SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - The Mount Holyoke College field hockey team has been recognized by the 2016 ZAG Field Hockey/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) as one of the top five academic teams in Division III. The Lyons also saw a Division III-best 20 student-athletes named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad, while two garnered Scholar of Distinction recognition.
One of 125 schools to be recognized, Mount Holyoke posted a grade point average of 3.68, which ranks second overall among this year's honored teams. The Lyons tied with NEWMAC-rival Springfield College. Both fell just short of the nation's top team, Swarthmore, which boasted a 3.72 GPA. Additionally, MHC has now been recognized each year during head coach Andy Whitcomb's career.
Earning Scholar of Distinction honors this season was senior captain and goalie Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) and junior midfielder Kathryn Rawson (Old Town, Maine/Old Town). To be recognized, a student-athlete must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or higher through their first semester of the 2016-17 academic year. It marks the third straight Scholar of Distinction honor for Rawson and the second for DiCesare.
Mount Holyoke's individuals named to the National Academic Squad were first year forward Anna Ballou (South Deerfield, Mass./Deerfield Academy), junior captain and midfielder Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic), DiCesare, senior defender Katherine Guinee (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet Regional), sophomore midfielder Mirjam Keochakian (Hamburg, Germany/Deerfield Academy), senior defender Rachel Lenihan (Westport, Conn./Joel Barlow), junior defender Cymone Martin (Orchard Lake, Mich./Cranbrook Kingswood School), first year midfielder Lia Messersmith (Asheville, N.C./Asheville), senior captain and defender Ruvimbo Mushavi (Harare, Zimbabwe/Arundel School), sophomore middie Colby Newsham (Harvard, Mass./Bromfield School), junior defender Isabella Olgaard (Houston, Texas/Episcopal), junior forward Sophie Perekslis (Millerton, N.Y./Berkshire School), first year defender Micaela Pierce (Newton, Mass./Beaver Country Day School), first year forward Winter Pisco (Levittown, Pa./George School), sophomore midfielder Kristina Ramsden (Florence, Mass./Northampton), Rawson, senior Jessica Taylor (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield), senior Ally Tessier (Coventry, R.I. / Portsmouth Abbey School), first year goalie Morgan Turner (Chester, N.J./West Morris Mendham) and senior Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School).
The Lyons' 20 selections is tied for the most among any Division III school honored. Messiah College and Salisbury University also had 20 honorees. Mount Holyoke is also tops among DIII schools in the number of four-year honorees with six, tying Husson University.
DiCesare, Lenihan, Mushavi, Taylor, Tessier and Wagner marked the Lyons making their fourth straight appearance on the National Academic Squad. Earning the honor for the third straight year was Perekslis, Braz, and Rawson, while Guinee, Keochakian, Ramsden, Newsham and Olgaard have all been recognized twice. Of the 20 student-athletes recognized to the National squad, nine had a grade point average higher than 3.50.
This year's NFHCA Division III top-five teams were Swarthmore College (3.72), Mount Holyoke College and Springfield College (3.68) and Earlham College (3.65). Misericordia University and Simmons College (3.63) rounded out the top-five.
Four student-athletes capped the season in double-digits for points, while three were named NEWMAC All-Conference, including two on the First Team. Additionally, three were named to the Longstreth/NFHCA New England East Region Teams, while Mushavi was tabbed to the Longstreth/NFHCA Division III All-America Third Team for the second straight season.
To be recognized for National Academic Team Award honors, a squad must have achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher during the Fall Semester of the 2016 academic year. Those named to the National Academic Squad, must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher through the Fall of 2016.