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The Official Site of the Northeast Conference


2011-12 Northeast Conference Scholar-Athletes

Award Recipients Excel On The Playing Field & In The Classroom

For the seventh straight year, the Northeast Conference will recognize outstanding scholar-athletes during league basketball telecasts.

One Scholar-Athlete honoree will be chosen from each participating institution during NEC-televised men’s and women’s basketball games throughout the 2011-12 season.

2011-12 Northeast Conference Scholar-Athletes


Sam Alexander • Central Connecticut • Men's Cross Country
February 12, 2012
Alexander weathered harsh conditions to cross the tape first and earn the Outstanding Perfomer award at the 2011 NEC Cross Country Championships, helping lead CCSU to its third consecutive team title.  It marked the third top-five finish in his career.  This past season, Alexander earned NEC Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors after he finished third at the New England Championships.  He also took third at the Ted Owen Invitational and posted a ninth place finish at the IC4A Championships.  A four-time member of the NEC Academic Honor Roll, Alexander maintains a 3.52 grade point average majoring in Geography. 

Nicole Lewis • Quinnipiac • Field Hockey
February 12, 2012
Lewis was named to the 2011 NEC All-Tournament Team after leading the Bobcats to their fourth consecutive NEC playoff appearance.  She ranked sixth in the nation in saves per game (9.11) and 11th in save percentage (0.776) this past fall.  Lewis is a three-time NFHCA All-Academic selection as well as a three-time NEC Academic Honor Roll honoree.  She is an Athletic Training-Sports Medicine major and has compiled a 3.96 grade point average.

Stefan Perunicic • St. Francis (NY) • Men's Basketball February 12, 2012
Perunicic is currently moving up the NEC chart for career three-pointers, recently breaking into the top-10, and is threatening the St. Francis (NY) school record of 294 held by Angel Santana.  He is also a member of the 1,000-point club, having reached the milestone earlier this season.  Perunicic currently owns the highest grade point average (3.90) of any St. Francis (NY) student-athlete.  He has made the Dean's List in all seven of his semesters.  Perunicic majors in Economics.

Ariana Calderon • LIU Brooklyn • Women's Soccer
February 12, 2012
Calderon led the Blackbirds to 2011 NEC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.  She was selected first team All-NEC this past fall and ended her career as a four-time All-Conference performer, including NEC Player and Rookie of the Year honors in 2008.  Calderon was also voted to the 2011 NSCAA All-Northeast Region first team and was chosen as to the NSCAA Scholar All-America second team.  A two-time member of NEC Academic Honor Roll, Calderon majors in Nursing. She sports a 3.36 grade point average.

Julia Prantl • Fairleigh Dickinson • Women's Tennis
February 8, 2012
Prantl was named First Team All-NEC at No. 2 singles in 2011 after she finished the year with 20 victories and posted a 5-1 mark against league opposition.  She was also tabbed the NEC Tennis Player of the Month for September during the Fall 2011.  Prantl has been named Alpha Beta seven times (GPA of at least 3.0 each semester) and is a member of the FDU Dean’s List. She has posted a 3.94 grade point average and majors in Management.

Dion Nesmith • Monmouth • Men's Basketball February 8, 2012
Nesmith ranks third on Monmouth with 8.2 ppg and has hit 27 three-pointers on the season. He scored in double-figures in six straight games (heading into game on Feb. 8).  A transfer from Northeastern, he scored a career-high 22 points against Robert Morris on January 21. A Dean's List student this past fall, Nesmith majors in Business Finance.  He maintains a 3.23 grade point average.

Ryan Van Spronsen • Wagner • Baseball
February 2, 2012
A three year starter on the mound for the Seahawks, Van Spronsen has posted an impressive 1.7 strikeout to walk ratio (109-53) over the course of his career.  Has been a member of the NEC Academic Honor Roll in each of his three years on campus while garnering a spot on the NEC Commissioner's Honor Roll (3.75 GPA or higher) in the two seasons he was eligible for the exclusive distinction.  Van Spronsen majors in Business with a double concentration of Finance/Management and minors in Mathematics.  He carries a 3.86 grade point average.

Hannah Veith • Robert Morris • Women's Volleyball
February 2, 2012
Veith earned her second consecutive All-NEC first team honor this past fall after she led the league and ranked 20th nationally in hitting percentage (.375).  She became the third Colonial in school history to eclipse career totals of 1,000 kills and 400 blocks
   Veith was named a national semifinalist for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  She is a Management major who has compiled a 3.70 grade point average.

Steve Jakubowski  • LIU Brooklyn • Men's Soccer
January 26, 2012
Jakubowski was tabbed to the All-NEC second team in 2011, a year after earning first team honors as a junior.  He led the Blackbirds this past season in goals (four) and points (11).  Jakubowski's work on the field and in the classroom landed the senior a spot on the 2011 NSCAA Scholar All-America Third Team.  He is a four-time member of NEC Academic Honor Roll.  A Finance and Business Management major, Jakubowski sports a 3.75 grade point average.

Nolan Nearhoof  • Robert Morris • Football January 26, 2012
Nearhoof was named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-America Second Team for the second straight year. The 2011 All-NEC first team selection is RMU's active leader in career tackles with 137 and is tied for fourth all-time with 16 career sacks.  He will enter his senior season in 2012 four sacks shy of establishing a new Robert Morris career record.  Nearhoof maintains a 3.87 grade point average majoring in Biology.

Kelly Clark  • Wagner • Women's Basketball January 7, 2012
Through early January, Clark ranked first on the Seahawks in a host of categories, including scoring, rebounding, blocks and field goal percentage.  She led the NEC in field goal percentage as a junior in 2010-11, hitting 54.5 percent of her shot attempts.  Clark, who has qualified for the NEC Academic Honor Roll every semester she has been enrolled at Wagner, majors in Mathematics and Education.  She carries a 3.74 grade point average.

Michelle Pieczynski • Monmouth • Field Hockey
January 7, 2012
Pieczynski became Monmouth’s all-time leading scorer and points leader this past season when she helped lead the Hawks to their third straight NEC title game appearance.  The junior is a two-time first team All-NEC performer and in 2011 became the first MU field hockey player to earn NFHCA All-Mid Atlantic First Team honors.  She ranked second in the NEC in goals per game (0.9) and fourth in points per game (2.14) this past fall.  Pieczynski is a Health Studies major with a 3.21 grade point average.


Claudia Hidalgo • Bryant • Women's Tennis

December 1, 2011

Hidalgo was named the 2010-11 NEC Player of the Year as a sophomore, as well as a first team All-NEC selection at #1 singles, where she went undefeated against league opponets.  She was tabbedto the NEC Commissioner's Honor Roll last spring and is a two-time NEC Academic Honor Roll selection.  Hidalgo posted a perfect 4.0 grade point average in Fall, 2010 and is a three-time Dean's List recipient. A Management major with a minor in Sociology, Hidalgo maintains a 3.82 GPA.

Sara DeLacey • Central Connecticut State • Volleyball

December 1, 2011

DeLacey concluded her senior season at CCSU by earning second team All-NEC recognition for the second straight year.  She ranked second in the Conference in hitting percentage (,353) and led the Blue Devils with 112 blocks.  The Blue Devils earned the AVCA Team Academic Award each year she has competed.  DeLacey is a Biomolecular Sciences major who carries a 3.56 grade point average.