Aney, Nelson Receive DIIICA Regional Student-Athletes of the Year Honors Posted on August 14th, 2023 by

By BJ Pickard, MIAC

SUWANEE, Ga. – Gustavus Adolphus College men’s tennis student-athlete Nick Aney and women’s track & field student-athlete Birgen Nelson were among 20 individuals from around NCAA Division III to be recognized as regional winners of the second annual Division III Commissioner’s Association (DIIICA) Student-Athlete of the Year awards, the organization announced on Monday.

Aney and Nelson earned their spots on the ballot as the MIAC’s nominees for the D3CA awards earlier this month. Each of the regional winners will advance to the national ballot for consideration for 2022-23 D3CA Men’s Sport Student-Athlete of the Year and Women’s Sport Student-Athlete of the Year. Ryan Beard of Westminster (Pa.) College and Eliza Beaudin of Elmira (N.Y.) College were recognized as the inaugural recipients of the national awards last year.

Conferences were permitted to submit two nominations for each award if at least one of the nominations was an international student/ethnic minority. Graduating seniors were the only student-athletes eligible for this award.

Selection criteria for the awards included considerations based on academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership and a personal statement submitted by each nominee.

Voting was conducted by the commissioners within each of the ten regions, with the top male and female honoree recognized as finalists for the Awards Committee to select the Division III Commissioner’s Association Men’s Sport and Women’s Sport Student-Athlete of the Year.

The two national winners will be announced later this month.


Region I

Men’s Sport                Nathaniel Berry, Bates College (Swimming & Diving) – NESCAC
Women’s Sport           Elise Morris, Middlebury College (Soccer) – NESCAC

Region II

Men’s Sport                Matthew Kearney, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cross Country/Track & Field) – NEWMAC
Women’s Sport           Sophia Slovenski, University of Southern Maine (Track & Field) – LEC

Region III

Men’s Sport                Noah Campanelli, St. John Fisher University (Baseball) – Empire 8
Women’s Sport          Karson Saunders, Union (N.Y.) College (Softball) – Liberty

Region IV

Men’s Sport                Hunter Gutierrez, Stevens Institute of Technology (Wrestling) – MAC Freedom
Women’s Sport           Kristiina Castagnola, Rowan University (Field Hockey) – NJAC

Region V

Men’s Sport                Mason Nissley, Messiah University (Volleyball) – MAC Commonwealth
Women’s Sport           Abby Birk, Johns Hopkins University (Field Hockey) – Centennial

Region VI

Men’s Sport                Kasey Draper, Roanoke College (Basketball) – ODAC
Women’s Sport           Tess Muneses, Washington & Lee University (Field Hockey) – ODAC

Region VII

Men’s Sport                Tyler Horvat, Washington & Jefferson College (Baseball) – PAC
Women’s Sport           Isabelle Hoover, College of Wooster (Cross Country/Track & Field) – NCAC

Region VIII

Men’s Sport                Nick Kowalczyk, Dominican University (Soccer) – NACC
Women’s Sport           Madison Kellione, Transylvania University (Basketball) – HCAC

Region IX

Men’s Sport                Nick Aney, Gustavus Adolphus College (Tennis) – MIAC
Women’s Sport           Birgen Nelson, Gustavus Adolphus College (Track & Field) – MIAC

Region X

Men’s Sport        Josh Angle, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges (Basketball) – SCIAC
Women’s Sport     Ashley Croft, East Texas Baptist University (Softball) – ASC

About the DIIICA
The Division III Commissioners Association became a stand-alone organization in January 1992, after previously serving as a combined group with the Division II Commissioners Association. The association is comprised of 43 NCAA Division III conferences, representing over 440 public and private institutions. The purpose of the DIIICA is to empower commissioners to effectively lead their conferences and positively impact Division III intercollegiate athletics by identifying challenges, developing solutions, and taking collective action that reflects the conference perspective.


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