Tigers collect many offseason athletic and academic honors

While the fall sports season has just begun, the Trinity University sports teams have already garnered many prestigious awards for their athletics and academics.

Five Trinity University Tigers were elected to the 25th Annual USA College Football Division III Preseason All-American Team. The Preseason All-American Team selects the top Division III athletes and recognizes them as the players to watch for the upcoming season. Among the athletes chosen were junior offensive lineman Conner Cox, junior wide receiver Matthew Kennemer, junior defensive lineman Tomy Boboy and senior defensive backs Chris Hobbs and Von’darrick Jones. Jones, who is receiving this honor for the second year in a row, is excited to begin the final season of his football career and is training hard every day in hopes of having his name on the All-American Team list at the end of the season in addition to the preseason roster. Jones and his teammates are also striving to bring a National Championship trophy to Trinity for the 2013 season.

“Awards will come if my teammates and I take care of business each and every day and get wins on Saturdays,” Jones said.

Senior wide receiver Weslyn Wagner also collected another honor for the football team when he was nominated for the 2013 Allstate American Football Coaches Association’s Good Works Team. Wagner is part of a select group of players from all divisions nominated for the Allstate Insurance Company and AFCA honor. A national voting panel will select the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team in late September and will base the decision on contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football student-athletes across the nation.

Wagner and his Tiger teammates volunteer at Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children in San Antonio, mentoring the students and coaching them in physical education activities.

The Trinity University Tigers volleyball program earned an American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award. The award honors teams that display excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale. Trinity volleyball has had 11 consecutive semesters with an average GPA higher than that of all women at Trinity.

Trinity volleyball is led by head coach Julie Jenkins, who is set to begin her 29th season for the university. Coach Jenkins has won more than 750 matches during her coaching career.

“Placing equal emphasis on both academics and on athletics is what NCAA Division III athletics is all about. We truly enroll student athletes, not just athletes. Our players are attracted to Trinity because of the strength of our academics and the tradition of success of our volleyball program,” Jenkins said.  “As coaches we are training our athletes to be successful on the court but we are also preparing them to be highly successful in their careers.  Our student athletes are typically our very best students at Trinity.”

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association recognized the men and women’s tennis team after their stellar championship season. Alumnus Thavindra Ekanayake (’13) and junior MacKenzie Knoop won the ITA Regional Doubles Championship last fall. The duo advanced to the National Small College Championships after winning the regional title. It marked the second time each player was given All-America status.

For the men’s team, juniors Aaron Skinner and Jordan Mayer also earned All-America honors. In addition, Skinner and Mayer were named ITA Scholar-Athletes, a title reserved for players with at least a 3.50 GPA. Trinity’s men also garnered ITA All-Academic Team honors, for squads who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.20.

Skinner advanced to the NCAA Division III Singles semifinals in May, and finished the season ranked fourth in the nation. He was also named SCAC player of the year. “I was excited that all of my hard work paid off and honored that I could represent Trinity,” Skinner said.

The New England Collegiate Baseball League honored senior shortstop Christian Muscarello by selecting him to be a part of the All-NECBL Second Team. He batted .378 in the month of June””helping lead Ocean State Waves to the playoffs””and was a starter for the East in the 20th NECBL All-Star Game in July at Laconia, NH.

As a whole, the Tiger athletics program finished off the SCAC spring season with six championships to earn the President’s Trophy (the “Bell”), which is awarded to the league’s top overall program during the school year. This is the second straight SCAC President’s Trophy the university has received.