GILBERT, Ariz. - The Mount Holyoke College field hockey team has been recognized by the 2017 ZAG Field Hockey/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) as one of the top academic teams in Division III. The Lyons also saw a 18 student-athletes named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad, while three garnered Scholar of Distinction recognition.
One of 130 schools to be recognized, Mount Holyoke posted a grade point average of 3.56. The Lyons, who finished second in the nation last year, fell just outside the top five in 2017 as NEWMAC-rival Springfield College took top honors with a 3.78 GPA. MHC has now been recognized each year during head coach Andy Whitcomb's 20-year career at the helm.
Earning Scholar of Distinction honors this season were senior Kathryn Rawson (Old Town, Maine/Old Town), Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic) and Sophie Perekslis (Millerton, N.Y./Berkshire School). It marked the fourth consecutive Scholar of Distinction honor for Rawson, the third for Braz and the second for Perekslis in their careers. To be recognized, a student-athlete must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or higher through their first semester of the 2017-18 academic year. The Lyons trio were among 242 student-athletes representing 105 school to be honored this year.
Mount Holyoke's individuals named to the National Academic Squad were sophomore forward Anna Ballou (South Deerfield, Mass./Deerfield Academy), first year defender Chelsea Braz (Coventry, Conn./East Catholic), Braz, junior midfielder Liz Delorme (Florence, Mass./Bellingham), junior midfielder Mirjam Keochakian (Hamburg, Germany/Deerfield Academy), first year defender Julia Klein (West Hartford, Conn./Northwest Catholic), senior defender Julia Lankin (West Hartford, Conn./Conard), first year defender Christina Lively (Rowe, Mass./Mohawk Trail Regional), senior midfielder Cymone Martin (Orchard Lake, Mich./Cranbrook Kingswood School), sophomore midfielder Lia Messersmith (Asheville, N.C./Asheville), first year goalie Maddie Miller (Marblehead, Mass./Marblehead), junior midfielder and captain Colby Newsham (Harvard, Mass./Bromfield School), senior defender Isabella Olgaard (Houston, Texas/Episcopal), Perekslis, sophomore defender Micaela Pierce (Newton, Mass./Beaver Country Day School), junior midfielder Kristina Ramsden (Florence, Mass./Northampton), Rawson and sophomore goalie Morgan Turner (Chester, N.J./West Morris Mendham).
The Lyons' 18 selections is tied for 12th-most among the Division III school honored. Haverford led the way with 23 selections, followed by Middlebury with 22 and Messiah and Amherst each garnering 21 to round out the top three. Overall, 1,700 student-athletes from 148 schools were honored on the National Academic Squad.
Rawson, Braz and Perekslis marked the Lyons making their fourth straight appearance on the National Academic Squad. Earning the honor for the third straight year was Keochakian, Ramsden, Newsham, Lankin and Olgaard, while Ballou, Martin, Messersmith, Pierce and Turner have all been recognized twice. All 18 student-athletes recognized to the National squad, had a grade point average higher than 3.50. Additionally, 20 members of the team had a 3.00 GPA or better.
This year's NFHCA Division III top-five teams were Springfield College (3.78), Bowdoin College (3.71) and Swarthmore College (3.69). Earlham College (3.65) and Amherst College (3.64) rounded out the top-five.
Under Whitcomb, the Lyons went 12-6 with a 5-3 record in the NEWMAC. The squad finished fourth in the conference standings, falling 3-2 in overtime to fifth-seed Springfield in the opening round. It marked the Lyons 19th-straight appearance in the conference tournament.
Six 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, including Perekslis as a First Team honoree.
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 2017 academic year. Those named to the National Academic Squad, must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher through the Fall of 2017.