High Point, N.C. – Conference Carolinas is proud to announce the 2017 Fall Scholar Athletes of the Year, as voted on by the Student-Athlete Affairs Committee. This prestigious award is presented annually to one student-athlete in each sport for recognition of their outstanding performance both on the field and in the classroom.
Women’s Cross Country
Hannah Kusmierz - King University
Hannah Kusmierz earned Second Team All-Conference honors in 2017 after placing seventh at the Conference Carolinas Women's Cross Country Championship in a personal-record time of 24:01.6 (6k). Kusmierz also boasts a 5k personal-best of 19:23, and earned Conference Carolinas Runner of the Week honors this fall for her 13th-place performance at the Gene Mullin Invitational. Kusmierz is pursuing a degree in psychology and holds a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Men’s Cross Country
Jonathan Dahlke - University of Mount Olive
Jonathan Dahlke placed top-10 in every regular season cross country meet he competed in this fall, setting himself up for a number of impressive post-season performances. He led his team to their sixth consecutive conference title on his way to the individual title at the 2017 Conference Carolinas Men's Cross Country Championship. Dahlke then went on to place 6th in the NCAA Southeast Region Meet on the way to another team win. He topped off his impressive senior season, during which he broke the school record in the 8k, by earning All-America honors at the NCAA DII National Meet, where he placed 36th. Dahlke holds a 3.66 GPA while pursuing a degree in Psychology.
Paige O'Connor - Southern Wesleyan University
During an impressive senior season, Paige O'Connor joined the ranks of just a handful of other Warriors who have tallied 1,000-plus career kills. Leading the conference in kills this season (540), and tallying the second-highest kills per set (3.88), it was no surprise that she was voted both First Team All-Conference and Conference Carolinas Offensive Player of the Year. O'Connor was named the Conference Carolinas Women's Volleyball Player of the Week on three separate occasions this fall, as well as being named to the D2CCA Southeast-Region Second Team. O'Connor holds a GPA of 3.96 while majoring in Biology.
Naiara Kapstein - Limestone College
Naiara Kapstein finished up an impressive career with the Saints by nabbing Second Team All-Conference honors in 2017. This past fall she tallied two goals and five assists for nine total points on the year. She is now a two-time honoree in both All-Conference and All-Region selections. Kapstein holds a perfect 4.0 GPA while triple-majoring in Business Management, Business Marketing, and Business Finance. She was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team in 2017, as well as earning First Team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
Tom Deeley - Lees-McRae College
Tom Deeley concluded his senior season ranked second among all players in Conference Carolinas in goals (13) and points (34) on the year, as well as tallying the fourth-highest number of assists (8). He was named First Team All-Conference, as well as being voted the Conference Carolinas Offensive Player of the Year. Deeley has racked up a number of other impressive awards to cap off his final season, including being named D2CCA Southeast Region Player of the Year, D2CCA All-America Second Team, CoSIDA Academic All-District, and CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team, among others. A psychology major, Deeley holds a 3.89 GPA.