939 Winter Student-Athletes Receive Honors
HADLEY, Mass. – A total of 939 student-athletes have been named to the 2015 NESCAC Winter All-Academic Team by the conference office today. To be honored, an individual must have reached sophomore academic standing and be a varsity letter winner with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.35. A transfer student must have completed one year of study at the institution.
Of the 939 student-athletes named to the team, 289 were honored for the second time in their career, while 200 were recognized for the third time. In addition, 68 members of the group garnered both All-Academic and All-Conference accolades this winter, led by 20 student-athletes from Williams and 14 from Amherst. A total of 45 individuals were named to both the All-Sportsmanship and All-Academic Teams by the conference.
Four individuals were selected to all three squads. That elite group included senior Ben Grimes (Louisville, Ky.) of Amherst (men’s swimming and diving), senior Matthew Gagne (Winnetka, Ill.) of Bates (men’s swimming and diving), senior Michael Flynn (Cheshire, Conn.) of Trinity (men’s ice hockey), and junior Faye Sultan (Abu Hasaniya, Kuwait) of Williams (women’s swimming and diving).
The 2015 Winter All-Academic Team includes four NESCAC Players of the Year, a NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, a NESCAC Swimmer of the Meet, a NESCAC Diver of the Meet, a NESCAC Four-Year High Point Swimmer and a pair of NESCAC Four-Year High Point Divers.
Trinity junior Kanzy El Defrawy (Cairo, Egypt) was selected as the NESCAC Women’s Squash Player of the Year for the third straight year, while earning All-Academic Team honors for the first time in her career. This season, she finished the year with an 18-3 record as she helped lead the Bantams to a runner-up finish in the College Squash Association (CSA) National Team Championship. El Defrawy also placed second in the Ramsay “A” Division at the CSA National Women’s Singles Championships
Senior forward Emily Fluke (Bourne, Mass.) of Middlebury garnered NESCAC Women’s Ice Hockey Player of the Year recognition after helping lead the Panthers to the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship for the fifth straight year. Fluke leads all league players in points (43), goals (20) and assists (23) for NCAA-qualifying Middlebury. She is a two-time All-Academic selection.
Men’s swimmer Christian Gronbeck (Simsbury, Conn.) of Williams was named the NESCAC Four-Year High Point Men’s Swimmer, while earning All-Academic Team recognition for the third time in his career. Gronbeck was a four-time NESCAC champion in the 1,000-yard freestyle and a three-time conference champion in the 1,650-yard freestyle during his collegiate career. He also finished as runner-up in the 500-yard freestyle three times.
Bowdoin junior Lucas Hausman (Westport, Conn.), who was chosen as the NESCAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, was named to the All-Academic Team for the second consecutive year. Hausman, the first men’s basketball player from Bowdoin to be named Player of the Year, helped the Polar Bears earn the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC Championship, which was the highest seed in program history. He paces the league with 20.7 points per game, and ranks fourth in free throw percentage (87.8) and tenth in field goal percentage (49.9). This was the first All-NESCAC recognition for Hausman.
Williams senior women's diver Michelle Higgins (Acton, Mass.), a three-time All-Academic honoree, was recognized as the NESCAC Four-Year High Point Women’s Diver. Higgins, the 2013 NESCAC 3-meter diving champion, finished in second place in both diving events in 2015. She also placed second in 3-meter diving in 2014 and third in 1-meter diving in 2013 and 2014.
Senior men's diver Thomas Kramer (Andover, Mass.) of Bowdoin was named the NESCAC Four-Year High Point Men’s Diver. This year, the two-time All-Academic selection turned in his best combined finish at the conference championships after finishing fourth in 3-meter diving and fifth on the 1-meter board.
Hayley Kanner (Scarsdale, N.Y.) of Tufts was named the NESCAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, while making the All-Academic Team for the second time in her career. The senior forward helped the Jumbos post back-to-back perfect conference records en route to the conference championship. Kanner averages 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game to go along with a league-best 73 blocks and the sixth-best field goal percentage (48.9).
Williams senior men’s swimmer Thad Ricotta (Katy, Texas) was named the NESCAC Men’s Swimmer of the Meet for the first time in his career to go along with being a three-time All-Academic honoree. Ricotta won the 100-yard butterfly, the 200-yard butterfly and the 500-yard freestyle, setting pool records in each event as well as breaking the previous meet records in the 200 butterfly and the 500 freestyle. He was also a member of the winning 200-yard and 400-yard medley relays that established new pool, meet and NESCAC standards, as well as being a member of the first-place 800-yard freestyle relay.
Sophomore women’s diver Ariana Ross (New Canaan, Conn.) of Williams was chosen as the NESCAC Women’s Diver of the Meet after collecting first place in 1-meter diving with a pool record followed by a first-place finish in 3-meter diving. She lands on the All-Academic Team for the first time.
Bowdoin’s John Swords (Sudbury, Mass.) was named NESCAC Men’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons, while making his third consecutive All-Academic Team appearance. The senior center’s presence in the paint helped the Polar Bears hold opponents to 64.2 points per game and a conference-low 38.3 percent shooting this season. Swords is second among all NESCAC players with 254 rebounds and third with 55 blocks.
Founded in 1971, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) consists of 11 liberal arts colleges and has consistently reflected its commitment to the values of athletics and academic achievement. The member colleges of the conference are Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University, and Williams College.