IUP’s Cignetti named PSAC Pete Nevins Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year


LOCK HAVEN, Pa. – IUP women’s volleyball standout Natalie Cignetti added yet another award to her trophy case, as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) named her the 2017-18 Pete Nevins Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Tuesday afternoon.

(Photo courtesy of IUP Athletics)

The Pete Nevins Scholar-Athletes of the Year are presented to the top student-athletes who have achieved at least a 3.50 cumulative grade point average while competing at an outstanding athletic level. To be eligible for the Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, a student-athlete must have been recognized as a fall, winter or spring PSAC Top 10 award winner in the same academic year.

The award has been given by the PSAC office every year since 1991 and was renamed in 2007 to honor the legacy of former East Stroudsburg sports information director Pete Nevins, who served at ESU for 33 years. Nevins was one of the most decorated sports information directors in the country and since his passing in 2007 has had multiple awards named in his honor.

Cignetti becomes the fifth overall and first IUP recipient of this honor since women’s volleyball student-athlete Laura Hall went back-to-back in 2002 and 2003. Molly Carr (women’s basketball and softball) also won the award twice in 1998 and 1999.

Cignetti graduated summa cum laude in May with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average as a natural science major with a concentration in pre-med. She also double minored in chemistry and studio art.

Cignetti put together one of the best seasons in IUP women’s volleyball program history, earning honorable mention All-American honors in leading the Crimson Hawks to a PSAC Southwest Division title as a senior. She was a consensus All-Atlantic Region selection, the 2017 PSAC Athlete of the Year, and finished as the league leader in kills (488), kills per set (4.28), points (546.5) and points per set (4.79).

Her points per set and kills per set numbers ranked 14th and 17th, respectively, in Division II.

Cignetti was a PSAC Fall Top 10 selection for the second time and earned second-team Academic All-America honors from CoSIDA after her 2017 season.

She was also named the IUP Women’s Athlete of the Year, Women’s Senior of the Year, and Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in the school’s annual Crimson & Gray Awards.

Cignetti has been accepted to Wake Forest School of Medicine and will start this month.

SLIPPERY ROCK’S MARTIN NAMED NEVINS MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Slippery Rock University football standout Marcus Martin earned the highest academic honor the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference awards each year when he was named the PSAC Pete Nevins Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the league office Tuesday afternoon.

(Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock University Athletics)

The Pete Nevins Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor is awarded annually to one male and one female student-athlete that performed exceptionally well in the classroom and in their field of competition. In order to be eligible, a student-athlete must be named to one of the PSAC Top 10 teams during the year, maintain above a 3.50 cumulative GPA and must be at least a sophomore in academic standing.

The award has been given by the PSAC office every year since 1991 and was renamed in 2007 to honor the legacy of former East Stroudsburg University sports information director, Pete Nevins, who served at ESU for 33 years. Nevins was one of the most decorated sports information directors in the country and since his passing in 2007 has had multiple awards named in his honor.

Martin was one of the most dominant defensive ends in college football last season. He led the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss, finishing with 15.5 sacks and 26.5 TFL, respectively, in just 11 games. The senior also recorded 82 total tackles, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Martin broke the NCAA all-time sack record for players from any level, finishing his career with 56.0 sacks. He also broke the all-time NCAA Division II record for tackles for loss with 92.5. The next highest numbers ever recorded by a Division II player were 46.5 sacks and 77.0 tackles for loss.

In the classroom, Martin was just as impressive. He was the only Division II representative in the 13-member National Scholar-Athlete Class presented by the National Football Foundation this fall, for which he received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. Martin was also named a CoSIDA Academic All-American for the third time, becoming the first SRU football player to ever accomplish such a feat. He graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in safety management and a minor in business administration with above a 3.5 cumulative GPA.

The Pete Nevins Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor caps off a historic college career for Martin that has seen one of the most dominant athletes to ever play at Slippery Rock receive virtually every award imaginable.

As a senior, Martin was named the NCAA Division II Defensive Player of the Year as well as a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, the Associated Press and the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association. He was also named the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year. Martin became the first Division II player to ever be named a national finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, presented annually to the top defensive end in college football. He also became the first defensive player in 10 years to be named a national finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy and finished third in the voting, marking the second-highest finish for a defensive player in the history of the award.

In addition to those national honors, Martin was named the PSAC West and Super Region One Defensive Player of the Year for a third consecutive season. Add those to the Freshman of the Year honors he won in 2014 and Martin is the only player in PSAC history to earn four straight major awards. He also became just the eighth player in PSAC history to be named a first-team All-PSAC player all four years of his career.

Martin shares the 2017-18 award with the female honoree, Indiana (Pa.) volleyball player Natalie Cignetti. Both Martin and Cignetti were named to the Fall PSAC Top 10 Team.

Martin becomes the 11th Slippery Rock student-athlete to ever win the honor. No other school has more than seven PSAC Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Martin is the third Rock football player to win the award all-time, joining Tim Kusniez (1999-00) and Dave Sabolcik (1997-98).

Tuesday’s announcement marks the third consecutive year that at least one Slippery Rock student-athlete has been named the PSAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In 2016-17, Sabrina Anderson and David Reinhardt were both bestowed with the honor with Anderson also earning the award in 2015-16.


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