Arcadia Celebrates Athletic and Academic Triumphs of Its Student-Athletes

By Purnell T. Cropper | April 26, 2012

When the Arcadia University Athletics Department revived a tradition Monday night, there was plenty to celebrate—team and individual academic awards, coaching milestones, conference honors, and a wave of success both in the games and in the classrooms.

The All-Sports Celebration of Excellence was attended by nearly all of the school’s athletes as well as Arcadia University President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III, Athletics Director Shirley Liddle, Athletics Hall of Fame members Marty Palmer ’86, ’96M, President of QUAD-A, Betty Weiss ’60, as well as Nancy Woehrle, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, coaches and staff members.

“It was great seeing all the athletes together and having them celebrate each other’s accomplishments,” noted Oxholm. “And wow! What talent we have!” By the end of the evening, 15 major athletic awards were handed out, with academic success being stressed throughout the evening, while recognition of coaching and administrative triumphs concluded the celebration.

Palmer, a former Beaver College dual-sport student-athlete in men’s basketball and tennis, was on hand to recognize two student-athletes who have consistently demonstrated outstanding attitude, work-ethic and leadership both on and off the playing field with the first annual QUAD-A Award for Character & Citizenship.

QUAD-A, Arcadia’s Athletics Alumni Association, formed during the summer of 2011 with the purpose of strengthening ties among alumni to raise both awareness and financial support of the University’s growing athletic programs. Recognized were Baseball’s Jerry Smith ’13 and Field Hockey’s Lynn Beatty ’13, both also named as Arcadia’s Junior Athletes of the Year.

An honors student majoring in Chemistry, Beatty’s 3.935 GPA also earned her Arcadia’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolades. Her consistent representation on Arcadia’s Dean’s List and MAC Academic Honor Roll is matched by her determination and leadership on the field. Beatty produced her second straight 26-point season in 2011, finished tied for 4th within the MAC Commonwealth Conference for goals (10), and ranked 5th for points. That performance placed her on the All-Commonwealth Second Team, and for the second straight season she was named to the 2011 Gladiator by SGI/NFHCA Collegiate National Academic Squad.

Smith, the Knight’s starting catcher and two-year team captain, has held the Knight’s 11-man pitching rotation together over the team’s 15-win season to date, while his ability to put the ball in play on offense has been relied upon all season. Currently batting .301, Smith ranks third on the squad with 34 hits, including 10 for extra bases with 26 RBIs. Smith is a three-year member of Arcadia’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), a major contributor on the department’s student Event Management staff, and has been twice named to the MAC Academic Honor roll. In addition to his full schedule, pursuing scholarship is his main focus, and he currently sports a 3.529 GPA as a Biology and Pre-Physical Therapy major.

Smith’s teammate, David Jacobs ’14, a dual-sport student-athlete who competes as a member of the men’s soccer and baseball teams, also took home two awards Monday evening, named as the 2012 Arcadia Male Sophomore Athlete of the Year and Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. As a Mathematics and Pre-Engineering major, Jacob has been consistently named to the Dean’s List as well as the MAC Academic Honor Roll for both sports, with 3.958 GPA. This past fall he was the Knight’s starting mid-fielder whose sound play helped to contribute to his second winning soccer season in as many years. During the spring, he is the Knight’s mainstay at second base sporting a fielding percentage of .950. At the dish, he has chipped in with seven multi-hit games, batting .268 with an on-base percentage of .429. The play of both Smith and Jacobs on the diamond have guided Arcadia’s Baseball program to one of their best seasons in recent years.

The 2012 Arcadia University Female Athlete of the Year was awarded to Stephanie Holguin ’12, a member of the Women’s Lacrosse team. Holguin, forced to miss her senior season with a injury, has dedicated herself to excelling as a Division III student-athlete resulting in outstanding academic and athletic success. Consistently recognized with Dean’s List honors, with a 3.663 GPA as a Political Science and Pre-Law scholar, Holguin finished her three-year career ranked in the program’s top five for single-season goals (51), career goals (126) and points (143). She also was selected as Arcadia’s Female Senior Athlete of the Year and will be recognized at this Saturday’s Honors Convocation.

Joining Holguin at this weekend’s Honors recognition will be men’s basketball second-year captain, Colin McCarthy ’12, named Arcadia Male Senior Athlete of the Year for 2012. Noted as a “coach’s dream,” McCarthy led this year’s team in minutes, finished second in scoring (8.8 ppg) and third in rebounding (4.7 rpg). On Dec. 6, 2011, he was named MAC Commonwealth Player of the Week and finished as the league’s top free-throw shooter (80.7%). During the Spring semester, he successfully balanced full-time student teaching at nearby Cheltenham Elementary School with playing basketball. Twice named to the MAC-Academic Honor Roll, with a 3.36 GPA, McCarthy was recently named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area team, another first for the men’s basketball program. He returns for his final season of eligibility in 2012-13 as a student in Arcadia’s Graduate Education program.

