BOSTON - UMBC rising junior Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) captured another prestigious America East Conference honor, as the Retriever men's soccer goalkeeper was selected as the league's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Maine rising senior women's basketball standout Liz Wood earned the women's award.
Heavner and Wood excelled as student-athletes this year, embodying the conference's three pillars of the complete student-athlete. The tandem was chosen from a group of 16 student-athletes who were tabbed Scholar-Athletes in their respective sports by a committee of athletic administrators and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives. The committee each year elects a Scholar-Athlete in each of the league's 18 championship sports following the fall, winter and spring seasons. Heavner was the men's soccer Scholar-Athlete while Wood was the women's basketball honoree.
Heavner becomes the third Retriever student-athlete to receive the league's top annual academic honor. Tennis standout Lana Khavlina received the honor in UMBC's first season in the conference (2003-04), while another men's soccer competitor, Liam Paddock, was just two years ago.
Heavner, who maintains a 3.96 GPA in financial economics, was the recipient of both the NCAA Elite 89 & America East Elite 18 Awards for excellence in the classroom during the NCAA College Cup and America East Championships respectively.
A member of the America East All-Academic team, the netminder ranked eighth nationally in save percentage (84.2%) and sixth in goals against average (0.54) in 2014. The mark for goals-against average is a school record, while the wins (11) and shutouts (7) ranked fifth and sixth respectively for a single season at UMBC.
Heavner and his Retriever defense posted an NCAA Tournament record four consecutive shutouts en route to the College Cup.
He is a four-time UMBC Presidential List honoree for having perfect a 4.00 GPA.
America East is proud to have one of most comprehensive academic awards programs in the country. In addition to the Scholar-Athlete program, , Presidential Scholar-Athlete awards are bestowed to student-athletes who graduate with a 3.75 GPA. All-Academic teams comprised of student-athletes that excel both academically and athletically are chosen in each of the conference's 19 sports. The conference also recognizes all student-athletes who achieve at least a 3.0 GPA on its Academic Honor Roll, with those achieving a 3.50 average or better receiving Commissioner's Honor Roll status. Finally, the Academic Cup is presented to the institution whose student-athletes post the highest grade-point average during that academic year.