Six of America East's top student-athletes were tabbed fall Scholar-Athletes Friday.
Six of America East's top student-athletes were tabbed fall Scholar-Athletes Friday.
Courtesy: America East Communications

Six Standout Student-Athletes Named Fall Scholar Athletes

Release: 02/08/2013
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Six student-athletes who demonstrated excellence both on the field and in the classroom last semester are the America East Fall 2012 Scholar-Athletes as announced Thursday afternoon by the conference office. Repeat winners Liam Paddock (men’s soccer) from UMBC and  Eric Speakman (men’s cross country) from Stony Brook University highlight the group that also included University at Albany’s Kristi Troch (field hockey),  Binghamton University’s Grace Vickers (volleyball), University of Hartford’s Amelia Pereira (women’s soccer) and Stony Brook University’s Olivia Burne (women’s cross country). Four of the six selections were members of America East championship-winning squads this fall.

The Scholar-Athletes were members of teams in the six championship sports which America East sponsored in the fall season including men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball. Member institutions of the America East Conference for the 2012 fall season included University at Albany, Binghamton University, Boston University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, New Hampshire, Stony Brook and University of Vermont. Fairfield was an associate member in the sport of field hockey, while Providence College competed as an associate member in volleyball.

A committee of athletic administrators and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives chose an honoree in each of the six fall championship sports. Each America East Scholar-Athlete was a starter or prominent reserve and carries a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.30. Each honoree will automatically be eligible for the America East Female or Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award to be announced this summer.

Paddock (Worcestershire, England), a senior on UMBC’s America East title-winning men’s soccer squad, earningthe league’s Defender of the Year trophy and was a Capital One Academic First-Team All-American en route to repeating as the men’s soccer Scholar-Athlete. He led a team that was the best in America East allowing just 0.77 goals per game and reached the second round of the NCAA Championship. A two-time first-team all-conference honoree and a third-team all-region recipient this year, Paddock graduated magna cum laude with a 3.90 GPA as a double major in psychology/sociology in December. A three-time member of America East’s Commissioner’s honor roll, Paddock was also a third-team NSCAA Scholar All-American.

Speakman (Napier, New Zealand), also a repeat Scholar-Athlete selection in men’s cross country, was the individual champion at the 2012 America East Cross Country Championship, crossing the finish line first in 25:11.43. The senior, who is a two-time all-conference choice, finished 20th the NCAA Northeast Regional to earn USTFCCCA all-region honors for the second straight year. A business management and economics double major with a 3.86 GPA, Speakman has twice been named to America East’s All-Academic squad, is a three-time member America East’ Commissioner’s Honor Roll and has been named to Stony Brook’s Dean’s List five times.

Troch (Leighton, Pa.) earned field hockey Scholar-Athlete honors for the second time in her career after also earned the award as a sophomore following the 2010 season. The senior was named America East Co-Goalkeeper of the Year, becoming the conference’s first field hockey player to earn a major award three times. Troch, who led Albany to its third America East title in five years, ranked sixth in the nation with a 1.19 goals-against average. A human biology major with a 3.63 GPA, Troch earned a spot on the NFHCA Academic All-America squad this year and is a three-time America East All-Academic selection.

Vickers (Pleasanton, Calif.) is Binghamton’s fourth volleyball Scholar-Athlete in the last seven years. The Most Outstanding Player of the America East Championship, Vickers led the Bearcats to their second league title in four years. She led the conference with a .271 hitting percentage en route to earning first-team all-conference honors. A junior middle hitter, Vickers was the only player to be named to an America East All-Conference team and All-Academic teams this year. Twice named to America East’s honor roll, she has a 3.38 GPA in geography.

Pereira (Madeira Island, Portugal) is the women’s soccer Scholar-Athlete after being named America East Striker of the Year, a NSCAA Third-Team All-American and a CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America second-teamer. A senior forward, Pereira led the league with 13 goals and 33 points, with both totals ranking in the top 25 nationally. Her six game-winning goals were seventh most in the country. A management major with a 3.79 GPA, Pereira is a two-time America East All-Academic honoree, earned Commissioner’s Honor Roll status three times, been named to Hartford’s Dean’s List five times and earned Presidential Honors three times.

Burne (lmerston, New Zealand) is the fifth-straight Seawolf to be named the women’s cross country scholar-athlete. She led Stony Brook to its sixth-consecutive America East title by being the first on her team to finish the championship race and fourth runner overall. A two-time all-conference honoree,  Burne finished in the top 25 at the NCAA Northeast Regional meet to earn USTFCCCA All-Region squad. A junior with a 3.94 GPA in journalism, Burne has been named to America East’s All-Academic team three times, its Commissioner’s Honor Roll four times and Stony Brook’s Dean’s List five times.

America East is proud to have one of the most comprehensive academic awards programs in the country. In addition to the Scholar-Athlete program, America East’s honors, which a record number of fall student-athletes were named to last week, recognizes those who achieve a 3.0 GPA or better during their playing-season semester. An All-Academic team comprised of student-athletes that excel both academically and athletically is chosen in each of the conference’s 20 sports by a committee consisting of faculty athletic representatives, academic advisors and sports information directors. Finally, the Academic Cup is awarded to the school with the highest cumulative GPA among its student-athletes for that academic year.

For information on the America East Academic Awards Program, including past scholar-athletes, All-Academic squads and more, visit the Academics page on

About the America East Conference

Now in its fourth decade of operation, the America East Conference has evolved into one of the most comprehensive NCAA Division I conferences in the country with a commitment to broad-based, competitive athletics programs, complementing the academic integrity and missions of the member institutions. Progressive in its approach to its more than 3,400 student-athletes, America East recognizes champions in each of its 20 sports. America East also conducts the nation’s most comprehensive academic recognition program for student-athletes and collaborates on several community service initiatives throughout its geographic footprint each year. With members spanning from the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast regions of the United States, America East strives to develop champions in academics, athletics and leadership at its nine member institutions: University at Albany, Binghamton University, Boston University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont.