One of the most prestigious awards in college athletics is the Senior CLASS (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) Award. To be eligible, a student athlete must be a NCAA Division I senior and excel in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.
The students under consideration for the award represent the top senior student athletes in the nation in their respective sports. Remarkably, Siena has had six Senior CLASS Award candidates in 2012.
Tom Morr ’12 and Bryan Neufeld ’12 were among 20 national candidates considered in men’s lacrosse in the spring, with Morr – a goalie from Rockville Centre – reaching the final 10.
This fall, Siena had its first Senior CLASS candidates in men’s soccer and volleyball.
Jannis Opalka, who was the 2010- 11 MAAC nominee for the NCAA Sportsmanship Award and carries a 3.9 GPA in management, was one of just 30 candidates for the honor. Opalka, a native of Stade, Germany, helped Siena earn the No. 2 seed in this year’s MAAC championships after being honored as a Capital One Academic All-District selection for a second straight year.
Lesli Akeo, whose selection in volleyball may have been the most impressive, was the only student athlete in the Northeast named a Senior CLASS Award candidate. She became the first player in program history to eclipse the 2,000-dig milestone this year, doing so on a Siena team that won 20 games and finished second in the MAAC.
O.D. Anosike ’13 and Lily Grenci ’13 kept the Saints’ streak rolling in October, when the basketball Senior CLASS candidates were announced.
Anosike, an economics major, is the face of the Siena men’s program. He posted a 3.7 GPA as a junior while leading the nation in rebounding and ranking second in double-doubles. Off the court, Anosike plays a leadership role in the Blue Shield of Northeastern New York Saints in the Community outreach program. Grenci, a sociology major, maintains a 3.85 cumulative GPA and is a MAAC Preseason First Team selection after ranking second in the league in scoring and third in rebounding last season.
Akeo, Opalka, Anosike and Grenci are all members of Siena’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Siena continues to be a national leader in graduating student athletes. Using data released in NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report in October, student athletes who entered Siena as freshmen in 2005 graduated from college at a 95 percent clip, the 6th highest rate in the nation.
Siena has ranked in the top 10 percent of Division I institutions in all eight GSR reports, and is one of just 21 schools with a GSR of 93 percent or above in each report.