HADLEY, Mass. – The New England Small College Athletic Conference announced its 2012 Spring All-Academic selections today, with a record 929 student-athletes receiving All-Academic recognition. To be honored, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore academic standing and be a varsity letter winner with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.35. A transfer student must have completed one year of study at the institution.
Of the 809 individuals honored last spring, an impressive 411 students returned for the 2012 edition of the All-Academic squad. The Spring All-Academic selections also included 124 competitors that were honored as both All-NESCAC and All-Academic this season, while 57 students garnered both All-Sportsmanship and All-Academic plaudits. Twenty-seven individuals were named to an All-America team by the governing coaching body for their respective sport.
Nine student-athletes distinguished themselves by receiving All-Conference, All-Sportsmanship, and Academic All-NESCAC. The individuals that collected all three honors were Amherst senior Meredith LaRose (Cranford, N.J.), the Bates tandem of junior David Hardison (South Portland, Maine) and sophomore Katharine Nixon (Medfield, Mass.), Bowdoin senior Caroline Dewar (Katonah, N.Y.), Connecticut College sophomore John Kelly (Bronx, N.Y.), Middlebury senior Victoria Aiello (Milton, Mass.), Trinity senior Anson McCook (Miami, Fla.), senior Michael Bai (Great Neck, N.Y.) of Tufts, and Williams junior Felix Sun (Potomac, Md.).
The Ephs' Sun was one of many notable standouts on the Spring All-Academic Team. The 2012 NESCAC Men's Tennis Player of the Year, Sun added All-NESCAC honors to his resume for the third year in a row with a second consecutive appointment to the Singles First Team this season. Playing in the number two position in the Ephs' ladder, Sun went 16-1 following the start of the spring portion of the Williams schedule with 15 of his 16 victories coming in straight sets. During the fall, Sun reached the semifinals of the USTA/ITA New England Regional Championship. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles championship last week in Cary, N.C.
Juniors Bob Cook (Winnetka, Ill.) of Amherst and Oliver Van Zant (Westport, Conn.) from Bowdoin enjoyed standout seasons on the baseball diamond. Cook became the second Lord Jeff in as many years to come away with NESCAC Player of the Year honors, as he was masterful for Amherst both on the mound and at the plate. From the rubber, the right-handed Cook earned a 5-0 record over seven starts with a 2.51 ERA and an opponents' average of .244. He struck out 33 batters while allowing just seven walks (4.71 K/BB) in 46.2 innings of work. In the batter's box, Cook posted a .380 average with a .505 on-base percentage, connecting for 30 hits, six of which were doubles, and scoring 21 runs while driving in 38. When not on the mound, Cook was stationed at first base and recorded a .987 fielding percentage on 230 chances, helping turn 14 double plays. An All-NESCAC Second Team selection in 2010, Cook added First Team recognition to his postseason honors.
During his first season in the league back in 2010, Van Zant was honored as the NESCAC Pitcher and Rookie of the Year along with All-NESCAC First Team recognition. Van Zant added his second Pitcher of the Year award this season, as he has scratched out a 2.21 ERA over 11 starts (5-3) with a .202 opponents average, 95 strikeouts (11.66 per 9 inn.), and two shutouts for the Polar Bears. He was also named to the baseball First Team.
Joining Van Zant from Bowdoin in earning top honors from the conference this year was senior Elsa Millett (Manchester, Conn.). Millett came away with the Sabasteanski Award as the Most Outstanding Female Performer at the 2012 NESCAC Track & Field Championships in April. She won her second consecutive NESCAC crown in the 200-meter dash in 25.41 seconds and added the 400-meter title in 57.35, the third time in her career that she has taken the 400 at the conference championships.
Other notables among the Spring All-Academic selections included Williams senior Kristin Alotta (West Islip, N.Y.) and junior Bryan Chow (Schenectady, N.Y.), both members of the Ephs' tennis teams, and Middlebury senior track star Margo Cramer (Seattle, Wash.). Alotta was recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) as the Senior Player of the Year. Chow earned the NCAA's Elite 89 award, which honors the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers competing at the NCAA finals site, for the second year in a row. Cramer, who is also a member of the Panthers' cross country team, received a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship earlier in the year, as only 174 of the awards are given out for applicants from all three NCAA divisions.
The NESCAC Spring All-Academic Team also featured numerous individuals that were a part of a conference championship squad and a few who helped their institution win a national title. A total of 109 student-athletes were members of a NESCAC champion team, while 28 individuals won a NCAA crown, as the Trinity women's lacrosse team (7) earned the program's first national championship while the Williams women's rowing (18) and tennis (3) teams continued their streak of bringing the NCAA trophy back to Williamstown (seven and five, respectively). Amherst senior Luis Rattenhuber (Munich, Germany) and junior Keri Lambert (Amherst, Mass.) became individual national champions last week. Rattenhuber was one half of the winning doubles team in the NCAA men's tennis individual tournament. Lambert claimed the NCAA title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Founded in 1971, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) consists of 11 liberal arts colleges and has consistently reflected its commitment to the values of athletics and academic achievement. The member colleges of the conference are Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University, and Williams College.