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Courtesy: CAA
William & Mary's Taylor Hodge

CAA Announces Fall Scholar-Athlete Award Winners

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 12/18/2013
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RICHMOND, Va. (December 18, 2013) – Six 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 fall sports season.

Earning Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors were Northeastern sophomore Wesley Gallagher in men’s cross country, William & Mary sophomore Emily Stites in women’s cross country, William & Mary senior Taylor Hodge in field hockey, Hofstra senior Chris Griebsch in men’s soccer, Delaware junior Allegra Gray in women’s soccer and UNCW senior Christi Laite in volleyball.

The conference honors one Scholar-Athlete in each of its 21 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.

All six fall sports honorees were first-team All-CAA selections in their various sports this season and each has a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

Here is a brief biographical sketch on the award winners:

Wesley Gallagher, So., Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke – Northeastern (men’s cross country)

A sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, Gallagher made the Dean’s List in the 2013 spring semester and is a two-time CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award recipient. He was selected as the CAA men’s cross country Athlete of the Year in 2013 following one of the best seasons in school history. Gallagher was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the 2013 CAA Cross Country Championship after capturing the individual title with a time of 24:42.02 over the 8K course. He posted a 24th-place finish at the NCAA Northeast Regionals and became just the third runner in school history to earn an invitation to the NCAA Cross Country Championship, where he placed 148th in a field of 253 runners. Gallagher also won the individual title at the Nassaney Invitational this fall and was third at the New England Championships.

Emily Stites, So., Wyoming, Ohio/Wyoming – William & Mary (women’s cross country)

A sophomore majoring in marketing, Stites received William & Mary’s Provost Award for achieving a grade point average over 3.5. She was chosen to the USTFCCCA All-Academic team in cross country and track in 2012-13. Stites became the first W&M athlete to be honored as the USTFCCCA Southeast Region Women’s Runner of the Year after a first-place finish at the NCAA Southeast Regionals. Her time of 19:57.5 on the 6K course was 10 seconds ahead of the closest competitor and shattered the previous course record. Stites was the runner-up at the 2013 CAA Cross Country Championship and finished 46th at the NCAA Cross Country championship to help the Tribe earn a 12th-place team finish. She also placed second in the Spider Alumni Open, third at the Panorama Farms Invitational and eighth at the Pre-Nationals.

Taylor Hodge, Sr., Louisville, Ky./Louisville Collegiate – William & Mary (field hockey)

A senior majoring in kinesiology (pre-med), Hodge was chosen to the NFHCA All-Academic squad. She has earned the W&M Provost Award (3.5+ GPA) for the past three years, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and has already been accepted into medical school next year. On the field, Hodge received first-team All-CAA honors this season after recording 22 points on 10 goals and two assists. She was the first Tribe player since 2004 to post double-digit goals in a season. Hodge tallied game-winning goals against Towson and 18th-ranked American and also scored in W&M’s upset of 5th-ranked Virginia. She was also named to the CAA All-Academic team.

Chris Griebsch, Sr., Dessau-Rosslau, Germany/Jena– Hofstra (men’s soccer)

A senior majoring in international business, Griebsch is a two-time recipient of the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award. On the field, he became the first Hofstra player since 2006 to earn CAA men’s soccer Player of the Year accolades. The Pride forward led the league in assists for the third year in a row with eight and also contributed seven goals for 22 points. Griebsch, who is Hofstra’s all-time assists leader with 32, was chosen to the All-South Atlantic Region second team and was a finalist for the Soccer News Net College Boot Award, which recognizes the men’s college national player of the year. He is a three-time All-CAA honoree.

Allegra Gray, Jr., West Chester, Pa./Unionville – Delaware (women’s soccer)

A junior majoring in statistics and minoring in economics, Gray is a three-time CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award recipient who was a member of the CAA All-Academic women’s soccer team in 2013. She is a representative for Delaware’s SAAC group, works as a peer mentor, serves on UD’s Appellate Board of Student Conduct and is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. On the field, Gray was selected to the All-CAA first team for the second year in a row in 2013. She was also named to the All-Mid-Atlantic region third team. A defensive-minded midfielder, Gray helped the Blue Hens record 19 shutouts over the past three seasons. She served as a team captain this season.

Christi Laite, Sr., Severna Park, Md./Severna Park – UNCW (volleyball)

A senior majoring in biology, Laite is a three-time CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award and Golden Seahawk Award recipient. She has made the Dean’s List four times and is a member of the University’s Honors Program. On the court, Laite became the first UNCW volleyball player since 1993 to earn first-team All-CAA accolades. She ranked among the top six in the CAA in hitting percentage (.266), kills per set (3.21 kps) and points per set (3.75). Her efforts helped the Seahawks post their first winning season since 1996 and earn a berth in the CAA Championship for the first time since 2000. Laite was chosen to the CAA All-Tournament team and also earned All-Tournament honors at three regular-season events. She’s one of only five players in school history to record over 1,000 kills in a career.