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This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Bentley University has been fortunate to have some outstanding athletes over the years – students who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the fields of play. The latest examples: Alyssa Sliney '10 (Brewster, Mass.), Lorenzo Cava '10 (Quito, Ecuador) and Jared Kawadler '11 (Sharon, Mass.).
Sliney, a field hockey standout from 2006 to 2009, was selected as a top-30 honoree for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She was one of only 10 Division II athletes nationwide to be so recognized, and the only one from a Northeast-10 Conference institution. In addition, the four-time Division II All-American was named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team and designated co-Woman of the Year in the Northeast-10.
“Alyssa was always a player who led by example both on and off the field,” says coach Jessica King. “She takes pride in being the best she can be at everything she does, and was an outstanding teammate.”
Cava played only one year for Bentley after transferring from Lynn University in Florida, but he made a mark as a member of the Falcon men’s tennis team. He joins Sliney in collecting Academic All-America honors, becoming the first Bentley first-team selection in five years. Featured in Sports Illustrated, he also earned the Division II National Arthur Ashe Jr. Award from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for leadership and sportsmanship.
“Lorenzo was an outstanding player and a great leader who exemplifies sportsmanship,” says Bentley tennis coach Alex Wong. “He was an important part of our success.”
Offensive linemen generally don’t receive much recognition. But Jared Kawadler blocks that low-profile stereotype with authority. The three-year starter at center for the Falcons has been a leader on the gridiron while also distinguishing himself in the classroom. Entering his senior year, the Economics-Finance major had compiled an impressive 3.89 grade point average.
In September, Kawadler was one of 121 football players selected nationwide, from all divisions, as semifinalists for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy. While he did not advance to the next round, it was an achievement to be one of only 12 Division II players considered for what is considered the “Academic Heisman.”
Kawadler, a candidate for ESPN Academic All-America recognition this year, has earned Academic All-District honors three times. He was the 2009 recipient of the Northeast-10 Sport Excellence Award for football as the premier scholar–athlete among the conference’s football players.
“Jared is every college coach’s idea of a complete player,” says Bentley head football coach Thom Boerman. “He is a tough kid who plays way above his weight class. He dominates as a smallish center, sets the pace as a committed leader and captain, and excels in the classroom at a university with a rigorous academic climate.”
Producing student athletes such as these is a tribute to the Bentley athletics.
“Our athletes are students first and athletes second,” says Cindy Scott, assistant director of athletics. “That doesn’t mean we aren’t committed to being good or winning championships. It means that we are blessed with terrific young men and women who want to excel at all they do.”
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.