A pair of Central Connecticut student-athletes were named Northeast Conference Scholar-Athlete award winners it was announced Thursday by the league office. Junior Erica Bardes of the women's soccer team and junior Angie Rafter of the women's cross country team were named the Scholar-Athlete of their respective sports by the league office. The league also named members of the Fall Academic Honor Roll and Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Bardes was the co-winner of the women's soccer scholar-athlete accolade with FDU's Amanda Fitzgerald. Bardes helped the Blue Devils repeat as NEC champion after going 8-1-1 to win the league's regular season. CCSU recorded seven shutouts on the year, including a 1-0 win over Rutgers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when Bardes scored the lone goal in the match in the 89th minute. For the season, she scored five goals, led the circuit with eight assists and ranked third in the conference with 18 points. The Montvale, NJ product earned first team All-NEC recognition, and was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-North Region and Scholar All-East Region teams. Bardes is a history major who maintains a 3.94 grade point average. She is a three-time member of both the NEC Academic and Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Rafter, who holds a 3.95 GPA and pursuing a degree in English, was named the Women's Cross Country Scholar-Athlete for the second straight year. The elite runner led the women's cross country team to consecutive Northeast Conference Championships and repeated as the NEC Most Outstanding Performer after winning the NEC individual championship with a time of 17:28.5 in the 5K race. The Danielson, CT native ran at the NCAA Regional Championsips and posted a new best time of 21:00.6. Rafter was named the NEC Athlete of the Week three times and posted a 4.0 GPA in the fall. She is just the eighth two-time champion in the league history and is a three-time All-NEC honoree. Rafter has now earned a spot on the NEC Academic and Commissioner's Honor Roll in each of her first three years.
All scholar-athlete award winners must have earned a minimum of 60 semester hours at their institution, maintained a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.20 and participated with distinction as a member of a varsity team.
The NEC announced also announced its Fall Academic Honor Roll across the season's sports, consisting of a record 1,108 student-athletes with a 3.20 or better grade point average. There were also an all-time high 391 student-athletes named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll, recognizing those superior student-athletes with a 3.75 or better grade point average.