ECC Announces 2015-2016 Scholar-Athletes; Forgaard and Ragab Named Scholar-Athletes of the Year

ECC Announces 2015-2016 Scholar-Athletes; Forgaard and Ragab Named Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Central Islip, N.Y. - The East Coast Conference announced the 2015-2016 Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year, as well as the Scholar-Athletes of the Year for all of its sponsored sports at the ECC Awards Dinner on May 23. Per Forgaard (Stavanger, Norway) of the LIU Post men's soccer team was named the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Dina Ragab (Cairo, Egypt) of the NYIT women's basketball team earned the honor as Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Forgaard boasts a graduate GPA of 3.83 after compiling an undergraduate GPA of 3.7 as an International Business major. A four-time All-ECC honoree and three-time All-America selection, he wrapped up his career with a stellar showing in 2016 by scoring 13 goals and adding 13 assists for 39 points as LIU Post won the ECC and advanced to the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals. This earned him the ECC Offensive Player of the Year, DIICCA and NSCAA First Team All-American accolades, and a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team.

Ragab was a Business Administration major with a 3.82 GPA who was also a standout for the NYIT women's basketball team. The multiple time All-Conference honoree culminated her career by averaging 16.8 point per game 8.3 rebounds per game to earn ECC Player of the Year, All-Met Player of the Year, WBCA Honorable Mention All-America status and a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team. Her play also helped NYIT to the best season in program history as the Bears won 26 games and the ECC regular season championship, while also advancing to the final of the NCAA East Region tournament.

Forgaard and Ragab were also named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year for their respective sports as well.

2015-2016 ECC Scholar Athletes of the Year
Baseball – Kevin Podell (Wantagh, N.Y.), Molloy: Podell, who was a Second Team All-ECC pick after finishing fourth in the ECC with a .343 batting average, has posted a 3.96 GPA as a Business Management major.  

Men’s Basketball – Ryan Hickey (Smithtown, N.Y.), Dowling: Hickey, a Business Management major with a 3.93 GPA, wins the award after scoring 10.5 points per game and ranking seventh in the ECC with 59 made three-pointers.

Women's Bowling - Dakota May (Conklin, N.Y.), Kutztown: May, a senior Music Performance major with a 3.88 GPA, earns the honor after starting 64 matches as a senior and finishing with a 17.41 frame average.

Men's Cross Country - Aaron Bellomo (Hudson, N.H.), Roberts Wesleyan: A ECC First-Team honoree after finishing fourth in the ECC Championship in a time of 25:40.79, Bellomo also boasts a 3.87 GPA as a Communication major.

Women's Cross Country - Elizabeth Valento (Pavilion, N.Y.), Roberts Wesleyan: Valento, who has compiled a near-perfect 3.98 GPA as a Childhood and Special Education major, came in third place at the ECC Championship meet in a time of 18:06.06 to earn All-Conference First Team honors.

Men’s Indoor Track and Field – Kevin Roginson (Amherst, N.Y.), Daemen: Roginson was a Second Team All-Conference selection in the 5,000 meters in a time of 16:04.78. In the classroom, he holds a 3.51 GPA as a Global & Local Sustainability major.

Women’s Indoor Track and Field – Marlena Wright (Bronx, N.Y.), District of Columbia: Wright earns the honor after winning the 500 meter run at the ECC Championship in a time of  1:18.60 and compiling a 3.30 GPA as a Mass Media - Journalism major.

Men’s Lacrosse – Nick Sidara (Mastic Beach, N.Y.), NYIT: Sidaras, a graduate Accounting major recorded a 3.46 GPA as an undergraduate and a 3.92 GPA in graduate school. On the field, he was a Second Team All-Conference selection as a specialist after finishing fourth in the ECC with 68 groundballs.

Women’s Lacrosse – Melissa DellaRocca (Lindenhurst, N.Y.), Mercy: DellaRocca, a junior Health Science/OT Track major with a 3.80 GPA, was an ECC All-Conference First Team member after ranking second in the conference with 31 caused turnovers.

Co-Men’s Outdoor Track and Field – Skandal Delince (Long Island, N.Y.), Queens: Delince earns a share ofthe Outdoor Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year. On the track, Delince earned Second Team All-Conference honors in the 110 meter hurdles, 400 meter hurdles, triple jump, and the 4 x 400 meter relay. In addition to his athletic accomplishments, the junior Psychology major has posted a 3.64 GPA.

Co-Men’s Outdoor Track and Field – Matthew VanDeMortel (Geneva, N.Y.), Daemen: VanDeMortel is the other half of the Outdoor Track & Field Scholar-Athlete duo after compiling a 3.65 GPA as a Physician Assistant major. VanDeMortel won the 800 meter run in a time of 1:57.55 at the ECC Championship meet and also earned Second Team All-Conference honors as part of the 4 x 800 meter relay team.

Women’s Outdoor Track and Field – Elizabeth Stirling (Wantagh, N.Y.), LIU Post: Stirling, a  graduate Biology major boasts a 4.0 GPA as a graduate student after finishing with a 3.6 GPA as an undergrad. On the track, she won the 5,000 meter run at the ECC Championship in a meet-record time of 18:11.02 and earned Second Team All-Conference honors in the 4 x 800 meter relay.

Women’s Soccer – Susanne Vistnes (Randaberg, Norway), LIU Post: Vistnes was an All-ECC First Team pick and a Second Team All-American after scoring 19 goals and dishing out eight assists for 46 points on the season. Academically, the senior Business major posted a 3.56 GPA.

Co-Softball – Tracey Balinskas (Edison, N.J.), Molloy: Balinskas, a four-time All-ECC First Teamer earns a share of the Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor after hitting .389 with eight homeruns and 40 RBI to go along with an 11-8 record and a 3.18 ERA in the circle. The Childhood Special Education - Biology major also compiled a 3.78 GPA

Co-Softball – Kat Zabielski (Farmingdale, N.Y.), NYIT: A Business Administration major with a 3.87 GPA, Zabielski was named the ECC Player of the Year and a NFCA and CoSIDA Academic All-America First Teamer after finishing with a .405 batting average, 20 homeruns, and 73 RBI.

Men’s Tennis – Sharvill Nawghre (Nagpur, India), Queens: Nawghre, an ECC All-Conference First Team honoree who finished 2016 with a 12-10 singles record, also excelled with his academics, earning a 3.66 GPA as a Finance major.

Women’s Tennis – Didi Fatchikova (Sofia, Bulgaria), LIU Post: Fatchikova, who finished with a 7-3 singles record in 2015-16, earns the Scholar-Athlete honor after finishing with a 3.93 GPA as a Public Relations major.

Volleyball – Sarah Rosa (Itajuba, Brazil), Bridgeport: Rosa, an All-Conference selection and Most Outstanding Player of the ECC Championship, helped the Purple Knights to their fourth straight ECC title with 327 kills and a .212 hitting percentage. She also excelled in the classroom with a 3.93 GPA as an International Business major.