Branchini, Vloedgraven Named 2010-11 Scholar-Athletes of the Year
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Two of America East’s top student-athletes who excelled athletically by leading their respective teams to conference championships and academically by earning Academic All-America honors during their senior seasons were named 2010-11 Scholar-Athletes of the Year on Wednesday. University at Albany’s Nikki Branchini (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland), a women’s lacrosse All-American, is the female recipient and Binghamton University’s Sven Vloedgraven (Lochem, Netherlands), a three-time league Player of the Year in men’s tennis, is the male honoree for the second straight year. Branchini and Vloedgraven were chosen from a group of 19 student-athletes who were tabbed Scholar-Athletes in their respective sports.
Branchini, who graduated from Albany this May with a 3.83 GPA as a history major and education minor, is a two-time America East Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Year and was also named the America East Woman of the Year last month. She earned IWLCA second-team All-America recognition and led her team to its best season in program history in which the Great Danes compiled an 18-1 record and the reached the NCAA quarterfinals. Branchini received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award as well as the IWLCA Division I Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor for 2011. She was also a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America Second-Team selection.
Vloedgraven, who graduated from Binghamton with a 3.85 GPA in accounting in May, is just the third Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year to become a repeat winner. He received his second consecutive NCAA singles qualification in 2011 after becoming the top-ranked player in the Northeast and was ranked as high as No. 55 in the nation. Vloedgraven, who led Binghamton to its fourth straight America East title and earned his third straight league Player of the Year award in 2011, was also a two-time ITA Academic All-American and a member of the Capital One/CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-America Third-Team.
Branchini is the first Albany student-athlete to earn the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and first overall since Andy Allstadt (track & field) received the male honor in 2005. Vloedgraven joins Albany’s Emil Bove (lacrosse), who won in 2002 and ‘03, and fellow Bearcat Rory Quiller (track & field), who took home the award in 2008 and ‘09, as the only male repeat winners. Binghamton has now won four the last five Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year trophies. It’s the first time a school has ever won that many in a five-year span.
Other 2010-11 Scholar-Athletes included: Colin O’Donnell (New Hampshire) in men’s soccer, Jessica Luscinski (Boston University) in women’s soccer, Chris Gaube (Binghamton) in men’s cross country, Lucy Van Dalen (Stony Brook) in women’s cross country and women’s outdoor track & field, Kristi Troch (Albany) in field hockey, Michelle McDonough (Binghamton) in volleyball, Evan Fjeld (Vermont) in men’s basketball, Michelle Kurowski (UMBC) in women’s basketball, Joe Perez-Rogers (Binghamton) in men’s swimming & diving, Amanda Ciccone (Binghamton) in women’s swimming & diving, Peter Rowell (Albany) in men’s indoor track & field, Rita Ciambra (New Hampshire) in women’s indoor track & field, Kevin Crowley (Stony Brook) in men’s lacrosse, Tyler Johnson (Stony Brook) in baseball, April Setterlund (Boston University) in softball, R.J. Page (Boston University) in men’s outdoor track & field and Gayatri Krishnan (Stony Brook) in women’s tennis.
America East is proud to have one of the most comprehensive academic awards programs in the country. In addition to the Scholar-Athlete program, 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. Additionally, the conference recognizes all student-athletes who achieve at least a 3.0 GPA on its Academic Honor Roll, with those achieving a 3.5 average or better receiving Commissioner’s Honor Roll status. Finally, the Academic Cup is awarded to the school with the highest cumulative GPA among its student-athletes for that academic year.