Southern Maine Fall Student-Athletes Excel Academically and Athletically

Third year winners Kyle Curley (Electrical Engineering), Jazmyn Sylvester-Cross (Linguistics) and Megan Nilson (Athletic Training).
Third year winners Kyle Curley (Electrical Engineering), Jazmyn Sylvester-Cross (Linguistics) and Megan Nilson (Athletic Training).

GORHAM, Maine –  Twenty-five University of Southern Maine Huskies' Fall student-athletes have been recognized by the Little East Conference for their academic achievements earning spots on the 2016 Little East Conference Fall All-Academic Team.  The Huskies have representatives in all seven sponsored fall championship sports: men's cross country, women's cross country, field hockey, men's soccer, women's soccer, women's tennis, and women's volleyball. 

To earn the distinguished award, a student-athlete must have a cumulative grade point averaged of 3.3 or higher during the Fall 2016 semester and be at least a sophomore in standing both academically and athletically.  The student-athlete must also be a full-time member of a varsity sport and be enrolled in its institution for the full academic year. 

"We are very proud of our student-athletes tremendous work ethic and their ability to excel in the classroom and competition," noted USM Director of Athletics Al Bean. "Balancing academic responsibilities and the commitment and challenge of being a student-athlete with remarkable success is no easy task and each student should be proud of their accomplishments."

With USM Athletics embracing the Division III philosophy and its commitment to academics, many of the Huskies' 25 honorees are repeat recipients of the award. Three Huskies' are earning the honor for the third time in their playing career, while eight of the 25 honorees have earned the accolade at least twice.

Senior Jazmyn Sylvester-Cross (Fairfield, Vt./Enosburg Falls) of the women's cross country team is a three-time recipient while working towards a degree in Linguistics.  Sylvester-Cross was one of the Huskies' co-captains during the 2016 season. During the 2016 LEC Championship meet, Sylvester-Cross was the third Husky runner across the finish line, placing 11th overall to help Southern Maine to a second place finish.

Senior Megan Nilson (Granby, Conn.) of the women's volleyball team is also a three-time honoree.  A three-year captain of the Huskies' volleyball team, Nilson wrapped out an outstanding career for USM this fall and will graduate with a degree in Athletic Training.  As a senior, Nilson led USM in assists with 616, and in service aces with 50, while finishing third in digs with 264.  Surpassing the 2000 assist plateau as a junior in 2015, Nilson became just the third Husky volleyball player to do so. Listed in the top of several career and single-season statistical categories, Nilson's 2765 career assists are a school record. 

Senior Kyle Curley (Gorham, Maine) of the men's soccer team is the final three-year recipient.  One of the Huskies' co-captains, Curley, an electrical engineering major, is one of the conference's top defenders, earning second team All-Little East Conference honors.  A three-year captain for the men's soccer program, Curley was selected to participate in the New England Intercollegiate Soccer League (NEISL) senior All-Star Game this past November.  Curley is also a standout member of the three-time LEC Champion men's tennis team, serving as the team's captain the last two seasons while earning All-Little East Conference honors in both singles and doubles competition.

Five Huskies' are receiving the academic honors from the LEC for the second time in their careers: senior Ian Byron (North Yarmouth, Maine/Greely) of the men's soccer, junior Alexa Cicolini (Methuen, Mass.) of the women's soccer team, junior Jess Williamson (Goffstown, N.H.) of the women's volleyball team, juniors Lindsay Jackson (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook) and Tayla Smedberg (Oxford, Maine/Oxford Hills) of the field hockey team, and senior Jasmine Boyle (Brunswick, Maine) of the women's cross country team.

Byron, also a two-time William B. Wise Scholar Athlete, is pursuing his degree in Exercise Science.  He has played two seasons with the men's soccer team.  Cicolini, in her third season with the Huskies, is a two-time William B. Wise Scholar Athlete and is earning her degree in Psychology.  In her junior season, Cicolini scored a pair of goals for the Huskies.  Her first goal of the season came in a 5-0 win over Thomas College (September 1), and she scored the second goal of the game in a 3-0 win over Pine Manor (October 25). 

Jackson, a three-year member of the Huskies' field hockey team majoring in Nursing, has earned numerous academic honors in her career.  After the 2015 season, Jackson was named one of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Scholar-Athletes of Distinction after earning a 4.0 grade point average during her playing season.  A two-time William B. Wise Scholar Athlete, Jackson scored nine goals in 2016, including three game-winners. 

Junior Lindsey Jackson was a 2015 NFHCA Scholar-Athlete of Distinction

A 2016 All-Little East Conference forward, Smedberg led the Huskies in scoring with 10 goals and five assists, netting three game-winning goals.  In the Huskies' 3-0 upset win over Bridgewater State in the quarterfinals of the 2016 LEC tournament, Smedberg had a goal and an assist.  A two-time William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete, Smedberg is pursuing her degree in Nursing. 

