FAIRFIELD, Conn. (June 29, 2010) - Senior Jared Balbach (Pine Bush, NY) from the baseball team, senior Timmy Katz (Freeport, NY) from the men's lacrosse team and sophomore Leopoldo Garcia (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) from the men's golf team were named 2010 Northeast Conference (NEC) Spring Scholar-Athletes announced by the league on Tuesday. Sacred Heart placed 140 student-athletes covering 10 conference-sponsored spring sports on the NEC Academic Honor Roll. Twenty-seven SHU student-athlete earned a spot on the Comissioner's Honor Roll comprised by student-athletes who attained a 3.75 grade-point average or higher.
In order to receive consideration for the list, one must maintain at least a 3.20 grade-point average (GPA). During the course of the 2009-10 academic year, a record 2,257 student-athletes earned their way onto the Academic Honor Roll. That figure represents more than half of the league's competitors and stands as a 12.5-percent increase from one year ago. Likewise, 495 student-athletes were tabbed to the Commissioner's Honor Roll in 2009-10, an all-time high for the league and a year-to-year increase of 14.6 percent.
Only weeks after pitching Sacred Heart into the NEC Championship Game, Balbach captures the baseball Scholar-Athlete award. The veteran left-hander compiled a 9-3 record this season while sporting a 3.63 earned-run average that was fourth amongst league leaders. Balbach produced seven complete-game efforts in 14 starts on the way to logging the third-most innings (91.2) in the conference. Following his selection to the 2010 All-NEC First Team, Balbach continued his winning ways in the postseason. The senior southpaw went the distance, tossing 141 pitches, to notch an 8-3 victory over eventual-league champion Central Connecticut State at the 2010 NEC Tournament. Pitching best during the season's stretch run, Balbach went 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his last six starts. Studying Business, Balbach accounted for a 3.77 grade-point average.
Garcia caps another award-winning spring by claiming the men's golf Scholar-Athlete honor. After being named the 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year, Garcia added a second consecutive all-NEC second team selection to his resume in 2010. He carded a three-round score of 232 to crack the Top 25 at this year's Northeast Conference Championship. He shot a season-best round of 70 on three separate occasions, one of which was part of a third-place individual finish at the New England Division I Championship. Garcia has declared a major in Biological Sciences and maintains a 3.71 grade-point average.
It's been quite a spring for Sacred Heart's Katz, the winner of the men's lacrosse Scholar-Athlete award. En-route to earning all-NEC first team honors, Katz tallied a career-high 32 goals and led the Pioneers in scoring for a third consecutive season. He totaled 116 points (78 G, 38 A) in 53 career games at Sacred Heart. Two different organizations (NEILA and USILA) named the veteran attacker to their All-Star Game. Katz tallied two goals and an assist in the USILA North-South All-Star Game before becoming the second player in Sacred Heart history to be selected in the Major League Lacrosse Draft. The fifth-round choice of his hometown Long Island Lizards, Katz was the 28th player overall selected in this year's draft. The Business major posted a 3.28 grade-point average and was named both a USILA Scholar All-American and a NEILA Scholar-Athlete.
All Scholar-Athlete award winners must have earned a minimum of 60 semester hours and held a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.20, while participating, with distinction, as a member of a varsity team.