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Somerset, NJ -- Jonathan Besselink (Kingston, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic Secondary)
has extended Wagner’s remarkable streak.
The championship harrier won the Northeast Conference Male Student-Athlete of the Year Award presented by Provident Bank
, marking the eighth consecutive year that a Seahawk (male or female) has earned the NEC’s most-prestigious individual honor.
Sponsored by Provident Bank, the NEC uses the Student-Athlete of the Year Award to annually recognize individual excellence in both the academic and athletic realms as well as leadership and contributions to one’s community.
Besselink was chosen out of a pool of 11 finalists from across the NEC's core membership. The Conference will announce the NEC Female Student-Athlete of the Year on Friday, May 26, closing out its week-long virtual awards celebration.
The NEC Male Student-Athlete of the Year Award puts an exclamation point on Besselink’s unforgettable undergraduate career that was highlighted by Wagner’s first-ever NEC Cross Country and NEC Indoor Track & Field team titles.
The two-time NEC Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year captained the Seahawks’ successful quest for the 2019 NEC XC team championship, the first in program history. Besselink finished fifth overall, individually, to earn a spot on the All-NEC Team for the second year in a row.
Only months after the monumental accomplishment on the XC course, Besselink heavily contributed to Wagner’s team victory at the 2020 NEC Indoor Track & Field Championships. The Canadian-born runner completed a grueling distance double, recording fourth-place finishes in both the 3,000m and 5,000m races. He also ran the third leg on the Seahawks’ triumphant Distance Medley Relay team. Besselink proceeded to add the 2020 NEC Indoor Track & Field Scholar Athlete of the Year award to his lengthy resume, that also included 2019 Outdoor Scholar-Athlete honors.
“They [my coaches, training staff and the Wagner Athletic Department] made the last four years the best years of my life,” said Besselink.
On the track, Besselink totaled nine all-NEC honors on his time on Grymes Hill. Excelling in his signature event, the 3,000m steeplechase, Besselink accounted for a banner 2019 season outdoors. After striking gold at the 2019 NEC Outdoor Championships, he became the first-ever Seahawk steeplechaser to qualify for the NCAA East Region Championships. Besselink also posted a third-place finish in the steeplechase at the 2019 IC4A Outdoor Championship en-route to being named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.
Besselink, who majored in Business Administration, graduated with a 3.92 grade-point average, a mark that landed him on the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the third year in a row. The Ontario resident was an active member in the prestigious Wagner Selects business program. The Wagner Finance Club treasurer completed internships with Merrill Lynch and SeaCube Container Leasing during his time in Staten Island. Having intensely studied trade agreements between the United States and China, Besselink presented possible economic impacts on the transportation industry at a Global Research Business Conference.
Bringing leadership to the Wagner campus, Besselink served three years as a Resident Assistant and tutored peers in the Center for Academic and Career Engagement. In addition, he found time to serve the local community in multiple capacities. Besselink volunteered at the New York City Marathon three consecutive years and also helped organizers of local road races for high school and elementary children.
Having completed his undergraduate career at Wagner, Besselink is pursuing a M.B.A. at Butler University.
NEC STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR RECIPIENTS
2019-20 Jonathan Besselink, Wagner (male, cross country/track and field)
2018-19 Evan McDonald, Fairleigh Dickinson (male, baseball)
Pascalle Tego, Wagner (female, golf)
2017-18 Charlton Boyd, Wagner (male, tennis)
Dana Davis, Robert Morris (female, lacrosse)
2016-17 Kyle Mummau, Bryant (male, lacrosse)
Brianna Tredway, Wagner (female, softball)
2015-16 Max Vogt, Bryant (male, tennis)
Amanda Lucia, Wagner (female, swimming)
2014-15 Phil Faccone, Wagner (male, football)
Nicole Sleith, Robert Morris (female, softball)
2013-14 Meredith Ketchmark, Wagner (swimming)
2012-13 Steve Cioicci, Wagner (football)
2011-12 Julia Prantl, Fairleigh Dickinson (tennis)
2010-11 Katherine Bossardet, CCSU (cross country, track and field)
2009-10 Kundayi Mawema, Bryant (field hockey)
2008-09 Alexandra Tomlinson, Wagner (swimming)
2007-08 Tiffany Hahn, Monmouth (track and field)
2006-07 Erika Jacobs, Saint Francis U (cross country, track and field)
2005-06 Joy Gallagher, Wagner (basketball, softball)
2004-05 Beth Swink, Saint Francis U (basketball)
2003-04 Naomi Campano, Mount St. Mary’s (lacrosse)
2002-03 Sabrina Mariani, CCSU (soccer)
About The Northeast Conference
Now wrapping up its 39th year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 11 institutions of higher learning located throughout seven states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to a number of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Boston (#9), Pittsburgh (#24), Baltimore (#26), Hartford/New Haven (#33) and Providence (#53). Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 23 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic access to 16 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU, Merrimack, Mount St. Mary’s, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Francis U and Wagner. For more information on the NEC, visit the league’s official website (www.northeastconference.org) and digital network (www.necfrontrow.com), or follow the league on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, all @NECsports.