EDISON, NJ – Iona College women's cross country/track rising junior Kate Avery was named the 2013-14 MAAC Female Student-Athlete of the Year by a vote of the league's sports information directors, announced today.
Avery is the first female winner of the award in Iona history. The Maroon & Gold has a rich tradition of representation on the men's side as it has won seven of the last 11 honors. Cross country and track standouts Mitch Goose (2011-12 & 2012-13), Ryan Sheridan (2009-10), Andrew Ledwith (2008-09), Tim Bayley (2006-07), and Richard Kiplagat (2003-04 & 2004-05) have all been named MAAC Student-Athletes of the Year during the stretch.
"A great honor, for a great student-athlete," said Iona College Director of Athletics Rick Cole Jr. "We are extremely proud of Kate's tremendous accomplishments both on and off the field of competition. Her efforts this past year were inspiring to the Gael Nation."
"Kate had a great year both inside and outside of the classroom," said head coach Ricardo Santos. "It's great to see that all her hard work and sacrifices have paid off for her, she is very deserving of this great award."
Canisius College baseball standout Connor Panas was the MAAC's Male Student-Athlete of the Year.
"These two student-athletes are individuals who have proven themselves as champions in their sports and in their academic majors," notes Rich Ensor, Commissioner of the MAAC. "Connor and Kate are well deserving of this recognition for their efforts and the MAAC membership congratulates them and their families and coaches for their outstanding commitment to the conference's mission to have programs that aim for excellence in athletics and academics."
Avery became a three-time All-American in 2013-14 earning the honor in cross country, indoor track (3k second team), and outdoor track (5k first team). Avery won titles in all three MAAC Championship events she competed including cross country and indoor mile and 3k events and earned two MAAC Championship Most Outstanding Performer awards in cross Country and indoor track & field.
In cross country, Avery led the Iona women's team to a MAAC team championship in the fall. She earned All-Region honors with a fifth place finish at the 2013 Northeast Regional Championship and became the highest finisher and second ever All-American in Iona women's cross country history with a third place finish at the NCAA Championship. Avery became the first British woman to earn a medal at the NCAA Cross Country Championship.
In indoor track, Avery set school records in the mile and 3k breaking the 3k record by more than 20 seconds and becoming the first Iona women's runner to finish under nine minutes. She set a new MAAC record in the mile at the 2014 MAAC Championship and earned Second Team All-America honors at NCAAs with a ninth place performance in the 3k.
In outdoor track, she broke a nine-year old school record in the 5k, shattering the mark by more than 36 seconds and becoming the first Iona harrier to finish the event under 16 minutes with a time of 15:27.90. Avery earned her third All-American honor of the year finishing eighth in the 5k at the NCAA Championship.
A 2013-14 three-time MAAC All-Academic Team member (cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track), a member of the 2013 USTFCCA All-Academic Cross Country Team, and a 2014 All-Academic Track and Field individual honor recipient; Avery holds a 3.35 GPA and is a marketing majoring in Iona's Hagan School of Business.
The MAAC Committee on Athletic Administration created the MAAC Student-Athlete of the Year award in October 2001 to recognize overall excellence in the classroom, on the playing field and in the community. Each MAAC member nominated one male and one female for the honor. The conference sports information directors vote to determine one overall winner for men and women. The conference awards honorable mention accolades to each nominee. Nominees must have at least a 3.2 overall grade point average, be in their second year of residence at the institution, and be a starter or important reserve on their team.
Honorable mention recognition was awarded to the following nominees: Canisius College – Maria Kotas (women's lacrosse); Fairfield University – Kevin Greener (men's swimming & diving), Lauren Liseth (softball); Iona College – Matthew Gillespie (men's cross country/track & field); Manhattan College – Daniel Festa (men's soccer), Kate Bowen (softball); Marist College – Joseph Dube (men's tennis), Brooke Zywick (volleyball); Monmouth University – Vincent Du Vernois (men's track & field), Chevannah Paalvast (women's basketball); Niagara University – Nick Garcia (men's soccer), Kim Vona (women's cross country); Quinnipiac University – Tobias Esche (men's soccer), Jess Rusin (field hockey); Rider University – Nick Richter (baseball), Emily Ritter (women's cross country/track & field); Saint Peter's College – Jon Kristoffersen (baseball), Maggie Neiswangner (women's soccer); Siena College – James Beeston (men's soccer), Taylor Akana (volleyball).