division I All-Academic Team as well as the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award. Obtaining her degree in nursing, graduating with a 3.791 GPA, Raher has assisted patients at health care facilities since 2016.
Erika McKay, Towson. Since joining the Tigers, McKay has played in 50 of a possible 54 games, starting and playing in every minute of all 50 games. In 2017, McKay was named the team’s most valuable player and has served as team captain in both her sophomore and junior seasons. Entering her senior year, McKay boasts a 3.988 GPA, majoring in speech-language pathology and audiology with a minor in deaf studies. McKay has been a Dean’s List selection in all six of her semesters at Towson.
Thomas Eldridge, UNCW. A four-time selection to the CAA Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Eldridge earned UNCW's Chancellor’s Cup Award for best academic and athletic performance, a year after being named CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year. On the course, Eldridge was a two-time all-CAA first team honoree and collected CAA Rookie of the Year accolades in 2014. Eldridge helped lead the Seahawks to the 2018 CAA title and participated in the NCAA Regional three times in his career.
Lyberty Anderson, UNCW. A two-time medalist at the CAA Women’s Golf Championship, Anderson was the unanimous selection as the 2018 CAA Player of the Year. In her two years with the Seahawks, Anderson set yearly and career scoring average records, earning first team all-CAA honors both seasons. In 2017 and 2018, Anderson was a Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar, receiving the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award as well. In every semester in which she has been at UNCW, Anderson has been on the Dean’s List.
Zachary Goodrich, Towson. A Tewaaraton Trophy semifinalist as a junior, Goodrich was voted the CAA Defensive Player of the Year and first team all-CAA in 2018. A team captain, Goodrich was also tabbed first team USILA All-America and second team Inside Lacrosse Media All-America. Off the field, Goodrich has been a two-time Dean’s List honoree, holding a 3.24 GPA in Sport Management. The rising senior is also heavily involved in raising money in the fight against cancer, participating in both Susan G. Komen and Mustache Madness events.
Stephanie Asher, Elon. A two-time Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List candidate, Asher wrapped up her career as a three-time first team All-CAA selection, earning the accolade from 2016-18. Starting every game of her four-year career, Asher closed her career as Elon’s leader in both goals (179) and points (211). In all four years, Asher was a member of the Commissioner’s Academic Award, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Exercise Science. Asher put her studies to use off the field, volunteering at a pediatric rehabilitation clinic among other activities.
Morgan Mroz, Villanova. A four-year member of Villanova’s Varsity 8 and top pair boat, Mroz competed in 56 races across her four years with the Wildcats. In 2016, Mroz earned an all-CAA team accolade after helping the Varsity 8 take third at the CAA Championship. As a freshman, Mroz was part of the Lightweight Varsity 8 boat that took seventh at nationals. A pre-med major, Mroz earned the NCAA Public Recognition Award in both 2016 and 2017 in addition to being named Dean’s List as Villanova in every semester of enrollment.
Matthew Jegier, Elon. Since entering the Phoenix starting lineup in 2015, Jegier has started every match in goal, becoming the school-record holder with 26 shutouts. The 2017 team MVP, Jegier was voted first team all-CAA after recording 10 shutouts on the year. In the spring, Jegier was also selected as Elon’s Robert C. Brown Memorial Sportsmanship Award winner. Jegier graduated Magna Cum Laude from Elon, taking part in three separate study abroad opportunities and serving as president of Elon’s SAAC.
Sydney Schilling, Elon. A three-time honoree of the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award, Schilling served a team captain for the Phoenix in her senior year. In 2015, Schilling was named Elon’s team MVP and Heart and Hustle award winner. For her career, Schilling appeared in 70 matches for the Phoenix while off the field participating in Phi Beta Kappa honor society and Elon’s SAAC, among other activities. Schilling was named Elon’s Most Outstanding First Year Physics Student in May 2015, made the CoSIDA Academic All-District team in 2017 and graduated with a 3.95 GPA.
Taylor DuPree, College of Charleston. After a record-setting career in which she set College of Charleston and CAA marks for hits and batting average, DuPree was named the Cougars’ Female Student-Athlete of the Year and softball team MVP. In May, DuPree graduated Cum Laude with a double major in Business Administration and Hospitality and Tourism Management, earning a spot on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in each of her four years. Off campus, DuPree has been an asset in the community, volunteering to collect hurricane relief supplies, with Race for a Cure and other organizations.
Men’s Swimming and Diving
Jack Saunderson, Towson. A three-time honorable mention All-America in the butterfly, Saunderson qualified for the NCAA Championship in 2017 and 2018 and collected CAA Swimmer of the Year accolades in both years. In 2016, Saunderson was the CAA Rookie Swimmer of the Year. In total, the rising senior owns 15 medals in CAA competition. Saunderson also conducts swimming clinics with area Special Olympic athletes in addition to annually participating in Towson’s “Big Event.”
Women’s Swimming and Diving
Carly Schnabel, Northeastern. Schnabel received Northeastern’s Janet Swanson Award in 2017, given to the team member who has contributed the most to the development of the Northeastern swimming and diving program, not only for her performance in the pool but also through her day-to-day dedication to her teammates and the team concept. In the pool, Schnabel was named NU’s MVP in 2017 and has been voted a team captain ahead of the 2018-19 season. A Dean’s List honoree, Schnabel holds school records in the 500 and 1000 freestyle in addition to being part of Northeastern’s 400 medley relay record team.
Benedikt Henning, College of Charleston. Henning collected multiple all-CAA honors in his junior year, earning a spot on the singles first team and doubles second team in 2018. As a sophomore, Henning was voted the Cougars’ MVP. Off the court, Henning recently joined CofC’s SAAC and has compiled academic honor roll accolades in both 2016 and 2017. A psychology major, Henning holds a 3.676 GPA.
Erica Braschi, Elon. The 2017-18 CAA Institutional Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Braschi earned a place on the all-CAA tennis team (first or second team) from 2016-18. This past spring, Braschi was named Elon’s recipient of the Robert C. Browne Memorial Sportsmanship Award, coming a year after she received the ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for the Carolina Region. Braschi has earned the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award each year, holding a 3.90 GPA while majoring in Biochemistry.
Men’s Track and Field
Moe Holmes, UNCW. Holmes dominated the jumping events at the 2017 CAA Championship, capturing the long jump, triple jump and high jump crowns., a performance that helped Holmes be named co-CAA Track and Field Athlete of the Year. In 2017-18, Holmes served as a team captain for the Seahawks while also finding time to serve the greater Wilmington community in a variety of projects. In the classroom, Holmes holds a 3.32 GPA with a double concentration in finance and marketing strategy.
Women’s Track and Field
Nicolette Serratore, James Madison. In her three-year tenure at JMU, Serratore owns four separate top-10 performances on the Dukes’ all-time list, including the best javelin throw in school history. Serratore is a two-time selection to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I All-Academic Team and a four-time Dean’s List honoree. A Kinesiology major, Serratore has served as a workshop leader in the classroom, helping teach and assist students with daily chemistry work.
Sydney Busa, Elon. Closing her career as one of the most decorated players in Elon history, Busa became the program’s first first-team All-CAA honoree, wrapping her career with the fifth-most kills and 10th-most digs in program history. A team captain in 2017, Busa was also voted the team MVP. In 2016 and 2017, Busa was voted as a CoSIDA Academic All-District 3 honoree as well as earning CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award accolades from 2014-17. Busa has taken internships with both the Atlantic Coast Conference and Chesapeake Bayhawks, utilizing her degree in Sport and Event Management.