Penn State Schuylkill athletics earn 2021-22 Champions of Character designation

Graphic with NAIA Logo and words reading, "Five-star institution" with five silver stars and "2021-2022 SILVER" written below

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics conference has designated Penn State Schuylkill as a Champions of Character Five-Star Institution in the silver category for the 2021-22 academic year. The organization also awarded more than a dozen student-athletes its Scholar Athletes award, and seven of Penn State Schuylkill’s 11 athletics teams received the conference’s Scholar Team award.

Credit: Penn State

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics recently released its National Award Day winners for the 2021-22 academic year, celebrating Penn State Schuylkill as a silver Champions of Character Five-Star Institution. The conference also awarded 14 Penn State Schuylkill students its Scholar Athletes Award, and seven of the campus’ athletics teams received the Scholar Team Award.

Champions of Character

The Champions of Character Five-Star Institution Award rates athletics programs by assigning points based on character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, and character recognition and promotion. Institutions are further awarded based on exceptional student-athlete grade-point averages and by having minimal to no ejections during competition for that academic year.

This year, Penn State Schuylkill was designated a silver-level Champions of Character Five-Star Institution, surpassing the campus’s previous bronze designations.

Scholar-Athlete Awards

The Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete Award recognizes excellence in the classroom among NAIA student-athletes who are juniors or seniors in good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students must have attended two full years as non-transfer students or one full year as transfers and must participate in sports eligible for NAIA postseason competition.

Men’s Baseball

  • Sean Duffy, fourth-year
  • Kyle Ferguson, third-year
  • Jacob Leininger, fourth-year
  • Patrick Ryan, fourth-year
  • Owen Zimmerman, third-year

Men’s Basketball

  • Lucas Centola E Silva, third-year

Women’s Softball

  • Caitlyn Goggin, fourth-year
  • Emily Maher, fourth-year
  • Kristina McConnell, fourth-year
  • Samantha Palaca, fourth-year
  • Sierra Santarsiero, fourth-year
  • Melanie Torrales, third-year

Women’s Soccer

  • Kelsey Atkinson, fourth-year
  • Rachel Wiest, third-year

Scholar-Team Awards

Seven of Penn State Schuylkill’s athletic teams were recognized as NAIA Scholar Teams, based upon the team’s average GPA of 3.0 or higher over the 2021-22 academic year.

  • Women’s Cross Country – 3.89 
  • Women’s Softball – 3.58
  • Women’s Soccer – 3.27
  • Men’s Baseball – 3.23
  • Men’s Basketball – 3.04
  • Women’s Basketball – 3.03
  • Women’s Volleyball – 3.02

“I’m so proud of our student-athletes’ hard work in the classroom and on the field/court,” said Bryan M. Valentine, director of student affairs and athletics. “They’re role models, mentors, advocates and leaders. Our student-athletes represent themselves and their university in a manner that makes all of us proud.”

Penn State Schuylkill is the only Penn State campus with membership in NAIA’s Continental Athletic Conference. Learn more about athletics at Penn State Schuylkill.