Pittsburgh, Pa. -- Tara Maxwell of the Robert Morris University women's track and field team was selected as the 2008-09 Northeast Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Maxwell (Butler, Pa./Butler) shares the honor with Kathleen Henry of the Sacred Heart cross country and track and field squad and Erin Reifsteck of the Saint Francis (Pa.) field hockey program, as the trio each finished with a cumulative GPA of 3.99 throughout their four years. Earning the NEC Male Student-Athlete of the Year was Benjamin Evenden of the Monmouth's men's tennis program, who also compiled a 3.99 cumulative GPA.
A manufacturing engineering major, Maxwell earned All-NEC Second Team honors at the 2009 NEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in West Long Branch, N.J., in the discus, posting a throw of 130'09", a season high. Maxwell also scored in the shot put, posting a toss of 37'6.50" to finish eighth.
The NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, sponsored by the league's Faculty Athletic Representatives, is bestowed upon the NEC male and female student-athlete who have exhausted their eligibility, graduated and have posted the highest GPA in the conference at the conclusion of the academic year.
Maxwell is the second RMU female student-athlete in three years to be honored with the award, as former volleyball player Lisa Jaszka (2003-06) was honored with the inaugural NEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2007.
In addition, a pair of RMU athletic programs were recognized for compiling the highest team GPA's among NEC institutions during the 2008-09 academic year. The Colonial softball team posted a league-high GPA of 3.63, while the RMU women's tennis team compiled a 3.52 GPA. Among its 19 sports that compete in the NEC, RMU finished with a combined GPA of 3.116.
In all, 15 of RMU's 23 intercollegiate programs finished with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the 2008-09 academic year, while nearly 65 percent of all of RMU's 550 student-athletes posted a 3.0 or higher GPA.