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The Official Site of the Northeast Conference


Seven Students Post 4.0 GPAs En-route to NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors


Somerset, NJ - Seven Northeast Conference student-athletes completed career academic perfection this spring.

Robert Morris’ Lacee Collins (softball), St. Francis Brooklyn’s Dana DiRenzo (women’s basketball), Robert Morris’ Samantha Lackner (women’s soccer), Saint Francis U’s Elise Dumouchelle (volleyball), St. Francis Brooklyn’s Nicholas Nemergut (men’s golf), LIU Brooklyn’s Frank Cerillo (baseball) and Bryant’s Shane Vyskocil (men’s swimming & diving) all graduated from their respective institutions with perfect 4.00 grade-point averages (GPA), earning NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors as a result.

In its 13th year, the NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, which is sponsored by the league’s Faculty Athletic Representatives, goes to the male and female student-athletes who have exhausted their athletic eligibility, graduated and compiled the highest grade point average in the Conference at the conclusion of the academic calendar.

“What a magnificent achievement by these seven men and women,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. “It takes a great deal of ability and commitment to attain a 4.0 GPA while also meeting the demands of Division I athletics. These scholar-athletes are extremely deserving of this recognition.”
Following in the footsteps of five former Terriers, Nemergut staked his claim to the NEC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. The linksman graduated from St. Francis College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Professional Studies in Spring 2018. This past academic year, Nemergut used his remaining athletic eligibility to compete as a graduate student and went on to post a top-15 individual finish at the NEC Men’s Golf Championship at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, FL.

Joining Joseph Paparelli (2017), Vyskocil became the second Bulldog ever to secure a share of the NEC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolade. Earlier this spring, the veteran swimmer was named the first Google Cloud Academic All-District selection in Bryant’s program history. Vyskocil, a four-year letterwinner, was also the recipient of Bryant University’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor.

Cerillo made LIU Brooklyn history by becoming the first Blackbird (male and female) to receive the NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor. The right-handed hurler made nine appearances for LIU out of the bullpen this spring, averaging 1.0 strikeout per inning pitched. Cerillo, who graduated as part of a 13-member senior class that helped bring a NEC Baseball Tournament title (2018) to Downtown Brooklyn, also secured the distinction of Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year at LIU Brooklyn's 2019 Athletic Awards banquet.

St. Francis Brooklyn is the lone NEC member to produce male and female honorees this year.

Following a 96-game collegiate playing career, DiRenzo was named St. Francis College Co-Valedictorian for spring commencement in Brooklyn Heights. The Garden State product, who served as a team co-captain, joined SFBK women’s basketball alumna Katie Fox (2015) and Katja Bavendam (2008) on the list of all-time NEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award recipients. DiRenzo, who majored in Accounting, was a member of the Terriers’ rotation since her freshman season and graduated as a four-time selection to the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Robert Morris is the lone NEC institution to produce multiple recipient of the 2019 NEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.

While excelling as a Biology major, Collins logged four seasons on the diamond for Robert Morris softball. Following 42 appearances as a pitcher over her first three seasons as a Colonial, the Keystone State product contested 18 games in a utility role this spring. Like DiRenzo, Collins is a four-time qualifier for the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll

Lackner became a fixture in Robert Morris’ women’s soccer lineup after transferring from West Virginia Wesleyan following her freshman season. The defender ended her collegiate playing career by starting 44 consecutive contests. Majoring in Psychology, Lackner became the Colonials’ first Google Cloud Academic All-District honoree since 2016.

Dumouchelle’s perfect GPA means Saint Francis U has produced a recipient of the NEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year award in three of the past four springs. The outside hitter saw action in 54 matches during her SFU volleyball career, including 24 appearances this past fall. Dumouchelle, an International Studies major, completed her undergraduate degree work in three years time.

NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year History

Year       Men                                        Women
2018-18    Shane Vyskocil, Bryant                     Lacee Collins, Robert Morris
           Frank Cerillo, LIU Brooklyn                Dana DiRenzo, St. Francis Brooklyn
           Nicholas Nemergut, St. Francis Brooklyn    Samantha Lackner, Robert Morris
                                                      Elise Dumouchelle, Saint Francis U

2017-18    Charlton Boyd, Wagner                      Abigail Hood, Sacred Heart
           Joseph Choiniere, Sacred Heart             Kristina Neri, Fairleigh Dickinson
           Marcus DaSliva, St. Francis Brooklyn

2016-17    Joseph Paparelli, Bryant                   Taylor Allison, Saint Francis U
                                                      Sarah Bonson, Mount St. Mary’s
                                                      Nicole Dean, Central Connecticut
                                                      Lea Lieb, Sacred Heart
                                                      Avika Sagwal, Wagner
2015-16    Washi Gervais, Saint Francis U             Dragana Dzigurski, St. Francis Brooklyn
                                                      Haley Fournier, Mount St. Mary’s
                                                      Sarah Ross, Saint Francis U
                                                      Brittany Sarza, Bryant
2014-15    David Lonnberg, St. Francis Brooklyn       Katie Fox, St. Francis Brooklyn
2013-14    Travis Denny, Robert Morris                Ellen Huffman, Wagner
2012-13    Mark Quaranta, Mount St. Mary’s            Una Japundza, Robert Morris
                                                      Carly Thibault, Monmouth
2011-12    Michael Foster, Mount St. Mary’s           Evgeniya Tyrtova, Fairleigh Dickinson
2010-11    Sean O’Reilly, Saint Francis U             Ali Kliment, Monmouth
2009-10    Filip Kisdobranski, St. Francis Brooklyn   Maggie O’Connell Dubois, Mount St. Mary’s
2008-09    Benjamin Evenden, Monmouth                 Kathleen Henry, Sacred Heart
                                                      Tara Maxwell, Robert Morris
                                                      Erin Reifsteck, Saint Francis U
2007-08    Ian Butcher, Saint Francis U               Katja Bavendam, St. Francis Brooklyn
2006-07    Moran Stern, St. Francis Brooklyn          Lisa Jaszka, Robert Morris
           Andrija Vrdoljak, St. Francis Brooklyn