Northeast Conference Announces 2016 Spring Scholar-Athletes, Academic & Commissioner’s Honor Roll - Northeast Conference Skip To Main Content


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The Official Site of the Northeast Conference


Northeast Conference Announces 2016 Spring Scholar-Athletes, Academic & Commissioner’s Honor Roll


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Somerset, NJ -- Student-athletes from seven different Northeast Conference (NEC) schools comprised the 2016 Spring Scholar-Athlete award winners, announced today by NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. This outstanding group of student-athletes included two All-Americans and two NEC Player of the Year award winners.

Bryant earned three of the honors, followed by two from Fairleigh Dickinson and one each for Central Connecticut, LIU Brooklyn, Mount St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart and Saint Francis U.

All scholar-athlete award winners 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 also announced its spring Academic Honor Roll, consisting of 929 student-athletes with a 3.20 or better grade-point average.  There were also 227 student-athletes named to the spring Commissioner’s Honor Roll, recognizing those superior student-athletes with a 3.75 or better grade point average.  

Over the course of the 2015-16 academic year, a total of 2,063 NEC student-athletes landed a spot on the Academic Honor Roll, a 5.6 percent increase from a year ago. That figure also represents nearly half of the NEC’s competitors. On the year, 532 student-athletes were named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll, a 13.2 percent jump from 2014-15.
Fairleigh Dickinson senior first baseman John Giakas (Staten Island, NY/Tottenville) earned the baseball scholar-athlete award. A second team All-NEC pick, Giakas led the NEC with 13 home runs on the year, a total that ranked him second on FDU’s all-time single-season list. He hit .345 and finished second in the league in slugging percentage (.611), fourth in runs batted in (47) and hits (70), sixth in doubles (15) and eighth in on-base percentage (.416). Giakas, who had more homers (13) than strikeouts (12) this past season, helped the Knights match a school record with 28 wins and reach the championship round of the NEC Tournament for the first time since the 1999 season. A Broadcast Communications major, Giakas compiled a 3.54 grade point average and was a four-time member of the NEC Academic Honor Roll.
Bryant junior McKinley Slade (Saunderstown, RI/South Kingstown) capped off a tremendous season on the course by winning men’s golf scholar-athlete honors. Slade was tabbed the NEC Player of the Year Slade after he racked up seven top-10 finishes, including five top-five placings. The junior closed out the year with a 72.8 average per round, the lowest in the conference by a wide margin. Slade turned in three runner-up finishes at the NEIGA DI Championship (78-71=149), Towson Spring Invite (75-71=146) and the Rhode Island Invite (76-69-69=213). The two time NEC Player of the Week and the October NEC Player of the Month, Slade finished tied for fifth (69-75-72=216) at the NEC Championship while helping the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish. The Saunderstown, RI native posted five sub-70 rounds on the year. Slade, a Finance major, has been tabbed to the NEC Academic Honor Roll in each of his three years and maintains a 3.66 grade point average.
Fairleigh Dickinson junior Rebecca Wright (Melbourne, Australia/Moama Anglican Grammar School) claimed the women’s golf scholar-athlete award. Wright was voted to the All-NEC second team after she helped the Knights defend their NEC crown this past April. She saved her best performance for last as she carded a 230 (76-78-76) to finish in a tie for second at the NEC Championship, just one stroke off the pace. Wright also tied for 15th at the Towson Invitational and took 17th at the Rutgers Invite. She finished the year with a 78.8 stroke average per round. In the classroom, Wright has recorded a 3.87 grade point average as a Civil Engineering Technology major. She has been named to the NEC Academic Honor Roll all three of her years as a Knight.
Bryant sophomore defender Chas South (Lincroft, NJ/Taft School) collected men’s lacrosse scholar-athlete accolades. A second team All-NEC honoree, South was also named to the NEC All-Tournament team for the Bulldogs, who ranked as high as 20th in the national polls this spring. He led Bryant with 22 caused turnovers and ranked second in the NEC with 1.47 caused turnovers per game. His 46 ground balls were second on the Bulldogs and first among defenders. In handing then No. 2 Brown it’s lone regular season loss, South finished with two caused turnovers and six ground balls in a stellar performance. The Lincroft, NJ product has twice been named to the NEC Academic Honor Roll and also landed a spot on the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll this spring. South maintains a 3.75 grade point average while majoring in Finance.
Bryant junior defender Carly Cronin (Feeding Hills, MA/Wilbraham and Monson Academy) was recognized as the women’s lacrosse scholar-athlete honoree. Cronin earned a spot on the All-NEC first team for the second straight year after she finished second on Bryant in groundballs (33), draw controls (29) and caused turnovers (20). She anchored a defense that ranked first in the conference with an 8.94 goals against average en-route to earning a share of the NEC regular season championship and a berth in the NEC title match. Cronin, a Marketing major, has appeared on the NEC Academic Honor Roll in each of her three years. She heads into her senior year carrying a 3.70 grade point average.
