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Somerset, NJ -- Two student-athletes from Sacred Heart and Saint Francis (PA), along with one apiece from St. Francis (NY) and Wagner comprise the 2009-10 Winter Scholar-Athlete award winners for the Northeast Conference (NEC). In addition to the scholar-athletes, the NEC also announced its winter Academic Honor Roll, consisting of 545 student-athletes, a 9.2 percent increase from last year. There were also 116 student-athletes named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll, which honors those with a 3.75 or better grade point average. All scholar-athlete award winners must have earned a minimum of 60 semester hours, maintained a minimum cumulative grade-point-average of 3.20 and participated with distinction as a member of a varsity team.
Saint Francis (PA) senior forward Kurt Hoffman (Johnstown, PA/Greater Johnstown) is this year’s NEC Scholar-Athlete in men’s basketball. A three-year starter for the Red Flash, Hoffman averaged 4.9 ppg and finished third on the squad with 3.6 rpg in 2009-10. He also led the team in field goal shooting, hitting 56.1 percent of his attempts. Hoffman helped Saint Francis to its first NEC playoff appearance since 2004-05 following a six-game improvement in league play. The Red Flash co-captain was named to the ESPN The Magazine District II Academic All-District first team and is a member of the Kappa Mu Epsilon Math Honor Society and Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society. A local product from Johnstown, PA, Hoffman has spent two summers involved in research and development for the Saint Francis Renewable Energy Center and is currently student-teaching at Forest Hills High School. Hoffman is a Mathematics/Secondary Education major who maintains a 3.81 grade point average.
Sacred Heart junior guard Alisa Apo (Freehold, NJ/St. John Vianney) is the recipient of the NEC Scholar-Athlete award in women’s basketball. Apo was named to the All-NEC first team for the second consecutive season after guiding the Pioneers to 19 wins in the regular season and a third place finish in the conference. The 2008-09 NEC Player of the Year averaged 16.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.1 apg and 1.7 spg. She ranked in the NEC top-15 in seven different categories, including third in scoring and assists, and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio. Apo finished the year with nine outings of 20+ points and her 196 trips to the line was tops among conference players. She was also a three-time Choice Hotels NEC Player of the Week. The Freehold, NJ native became the 14th player in school history to eclipse 1,000 career points and currently sits fifth on the program’s all-time list with 1,420 points in three seasons. Apo is a Business Administration major who carries a 3.76 grade-point average.
Sacred Heart senior Melissa Gagliardi (North Branford, CT/North Branford) collects Scholar-Athlete honors in women’s bowling. Gagliardi was named the Most Valuable Performer at the 2010 NEC Bowling Championship after leading the Pioneers to their first league title this past March. In the tournament, Gagliardi filled 92 percent of the 48 frames she bowled and left only two of 25 frames open during the semifinal and championship rounds. Her last ball of the tournament was a strike that set up the Pioneers’ title-clinching double. Gagliardi was also named to the All-NEC second team. During the regular season, she filled 83.0 percent of frames bowled and cashed in on 47 percent of her strike attempts. Set to earn her degree in Business Administration, the North Branford, CT product has compiled a near-perfect 3.96 grade point average.
Wagner senior Jessica Hart (Montreal, Canada/Northwest) makes it back-to-back NEC Scholar-Athlete accolades in the sport of women’s swimming and diving. Hart concluded her decorated career with another stellar performance at the 2010 NEC Swimming & Diving Championship in February. A year after setting the meet record in the event, she made it back-to-back individual titles in the 100 butterfly, touching the wall in a season-best time of 55.24. She also took second in the 200 butterfly (2:06.81) and was also part of four medal winning relay teams, finishing second in the 200 freestyle, along with third in the 200 medley, 400 medley and 400 freestyle. In total, Hart earned All-Conference honors in six different events at the meet. She went on to finish second in the 100 butterfly at the ECAC Championships. Hart hails from Montreal, Canada and is a Business Administration major. Her grade point average is 3.54.
St. Francis (NY) senior jumper Dean Brown (New York, NY/August Martin) claims the men’s indoor track and field NEC Scholar-Athlete award. Brown dominated the field at the 2010 NEC Indoor Track & Field Championship, winning the high jump for the second year in a row with an IC4A qualifying leap of 6’9". He also placed eight in the triple jump and 13th in the long jump. Brown went on to clear 6’ 8 1/4" at the IC4A meet to place fourth. Earlier in the year, he captured the high jump title at the Albany Great Dane Classic (matching a personal-best at 6’ 10 3/4"), New Balance Invitational (6’ 10 1/4"), Metropolitan Invitational (6’ 10 1/4") and NYC Gotham Cup (6’ 9"). The New York City native was also a three-time Road Runner Sports NEC Field Athlete of the Week. Brown maintains a 3.68 grade point average and majors in Psychology.
Saint Francis (PA) senior distance runner Anna Hoffman (Enon Valley, PA/Mohawk) earns her third Scholar-Athlete honor and second straight in women’s indoor track and field. Hoffman captured the eight individual title of her career at the 2010 NEC Indoor Track & Field Championship last month, winning the 5,000 meters in 17:34.03. It marked the third straight year she has won the event. Hoffman also took fifth in the 3,000 meters, clocking in at 10:22.07. She has also claimed NEC individual crowns outdoors in the 1,500 (2009), 5,000 meters (2008 and 2009) and the 3,000 meter steeplechase (2007), as well as indoors in the 3,000 meters (2009). Hoffman, a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team honoree, has made the Saint Francis (PA) Dean’s List and NEC Academic Honor Roll in each semester she has been eligible. She was a member of the Saint Francis Leadership Council in 2007-08 and served as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in 2008-09. Hoffman, an Enon Valley, PA native, majors in Elementary Education/Special Education. She has compiled a 3.89 grade point average.
2009-10 Northeast Conference Winter Scholar-Athletes
Sport Name School Cl GPA Major
Men’s Basketball Kurt Hoffman Saint Francis (PA) Sr 3.81 Mathematics/Secondary Education
Women’s Basketball Alisa Apo Sacred Heart Jr 3.76 Business Administration
Women’s Bowling Melissa Gagliardi Sacred Heart Sr 3.96 Business Administration
Women’s Swimming Jessica Hart Wagner Sr 3.54 Business Administration
Men’s Indoor Track & Field Dean Brown St. Francis (NY) Sr 3.68 Psychology
Women’s Indoor Track & Field Anna Hoffman Saint Francis (PA) Sr 3.89 Elementary Education/Special Education