Courtesy: America East Communications

UMBC's Heavner, Maine's Wood Named Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Release: 07/16/2015

BOSTON— UMBC's Billy Heavner and University of Maine's LIz Wood are the top America East student-athletes of 2014-15 as the duo was named the conference's Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year, respectively, Thursday.

Heavner and Wood excelled as student-athletes this year, embodying the conference’s three pillars of the complete student-athlete. The tandem was chosen from a group of 16 student-athletes who were tabbed Scholar-Athletes in their respective sports by a committee of athletic administrators and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives. The committee each year elects a Scholar-Athlete in each of the league’s 18 championship sports following the fall, winter and spring seasons. Heavner was the men's soccer Scholar-Athlete while Wood was the women's basketball honoree.

A sophomore goalkeeper on UMBC's men's soccer team, Heavner led the Retrievers on a historic run to the NCAA College Cup, the first America East team to do so after capturing their third straight conference title. He ranked eighth nationally in save percentage and sixth in goals against average and posted four consecutive shutouts in the NCAA tournament to lead UMBC to the Final Four.

Academically, Heavner, a financial economics major with a 3.95 GPA having just completed his third academic year, was honored as the NCAA's Elite 89 recipient for having the highest GPA among student-athletes competing in the College Cup. He also earned America East's inaugural Elite 18 award, which closely replicates the NCAA honor, has earned UMBC’s President’s List honors (4.00) GPA in each of first four semesters at UMBC and was named America East Fall Commissioner's Honor Roll after the fall of 2013.

Wood, a junior women's basketball standout, is Maine's first-ever female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The league's Co_Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference standout, Wood led Maine to its best season in a decade as the Black Bears won the regular-season title and made an NIT appearance.

In the classroom, Wood carries a 3.93 GPA as a biology major with a pre-med concentration. She was an America East All-Academic choice and has been a Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient. She also is America East's National SAAC representative.

Other 2014-15 Scholar-Athletes included: Eric Speakman (Stony Brook), men's cross country; Christina Melian (Stony Brook), women's cross country/women's indoor & outdoor track & field; Paula Heuser (Albany), field hockey; Emma Donnelly (Hartford), women's soccer; Tori Forrest (New Hampshire), volleyball; Sam Rowley (Albany), men's basketball; Martin Kallur (Vermont), men's indoor and outdoor track & field; Katie Mann (New Hampshire), women's swimming & diving; David MacKinnon (Hartford), baseball; Brian Monks (Hartford), men's lacrosse; Laura Puccia (New Hampshire), women's lacrosse; Allison Cukrov (Stony Brook), softball; Katya Medianik (Binghamton), women's tennis; Anne Twombly (New Hampshire), women's outdoor track & field.

America East is proud to have one of most comprehensive academic awards programs in the country. In addition to the Scholar-Athlete program, Presidential Scholar-Athlete awards are bestowed to student-athletes who graduate with a 3.75 GPA. The Elite 18 program recognizes elite students while All-Academic teams comprised of student-athletes that excel both academically and athletically are chosen in each of the conference’s 18 sports. The conference also recognizes all student-athletes who achieve at least a 3.0 GPA on its Academic Honor Roll, with those achieving a 3.50 average or better receiving Commissioner’s Honor Roll status. Finally, the Academic Cup  is presented to the institution whose student-athletes post the highest grade-point average during that academic year.

About America East: The America East provides its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field.