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


The Official Site of the Northeast Conference
The Official Site of the Northeast Conference


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


Click Here For PDF File
Click Here For NEC Winter Academic Honor Roll
Click Here For NEC Winter Commissioner's Honor Roll

Somerset, NJ -- The Northeast Conference (NEC) today honored an elite collection of student-athletes with the announcement of its 2020-21 Winter Scholar-Athlete award winners

CCSU led the way with two honorees. The list of winners also included two repeat honorees, two All-Americans, an NEC Player of the Year and five student-athletes that have registered at least a cumulative 3.75 grade point average.

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 Winter Academic Honor Roll, consisting of a record 964 student-athletes with a 3.20 or better grade point average. There were also a record 327 student-athletes named to the Winter Commissioner’s Honor Roll, recognizing those superior student-athletes with a 3.75 or better grade point average.

CCSU senior guard Zach Newkirk (Raleigh, NC/Word of God Christian Academy) was named the scholar-athlete honoree for men’s basketball. Newkirk started 15 games and averaged 6.7 ppg, 1.9 apg while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and a team-best 89.7 percent from the line. He ended the season on a high note, scoring in double digits in each of his last four outings. Newkirk, a Raleigh, NC native, is a member of CCSU’s All-Academic Team and a winner of CCSU’s Student-Athlete Academic Award. He has twice been named to the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll lists while compiling a 3.87 grade point average as an Economics major.


Now a back-to-back scholar-athlete award winner in women’s basketball, Saint Francis U senior guard Karson Swogger (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) was voted to the All-NEC first team after receiving third team honors in 2019-20. Swogger ranked in the NEC top-10 in six different statistical categories, including scoring (15.9, second), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6, first), free throw percentage (.861, second), assists (4.3, third), three-point percentage (.341, tenth) and made three-pointers (1.8, tenth). She cracked the 1,000-point mark in February and wrapped her senior year ranked 17th in Red Flash history with 1,175 career points. Swogger, a Bellwood, PA native and Nursing major, compiled a 3.78 grade point average and was selected to the NEC Academic & Commissioner’s Honor Roll all four years of her SFU career.


A repeat winner of the women’s bowling scholar-athlete honor, Sacred Heart senior Rachel Bamford (Rochester, NH/Spaulding) was the centerpiece of a team that posted a runner-up finish at the NEC Tournament and earned an at-large selection to the NCAA Championship, where the Pioneers advanced to the fourth round. The Rochester, NH product was tabbed to the All-NEC first team for the third year in a row and landed a spot on the NEC All-Tournament team. On a national scale, Bamford was named to the NTCA All-America second team, led the nation in baker frame average (21.28), ranked seventh in overall scoring average (20.85) and accounted for the sixth-highest PCPI (0.92478) on the NTCA leader board. A four-time member of the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Bamford registered a 3.88 grade point average while majoring in Biology.


Fairleigh Dickinson senior Jenna Henderson (Washington, NJ/Warren Hills) was a double winner, claiming both NEC Player of the Year and scholar-athlete honors in women’s bowling after leading the Knights to their fifth NEC Tournament title and 13th NCAA Championship appearance. Henderson went on to earn first team NTCA All-America accolades after leading the nation in filled frame percentage (.900) and spare conversion rate (.797), and ranking second in PCPI (0.95268). She was also fourth nationally in overall average (21.00) and fifth in baker average (20.94). Hailing from Washington, NJ, the Humanities major was named to the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll lists in each of her four years at FDU as she maintained a 3.84 grade point average.


The inaugural men’s swimming and diving scholar-athlete award went to St. Francis Brooklyn junior Djordje Spasic (Belgrade, Serbia/Third Belgrade High School). Spasic delivered a standout showing at the NEC Championships for the Terriers, collecting six medals (three individual, three relay), while setting two school records. He took home a gold medal in the 50-yard freestyle, touching in a program record time of 20.52. He also earned silver medals in the 100 free (45.43, school record) and 200 free (1:40.40). This summer he will represent Serbia on its 400 freestyle relay team in a quest to meet the Olympic “A” standard qualifying time. An active member of the SFBK Business and Marketing Clubs, Spasic double majors in Management and Information Technology. He has earned a spot on the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll in each of his two years at SFBK and sports a 3.91 grade point average.


An elite performer in both the classroom and pool, CCSU senior Jeannette King (Rochester, MA/Bishop Stang) earned women’s swimming and diving scholar-athlete distinction. King was named the Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet after helping propel the Blue Devils to a runner-up finish at the NEC Championships. She won three individual events, taking home gold in the 50 free (23.15), 100 free (50.20) and 100 back (54.57), and raced on CCSU’s winning 400 free and 400 medley relay teams. Named to CCSU’s All-Academic Team and a recipient of CCSU’s Student-Athlete Academic Award, the Nursing major posted a 3.80 grade point average as a Blue Devil. King, who came to New Britain from Rochester, MA, can boast of being a three-time NEC Academic Honor Roll selection and two-time member of the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

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

Men’s Basketball           Zach Newkirk     CCSU                  Sr.  3.87   Economics
Women’s Basketball         Karson Swogger   Saint Francis U       Sr.  3.78   Nursing
Women’s Bowling            Rachel Bamford   Sacred Heart          Sr.  3.88   Biology
                           Jenna Henderson  Fairleigh Dickinson   Sr.  3.84   Humanities
Men’s Swimming & Diving    Djordje Spasic   St. Francis Brooklyn  Jr.  3.91   Information Technology/Mgmt.
Women’s Swimming & Diving  Jeannette King   CCSU                  Sr.  3.80   Nursing

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.