CAA Names Winter Scholar-Athlete Award Winners
RICHMOND, Va. (April 9, 2013) – Five student-athletes who were among the best in their sports both athletically and academically have been honored by the Colonial Athletic Association as recipients of the CAA Scholar-Athlete Award for the winter sports season.
The conference honors one Scholar-Athlete in each of its 22 championship sports. Nominees for the award must be a starter or important reserve on their team and must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25. The winners were selected by a vote of the media relations directors at each CAA institution.
Earning Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors were William & Mary red-shirt junior Kyle Gaillard in men’s basketball, Delaware senior Elena Delle Donne in women’s basketball, William & Mary junior Andrew Strait in men’s swimming and diving, Towson junior Melanie Rowland in women’s swimming and diving and Hofstra senior Steve Bonnano in wrestling.
Here is a brief biographical sketch on the award winners:
Kyle Gaillard, Jr., Huntersville, N.C./Mecklenburg – William & Mary (men’s basketball)
A redshirt junior majoring in business finance, Gaillard was selected to the CAA All-Academic first team in men’s basketball in 2012-13. After being sidelined by an injury a year ago, the Tribe forward made 28 starts this season and ranked 18th in the CAA in rebounding with 5.3 per game. Gaillard scored double figures 15 times and contributed 8.5 points per game. He shot an impressive 54.2% from the floor, including 36.5% from three-point range. Gaillard tied a W&M record by going 7-for-7 from the floor against Richmond on November 28.
Elena Delle Donne, Sr., Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy – Delaware (women’s basketball)
A senior majoring in human services, Delle Donne was selected as the GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year in women’s basketball for the second year in row, becoming only the fourth person to receive that honor in consecutive seasons. She is a four-time member of the CAA All-Academic first team in women’s basketball and was honored as the CAA Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2011-12. On the court, Delle Donne received first-team All-America accolades for the second year in a row and was a finalist for several national Player of the Year awards. She was named CAA Player of the Year for the third time in 2013 and was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the CAA Tournament for the second time after leading the Blue Hens to the league title. Delle Donne ranked second in the nation in scoring with 26.0 points per game this season. She finished her career with 3,039 points, which is the most ever in the CAA and the fifth-highest total in NCAA history.
Andrew Strait, Jr., Henrico, Va./Trinity Episcopal – William & Mary (men’s swimming and diving)
A junior majoring in standard mathematics, Strait earns the Scholar-Athlete Award in men’s swimming for the second year in a row. He is a three-time recipient of the Provost’s Award (3.5+ GPA) at W&M and has also earned the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award three times. Strait was selected as the Co-Most Outstanding Swimmer at the 2013 CAA Championship after winning three events. He captured the 200 individual medley in a school-record time of 1:47.27, the 200 breaststroke in a school-record time of 1:58.93 and the 100 breaststroke after posting a school-record time of 54.10 in the preliminaries. He was also part of the Tribe’s 800 medley relay team that shattered the school record by five seconds. Strait broke W&M school records on nine occasions this season and won 29 individual races.
Melanie Rowland, Jr., Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills – Towson (women’s swimming and diving)
A junior who is double majoring in family science and psychology, Rowland earned honorable mention on the CSCAA Scholar All-America squad as a freshman. She’s also a three-time CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award recipient. In the pool, Rowland compiled 49 points to help lead Towson to the 2013 CAA Championship. She placed second in the 200 butterfly with an NCAA B cut time of 1:59.06, finished third in 100 butterfly with a time of 54.73 and was third in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:50.57. Rowland was also a member of Towson’s first-place 800 freestyle relay team. She was the first Towson woman to ever compete at the U.S. Olympic Swimming trials last summer in the 200 butterfly.
Steve Bonanno, Sr., Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh – Hofstra (wrestling)
A redshirt senior who graduated with a degree in accounting and is currently working on a Master’s in Business Administration, Bonanno earns the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year award in wrestling for the second year in a row. He was named to the Academic All-America At-Large second team in 2012 and has twice made the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic squad. He has been a Dean’s List member during every semester at Hofstra. On the mat, Bonanno has reached the finals at the CAA Championship during all four years and was the CAA champion at 125 pounds in 2012 and 2013. He qualified for the NCAA Championship four times and earned All-America accolades in 2012 after placing eighth. Bonanno had a 19-12 record this season and completed his career with a 103-50 mark.