Somerset, NJ -- St. Francis (PA)’s Beth Swink (Connellsville, PA/Connellsville), a four-year letterwinner on the Red Flash women’s basketball team, is the recipient of the 2005 Valley National Bank Student-Athlete of the Year award as voted on by the members of the Northeast Conference Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The award is based on a combination of academics, athletics, community service and a personal statement by each of the nominees.
Also nominated for the award were Fairleigh Dickinson's Mensah Peterson (men's basketball), Long Island's David Ledet (men's soccer), Monmouth's Bobby York (men's track and field), Robert Morris' Jonathan LeDonne (football), Sacred Heart's Payam Zarrinpour (wrestling) and St. Francis (NY)'s Gergely Fabian (men's swimming and water polo).
“Beth is the epitome of what a college student-athlete should be,” said Jeff Eisen, St. Francis (PA) Director of Athletics. “She is an outstanding basketball player, a great student and an even better person. We’re proud that she has been recognized with this wonderful honor from the NEC.”
Swink, who played on four NEC championship teams and was named the 2005 NEC Tournament Most Valuable Player, is one of nine student-athletes in league history to twice earn distinction as an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America. A second team honoree as a junior, she is the first women’s basketball player in conference annals to reach first team Academic All-America status.
A three-time first team all-NEC performer as well as the 2001-02 NEC Rookie of the Year and the 2003-04 NEC Player of the Year, Swink concluded her senior season ranked fifth in the nation in scoring with a league-leading 22.2 ppg. She also led the NEC in field goal percentage (.508). Her 2,127 points ranks her second on both the NEC and St. Francis career list and she is the Red Flash all-time leader with 827 field goals made. Swink also earned a spot in the NCAA recordbook when she tied a tournament field goal percentage record by hitting all 10 of her attempts as part of a 28-point effort in a first round NCAA game against Purdue in 2004.
At the conclusion of her senior season, Swink was tabbed the recipient of the WBCA Scholarship Award, one of just two honorees in the nation. She was also one of ten national semifinalists for the Creamland Dairies Collegiate Basketball Award of Excellence and has been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania Dental School, where she is a candidate for an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
The Connellsville, PA native was a Biology major and Spanish minor at St. Francis and graduated with a 3.71 grade point average. While attending the university, she held membership in a host of honor societies, including TriBeta Biology, Delta Epsilon Sigma and Phi Sigma Iota Foreign Language. Swink was also a four-year member of the St. Francis Academic Honor Roll and Dean’s List. Off the court, she served as a Student-Athlete Mentor, Founder’s Day host and was a member of the Biology Club.
Among Swink’s numerous community service initiatives were volunteering in the Red Flash Reads Program, Special Olympics, R.O.C.K. Program and as a Laurel Crest Visitor.
“This award is a tremendous and very deserving honor for Beth,” said Jill Poe, St. Francis (PA) Women’s Basketball Head Coach. “It is also a great reflection upon St. Francis’ commitment to academic and athletic excellence, as well as the support our student-athletes receive from the University.”