Nine NIU student-athletes honored by Mid-Con

Nine NIU student-athletes—two from the golf team and seven from the soccer program—were named to the Mid-Continent Conference Academic All-Conference Teams, sponsored by True Value Hardware.

To qualify for the award, athletes must not only excel on the field, but also star in the classroom by having a grade-point average of 3.00 or higher on a 4.00 scale.

Senior Mike Briggs (Monmouth) and junior Mark Voeller (Whitewater, Wisc.) were among 13 golfers who earned all-league honors. Briggs, a finance major, carries a 3.31 grade point average while Voeller touts a 3.23 GPA as an economics major. The duo were part of NIU’s golf team which captured its third consecutive Mid-Con title this fall.

If having two teammates on the all-academic list is impressive, what is having seven players on the league’s classroom list? That’s the result of the work done by the NIU soccer team.

Nearly one-quarter of the 30-member roster comes from DeKalb as twins Markus and Karsten Roy (Bensenville/Fenton) join fellow seniors John Lechner (Waukegan/West) and Frank Sparacino (Elk Grove/Elk Grove Village), as well as redshirt freshman Ian Osharow (Lake Forest), Tim Prerost (Cary/Cary-Grove) and Maitrii Aung-Thwin (DeKalb) as all-academic selections.

The Roy identical twins, both corporate communications majors, carry nearly identical GPA’s of 3.19 (Karsten) and 3.20 (Markus) as well. Lechner’s work as an accounting major has earned him a 3.12 grade average, while Osharow has compiled a 3.60 mark as a pre-business major. Prerost’s 3.05 GPA comes as a pre-business major as well. Aung-Thwin captured team honors with a 3.67 mark as a history major, while Sparacino, a finance major, was recently honored for his efforts and 3.51 GPA through the “True Value of Being a Student-Athlete” for NIU.

The Roy twins and Sparacino also received First-Team All-Mid-Continent recognition for their athletic prowess as well. Karsten Roy headed the Huskies with 19 points (six goals, seven assists), while Markus Roy put together a 1.11 goals-against-average along with an 11-5-3 record in the nets. Sparacino’s five goals were third on the team, while his 11 points ranked fourth. The three also helped the Huskies to an unprecedented third consecutive season with a double-digit win total.

Only Western Illinois University could claim more all-academic selections in soccer (eight) than the Huskies.

All told, NIU finished tied with Valparaiso University and Eastern Illinois University for third in all-academic selections, behind WIU (13) and Wright State (10). However, NIU’s accomplishments are all the more impressive due to the fact that the Huskies do not compete in the league’s third fall sport—cross country. Each of the other schools fields a cross-country team.