One of the most highly decorated volleyball players in Husky history, Williamson became the first USM volleyball player to earn all-conference honors three times in her career, earning her second first team honor in 2016.  The 2014 LEC Rookie of the Year, Williamson led the conference in kills (459), kills per set (4.54), and was fifth in hitting percentage (.264) and eighth in digs (316).  She is the first player in school history to surpass 1000 kills in a career.  A two-time William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete, Williamson is majoring in Biology. 

Junior Jess Williamson is a three-time All-LEC selection and a two-time All-Academic team honoree

Boyle, the second finisher among at the 2016 Little East Conference women's cross country championship, was one of the Huskies' three captains.  She earned All-LEC honors based upon her outstanding performance at the 2016 LEC Championship and was selected as the conference's runner of the week twice during the season. 

Seventeen USM student-athletes are first-time winners of the Little East All-Academic team honor, marking the second highest total of recipients for the Huskies since the award was first given nine years ago. 

Sophomores Colin Jones (Scarborough, Maine) and CJ Moody (Old Town, Maine) represent the men's cross country team and are majoring in General Management and Nursing, respectively.  Sophomore Nathan Cook (Lewiston, Maine), an Athletic Training major, joins Byron and Curley from the men's soccer team.  Sophomores Taylor Canastra (Fairhaven, Mass.), Ally Little (Stoneham, Mass.) and Sarah Michaud (Candia, N.H./Manchester Central) from the women's soccer team all earned the honor for the first time.  Canastra is a Biology major, Little is an Athletic Training student, while Michaud is pursuing her degree in English.

Three members of the women's tennis team are earning the honor for the first time in junior Lynn Swanson (Bath, Maine/Morse) and sophomores Joanna Scheidegger (Lyss, Switzerland/BFB) and Margaret Smith (Farmingdale, Maine/Gardiner).  Swanson is an Elementary Education/English dual major, while Scheidegger is working towards a degree in Exercise Science, and Smith is completing a degree in Marketing. 

Joining Williamson and Nilson from the volleyball team are sophomore Nicole Schmitz (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) and junior Mo Raymond (Sanbornton, N.H./Winnisquam).  Schmitz is an Exercise Science major, and Raymond is studying Criminology.

The women's cross country team makes up the largest number of first year recipients with five student-athletes achieving the honor.  Sophomores Haley Bessette (Brooklyn, Conn./Woodstock Academy), a Health Science major; Kayla Griffis (Scarborough, Maine), a Sports Management major; Heather Kendall (Lewiston, Maine), an Exercise Science major; and Penny Maimone (Stoneham, Mass./Arlington Catholic), a Criminology student; and junior Katie Hersom (Gray, Maine/Gray-New Gloucester), a Health Science major are all first year recipients.

2016 Little East Conference Fall All-Academic Team

Men's Cross Country

 

 

 

Student-Athlete

Class

Major

Hometown

Colin Jones

Sophomore

General Management

Scarborough, Maine

CJ Moody

Sophomore

Nursing

Old Town, Maine

       

Women's Cross Country

     

Haley Bessette

Sophomore

Health Science

Brooklyn, Conn.

Jasmine Boyle

Senior

General Management

Brunswick, Maine

Kayla Griffis

Sophomore

Sports Management

Scarborough, Maine

Katie Hersom

Junior

Health Science

Gray, Maine

Heather Kendall

Sophomore

Exercise Science

Lewiston, Maine

Penny Maimone

Sophomore

Criminology

Stoneham, Mass.

Jazmyn Sylvester-Cross

Senior

Linguistics

Fairfield, Vt.

       

Field Hockey

     

Lindsay Jackson

Junior

Nursing

Readfield, Maine

Tayla Smedberg

Junior

Nursing

Oxford, Maine

       

Men's Soccer

     

Ian Byron

Senior

Exercise Science

North Yarmouth, Maine

Nathan Cook

Sophomore

Athletic Training

Lewiston, Maine

Kyle Curley

Senior

Electrical Engineering

Gorham, Maine

       

Women's Soccer

     

Taylor Canastra

Sophomore

Biology

Fairhaven, Mass.

Alexa Cicolini

Junior

Psychology

Methuen, Mass.

Allison Little

Sophomore

Athletic Training

Stoneham, Mass.

Sarah Michaud

Sophomore

English

Candia, N.H.

       

Women's Tennis

     

Joanna Scheidegger

Sophomore

Exercise Science

Lyss, Switzerland

Margaret Smith

Sophomore

Marketing

Farmingdale, Maine

Lynn Swanson

Junior

English

Bath, Maine

       

Volleyball

     

Megan Nilson

Senior

Athletic Training

Granby, Conn.

Mo Raymond

Junior

Criminology

Sanbornton, N.H.

Nicole Schmitz

Sophomore

Exercise Science

St. Paul, Minn.

Jess Williamson

Junior

Biology

Goffstown, N.H.

–cac–