Central Connecticut senior outfielder Evie Rentzel (Dillsburg, PA/Northern York) claimed the softball scholar-athlete award. Rentzel led the Blue Devils in batting average (.336, ninth in NEC), slugging percentage (.511), on-base percentage (.395), runs batted in (26), homers (four) and triples (two) this past spring en-route to first team All-NEC honors. She hit .375 and slugged .646 in league play. Rentzel, who was also a second team All-NEC pick as a freshman, earned recognition on the Travelers Athletic Directors All-Academic Team. Rentzel is a four-time member of the NEC Academic Honor Roll and graduated with a 3.69 grade point average while majoring in Management.
Saint Francis U’s Washi Gervais (Longueuil, Quebec/College Stanislas) wrapped up a stellar senior campaign on and off the court by taking home the men’s tennis scholar-athlete award. Gervais took his game to the next level this past spring, earning NEC Player of the Year honors after posting the highest win percentage in the league among #1 flight players and third overall in the conference with a 15-6 mark. He won all four of his league matches, and helped lead the Red Flash to their first-ever NEC Tournament final. Gervais was tabbed the NEC Player of the Month in February, and would go on to win a pair of NEC Player of the Week honors in the spring. The Quebec native also claimed first team All-NEC doubles honors with teammate Dylan Foo-Kune. Gervais closed out his career with 104 total wins, including 57 in singles play. A Political Science major and four-time member of the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Gervais finished with a near perfect 3.99 grade point average.
Sacred Heart senior Katie DeRienzo (Douglaston, NY/St. Francis Prep) was named the scholar-athlete of the year in women’s tennis. A two-time NEC Player of the Month, DeRienzo ranked second in the conference in wins (17) and third in winning percentage (.708). She finished 15-3 in #1 flight play and was 4-1 against NEC rivals over the course of the 2015-16 campaign. The two-time All-NEC second teamer ended her career with 72 singles wins and posted an impressive 39-12 record (.765) competing at the #1 position. DeRienzo earned a spot on the NEC Academic Honor Roll in each of her four years. She maintained a 3.64 cumulative grade point average while majoring in Accounting.
LIU Brooklyn senior Mica-Jonathan Petit-Homme (Port-Au-Prince, Haiti/Linden (NJ)) was named the outdoor track and field scholar-athlete winner. Petit-Homme’s storied career ended earlier this month with his third All-American honor in the 400-meter hurdles. After winning his semifinal heat, he finished seventh in the NCAA finals held in Eugene, OR to earn first team All-American status for the first time. The Port-Au-Prince, Haiti native won four consecutive NEC titles in his specialty, and was a member of LIU Brooklyn’s winning 4x400 meter relay team this past spring at the league meet. Petit-Homme qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of his four years and also helped the Blackbirds’ 4x400 meter relay squad advance to the NCAA East Preliminary Meet this spring. A Sports Science major, Petit-Homme twice appeared on the NEC Academic Honor Roll and recorded a 3.36 grade point average.
Mount St. Mary’s junior Kelly Yanucil (Bordentown, NJ/Bordentown Regional) collected women’s outdoor track and field scholar-athlete honors. Yanucil capped off a terrific campaign by earning second team All-America honors following a ninth place finish in the javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, OR. She broke her own school record at the NCAA meet with a 51.07 meter toss to earn a spot in the finals. Earlier this spring she was crowned NEC champion in the javelin for the second straight year. In 2015, Yanucil set the NEC record in the event with a 50.53 meter throw. She has twice been named to the NEC Academic Honor Roll. Yanucil, who majors in Accounting, carries a 3.34 grade point average.
2016 Northeast Conference Spring Scholar-Athletes
Sport                  Name                        School Cl   GPA    Major
Baseball               John Giakas                 FDU    Sr   3.54   Communications Broadcasting
Men’s Golf             McKinley Slade              BRY    Jr   3.66   Finance
Women’s Golf           Rebecca Wright              FDU    Jr   3.87   Civil Engineering Technology
Men’s Lacrosse         Chas South                  BRY    So   3.75   Finance
Women’s Lacrosse       Carly Cronin                BRY    Jr   3.70   Marketing
Softball               Evie Rentzel                CCSU   Sr   3.69   Management
Men’s Tennis           Washi Gervais               SFU    Sr   3.99   Political Science
Women’s Tennis         Katie DeRienzo              SHU    Sr   3.64   Accounting
Men’s Outdoor Track    Mica-Jonathan Petit-Homme   LIU    Sr   3.36   Sports Science
Women’s Outdoor Track  Kelly Yanucil               MSM    Jr   3.34   Accounting 

About The Northeast Conference
Now wrapping up its 35th year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to four of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Pittsburgh (#23), Baltimore (#27), and Hartford/New Haven (#30).  Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 22 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic access to 14 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn, 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 ( and digital network (, or follow the league on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Google+, all @NECsports.