NEC Announces 2020-21 Fall Scholar-Athletes, Academic Honor Roll & Commissioner’s Honor Roll - Northeast Conference Skip To Main Content


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The Official Site of the Northeast Conference


NEC Announces 2020-21 Fall Scholar-Athletes, Academic Honor Roll & Commissioner’s Honor Roll


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Somerset, NJ -- The Northeast Conference (NEC) today recognized some of its best and brightest with the announcement of the 2020-21 Fall Scholar-Athlete award winners.

Among those honored were three repeat winners, seven student-athletes with at least a 3.9 grade point average, a Scholar All-America, a NEC individual champion and a NEC Defensive Player of the Year. CCSU and LIU led the away with two honorees apiece.

All scholar-athlete award winners must have earned a minimum of 60 semester hours at their institution, maintained a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.20 and participated with distinction as a member of a varsity team.

Along with the scholar-athletes, the NEC announced its Fall Academic Honor Roll, consisting of a conference record 1,198 student-athletes with a 3.20 or better grade point average. There were also 382 student-athletes named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll with a 3.75 or better grade point average.

Wagner senior Trausti Thorsteins (Reykjavik, Iceland/Universal School) kept the men’s cross country scholar-athlete award in Staten Island for a third straight year, following in the footsteps of former teammate Jonathan Besselink, who won it in both 2018 and 2019. The Reykjavik, Iceland native reclaimed the NEC individual cross country title, crossing the tape in 24:28.70 for a six-second victory to help boost the Seahawks to a second straight team championship. Thorsteins, who won the race as a sophomore in 2018 and finished second in 2019, was tabbed the NEC Most Outstanding Performer and claimed All-NEC honors for the third year in a row. He went on to represent the NEC at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, becoming the program’s first-ever harrier to qualify for nationals. At season’s end, he earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors and NEC Academic Honor Roll recognition. Thorsteins has recorded a 3.29 grade point average while majoring in Film & Media Studies.


Central Connecticut senior Angie Rafter (Danielson, CT/Killingly) did it again, earning her third consecutive women’s cross country scholar-athlete honor. The two-time NEC individual cross country champion nearly won her third crown, finishing second to teammate Ashley Dana in a photo finish at the 2021 conference meet. Rafter, who clocked in at 17:35.60, collected All-NEC honors for the fourth year in a row. The Danielson, CT product was also tabbed to both the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the fourth year running. An English major, Rafter wrapped her senior year with a 3.96 cumulative grade point average. 


Fairfield senior forward Danielle Profita (Washington, NJ/Warren Hills) took home the field hockey scholar-athlete award. Profita was tabbed to the All-NEC first team and NFHCA All-Mideast Region second team for the second year running after starting all seven games for the Stags and contributing a goal and an assist. A Washington, NJ native, Profita majors in Environmental Studies and has compiled a 3.97 grade point average. She is a two-time member of both the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll.


Duquesne senior safety Spencer DeMedal (New Wilmington, PA/Wilmington Area) added a second football scholar-athlete award to his long list of accolades. A three-year starter for the Dukes, DeMedal was voted first team All-NEC after he ranked first in the league in interceptions (2), second in forced fumbles (1), and third in tackles (33), tackles for loss (4.5) and passes defended (5). He was a finalist for the STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete award for the second straight year and picked up his third consecutive CoSIDA Academic All-District honor. DeMedal, who hails from New Wilmington, PA, is a four-time selection to the NEC Academic & Commissioner’s Honor Roll. The Biology major recorded a 3.97 grade point average as a Duquesne student-athlete.


LIU junior defender Fridtjof Andberg (Lillehammer, Norway/Lillehammer videregående skole (La Salle)) was the recipient of the men’s soccer scholar-athlete honor. Andberg anchored a near impenetrable Sharks defense that posted a league low five goals allowed and 0.56 GAA on the year en route to an appearance in the NEC title match. He was named to the All-NEC first team as well as the United Soccer Coaches All-Northeast Region first team. Having registered a 3.97 cumulative grade point average over his time at LIU, the Lillehammer, Norway native and Physics major earned himself a spot on the NEC Academic & Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the second straight year.


CCSU senior defender Erica Bardes (Montvale, NJ/Pascack Hills) became a repeat winner of the women’s soccer scholar-athlete award. Bardes also made it back-to-back first team All-NEC honors after serving as the backbone of a CCSU defense that posted six shutouts, surrendered just one goal and allowed only 14 shots on goal over the course of an undefeated regular season and the program’s third straight NEC Tournament title. She also provided some offensive punch with a goal and three assists on the season. Bardes, a Montvale, NJ product, added a slew of awards at year’s end, including spots on the United Soccer Coaches (USC) Scholar All-America third team, USC Scholar All-East Region first team and USC All-North Region second team. She was also a recipient of the CCSU President’s Citation Award, presented to six outstanding seniors nominated by CCSU faculty and staff who are selected based on their leadership on campus, volunteer activity and academic success. A History major, Bardes maintained a 3.96 grade point average over her four years. She is a four-time member of both the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll.


Fairleigh Dickinson senior outside hitter Victoria Demmene (Sarpsborg, Norway/Sauda videregåande skule, avd. Sand) was the co-winner of the scholar-athlete award in women’s volleyball. An offensive force on an improved FDU squad, Demmene ranked second in the NEC in kills (3.61) and points per set (4.18), and seventh in service aces per set (0.29) on her way to becoming the first Knight to earn All-NEC plaudits since the 2012 season. Demmene, a Biology major who hauls from Sarpsborg, Norway native, wrapped her second year at FDU with a 3.96 cumulative grade point average. She has twice appeared on the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll.


LIU junior libero Anastasia Scott (Jacksonville, FL/The Bolles School) shared women’s volleyball scholar-athlete accolades. Scott was named the NEC Defensive Player of the Year in helping lead the Sharks to a second place regular season finish and the program’s 12th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Jacksonville, FL product and All-NEC first teamer posted 5.53 digs per set to rank second in the league and 20th nationally. She also ranked 10th on the conference circuit with 0.26 aces per set. Her 38 digs in a match against Sacred Heart on March 12 was the most by an NEC player this season. A 3.93 student who majors in Accounting, Scott has earned herself a spot on the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll in all three of her seasons of competition.

2020-21 Northeast Conference Fall Scholar-Athletes
Sport                  Name                 School                  Cl    GPA    Major

Men’s Cross Country    Trausti Thorsteins   Wagner                  Sr.   3.29   Film & Media Studies
Women’s Cross Country  Angie Rafter         Central Connecticut     Sr.   3.96   English
Field Hockey           Danielle Profita     Fairfield               Sr.   3.97   Environmental Studies
Football               Spencer DeMedal      Duquesne                Sr.   3.97   Biology
Men’s Soccer           Fridtjof Andberg     LIU                     Jr.   3.97   Physics
Women’s Soccer         Erica Bardes         Central Connecticut     Sr.   3.96   History
Women’s Volleyball     Victoria Demmene     Fairleigh Dickinson     Sr.   3.96   Biology
                       Anastasia Scott      LIU                     Jr.   3.93   Accounting

About The Northeast Conference
Now in its 40th anniversary season, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 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), 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 24 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, Sacred Heart, St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Francis U and Wagner. For more information on the NEC, visit the league’s official website ( and digital network (, or follow the league on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, all @NECsports.