In addition to McCarthy, Arcadia’s Men’s Basketball program was represented by first-year Travis Saltus ’15. After earning the MAC Commonwealth’s Rookie of the Year award in February, a first for the men’s program, Saltus was voted as the department’s top male athlete and recognized as the 2012 Male Athlete of the Year. Saltus engineered the Knight’s offense as a first-year starting point guard and finished third on this year’s team in scoring (8.4 ppg) and first in assists (63). He started all 25 games during the 2011-12 season and finished with double-figure scoring in 10 of those contests. He was a critical piece to one of the best seasons in recent history for the men’s basketball program. Saltus was also honored as the 2012 Arcadia Male Rookie of the Year.

The 2012 Arcadia Female Rookie of the Year was awarded to women’s swimmer Whitney Boeckel ’15. Beginning with her first day in the Lenox Pool in late September, Boeckel set the tone for what would turn into the best individual performance by an Arcadia swimmer at the MAC Championships, a third place overall medal in the 100 Backstroke. She finished as Arcadia’s top point scorer and took home three 1st Team All-MAC honors at the February event (500 Free, 100 Backstroke and  200 Backstroke). Throughout the course of the season, she set 12 school records in the pool while also making a splash in the classroom, with a 3.786 GPA in her first semester as a Mathematics/Actuarial Science major.

A dual-sport student-athlete on the women’s soccer and lacrosse teams, Sara Volk-Perez ’14 was named as the 2012 Arcadia Female Sophomore Athlete of the Year. Volk-Perez tallied a team-high 8 goals for the women’s soccer team in 2011, highlighted by scoring a hat-trick at in-conference rival Albright College on Oct. 1. Despite a late-season injury, she was named Second Team All Commonwealth Conference and also earned a spot on the MAC Academic Honor Roll, with a 3.351 GPA as a Psychology major. Volk-Perez is currently studying abroad in Spain.

Nearly 60 individual student-athletes with sophomore standing and above were recognized for achieving above a 3.20 cumulative GPA during the 2011-12 academic year as members of the MAC-Academic Honor Roll. The department’s Team Academic Award went to Women’s Tennis, combining for the highest cumulative average of all 14 intercollegiate teams (3.389) following the conclusion of the Fall 2011 semester. Eight of those teams achieved an impressive 3.242 and higher, evidencing Arcadia’s distinct commitment to student-athlete’s academic success.

The evening concluded with recognition of coaching milestones in addition to the administrative triumphs and extensive accomplishments of 19-year Director of Athletics Shirley Liddle, who will retire this summer. Head Women’s Soccer Coach Rick Brownell, with six years at the helm of a competitive program, achieved his 100th career victory Oct. 18 when his Knights knocked off Commonwealth rival Lycoming by a 2-1 score. In her 19th season at the helm of Arcadia’s Softball program, Linda Detra recorded her 400th career victory on April 15 when her team defeated Gwynedd-Mercy 7-2, becoming the all-time winningest coach in the history of Arcadia athletics.

“I am so happy we could celebrate Rick’s, Linda’s, and Shirley’s achievements as well,” added Oxholm. “This year’s revival was a perfectly executed evening in an otherwise short planning timetable due to the diligence of our Head Women’s Basketball Coach Lorie Khalil. Next year we are hopeful to have our Hall of Fame inductees and QUAD-A members on hand to join in this awesome celebration.”

Other accolade recognized within the celebration’s program were:

Team Academic Awards

  • Field Hockey – 2011-12 Squad – National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Academic Award
  • Women’s Lacrosse – 2010-11 Squad – Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Academic Award
  • Men’s Soccer – 2010-11 Squad – National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Academic Award
  • Women’s Soccer – 2010-11 Squad – National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Academic Award

MAC Sportsmanship Teams (Fall and Winter)

  • Field Hockey: Katrina Dull ’15
  • Men’s Soccer: Spencer Lalk ’13
  • Women’s Soccer: Ashley Knueppel ’12
  • Volleyball: Hailey Barger ’12
  • Women’s Swimming: Tess Geib ’12
  • Men’s Swimming: Peter Hamilton ’13
  • Women’s Basketball: Chrissy Taylor ’12
  • Men’s Basketball: Jason Thompson ’12

All Commonwealth Conference Teams (Fall and Winter)

Field Hockey (1): Marilyn Beatty ’13, Second Team

Men’s Soccer (2)

  • Zach Todd ’13, Second Team
  • Mike Cahill ’13, Second Team

Women’s Soccer (3)

  • Brittany Drosdak ’12, First Team
  • Jackie Law ’13, First Team
  • Sara Volk-Perez ’14, Second Team

Women’s Swimming (1): Whitney Boeckel ’15, First Team (500 Free, 100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke)

Men’s Basketball – Rookie of the Year: Travis Saltus ’15

Photos by Josh Blustein