RYAN FLYNN — General Assignment Reporter
The Northeast 10’s Fall 2011 Commissioner’s Honor Roll has been announced with 178 student-athletes from Southern Connecticut State University making the list. The Honor Roll, which recognizes the best student-athletes in the 16-team conference, is comprised of nearly 3,000 outstanding students from throughout the NE-10.
“They truly represent the definition of a student-athlete,” Patricia Nicol, Athletic Director at Southern said of the Owls who made the list. “They treat their academics with the same intensity as they face their athletics. That number represents just about half of our entire student athlete population, so we’re very, very proud of them.”
Academics take priority for student-athletes at Southern from day one, according to Nicol. When recruiting, Nicol noted, “We emphasize why they are at Southern and that is to obtain their degrees first and foremost.”
Among the students honored are six athletes who posted a grade point average of 4.0 for the Fall 2011 semester. This includes Jackie Fede, graduate student and goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team.
“She’s just a very intrinsically-motivated high-achiever,” said Adam Cohen, head coach of women’s soccer. “And she is somebody that her personality comes out as both an athlete and a student, and that’s why she’s able to excel in both arenas.”
Cohen said that encouraging his athletes to do well in the classroom is a priority for his coaching staff. He said that they give their athletes support from day one and have expectations for them when it comes to performing academically.
Also on the list of student-athletes who earned a 4.0 are sophomore Amanda Acand, senior Ashley Bell and junior Jaclyn Sullivan, all members of the Women’s Track & Field team.
“They’re great kids,” head coach John Wallin said. “They work very hard, and they’re professional. I think it has a lot to do with maturity and pride. They have a lot of pride and they’re very mature young ladies, so that certainly helps.”
Kristin Whitley, a junior, plays infield for the softball team while also working on a nursing degree. She too posted a 4.0 and credited her ability to juggle both academics and her play on the field to careful planning and being prepared for everything a few weeks in advance. She credited her great work ethic in the classroom to, of all things, athletics.
“[Athletics], I think, gave me the mentality to try to work and be better than those around me,” Whitley said. “Just the competitiveness that it gave me made me want to work hard to achieve higher than other people.”
The Commissioner’s Honor Roll list is comprised of more than half of the student-athletes in the NE- 10, with Bentley University leading the way with 320 honorees. The minimum to make the list was a grade point average of 3.0. For Southern A.D. Nicol, this represents another stellar year in her position at forefront of Southern athletics. Nicol, who is in her 13th year as Athletic Director, was nominated in 2010 for the Division II Athletic Director of the Year.
“We try to put the resources in place to really give our student-athletes every chance,” Nicol said. “We work very closely with our campus resources; we try to collaborate with them. So it’s really a team effort for our student-athletes.”