BOSTON — UMBC junior goalkeeper Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa.) , the reigning America East Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, earned his second consecutive America East Men's Soccer Scholar-Athlete award.
Heavner is one of six of America East's top student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence both athletically and academically are the America East 2015 Fall Scholar-Athletes as announced Thursday afternoon by the conference office. Joining Heavner are All-Americans Paula Heuser (field hockey) from University at Albany and Laura Rose Donegan (women's cross country) from University of New Hampshire, Albany's Laini Leindecker (volleyball) and Alexa Schneider (women's soccer and the University of Maine's Jesse Orach (men's cross country).
A UMBC men's soccer student-athlete has won the award in four of the past five years as fullback Liam Paddock captured the honor in 2011 and 2012.
Heavner maintains a 3.82 grade-point average while taking undergraduate and graduate level courses in financial economics. He earned America East Second Team and All-Academic team honors in the fall and capped the campaign with a CoSIDA Academic All-America accolade.
The Scholar-Athletes were members of teams in the six championship sports which America East sponsored in the fall season including men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, field hockey and volleyball. Member institutions of the America East Conference for the 2015 fall season included Albany, Binghamton University, University of Hartford, Maine, UMBC, UMass Lowell, New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont. University of California, UC Davis, University of the Pacific, Stanford University were associate members in field hockey.
Nominees were put forward by their institution, which could nominate up to one student-athlete per sport. The conference's Student-Athlete Engagement committee chose an honoree in each of the six fall championship sports. Each America East Scholar-Athlete was a starter or prominent reserve and carries a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.50. They will automatically be eligible for the America East Female or Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award to be announced this summer.
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. The Elite 18 program recognizes elite students while All-Academic teams comprised of student-athletes that excel both academically and athletically are chosen in each of the conference's 18 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.