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High Scorers, Everywhere

Great Danes named the top scholar-athletes for their sports in the America East Conference this year are, left to right, Laini Leindecker of volleyball, David Nichols of basketball, Paula Heuser of field hockey and Kyle McClancy of lacrosse. (Photos courtesy of UAlbany Athletics)

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 3, 2017) — The numbers and accolades add up to another year of academic excellence for Great Dane athletes in 2016-17.

Over the course of the year, four UAlbany players were named American East (AE) Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year, signifying the best scholar-athlete in their sport among the seven schools in the conference. They were Paula Heuser in field hockey, Laini Leindecker in volleyball, David Nichols in men’s basketball and Kyle McClancy in men’s lacrosse.

The four designations tied New Hampshire for the most achieved by a school among the conference’s 17 sports.

Heuser, a senior last season, finished her UAlbany career as one of the truly outstanding scholar-athletes in the University’s history. The 2014-15 Honda Award winner as the top field hockey player in the nation, she was named a first team All-American for the third straight year and AE’s top midfielder for four straight years — a conference record.

Academically over the past three years, the business administration major won the AE scholar-athlete prize for field hockey and was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association’s All-Academic Team. On June 9, Heuser made second team on the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) Women’s All-Academic squad.

Leindecker, a senior human biology major, was a repeat AE Scholar Athlete selection in volleyball and three-time AE All-Academic pick, to go along with her outstanding athletic credentials: a three-time AE All-Conference selection as outside hitter.

Nichols, a 2016-17 sophomore communications major, was first team all-conference and a member of the AE conference tournament’s all-championship team at point guard. Academically, he was both an AE all-academic and CoSIDA Academic All-District selection.

McClancy, a junior business major, was a first team all-AE conference at midfielder and an honorable mention All-American. Academically, he repeated as AE Scholar Athlete of the Year in men’s lacrosse. He, along with fellow all-AE conference midfielder Adam Osika, were honored as United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division I Scholar All-Americans.

The duo helped Scott Marr’s squad become the AE All-Academic Team Champion in men’s lacrosse.

“I am so proud of the dedication and hard work of our student-athletes in the classroom, and would like to congratulate each of them on their academic success and accomplishments,” said Lori Friel, associate athletic director for academic services.

In addition to the scholar-athlete of the year designations, UAlbany had several AE 2016-17 Presidential Scholar-Athletes, graduating seniors who finished with a minimum 3.75 GPA. They were:

  • Alexa Schneider and Caitlyn Paltsios of women's soccer. Paltsios, a psychology major, and Schneider, a human biology major, were first and second team all-conference midfielders, respectively.
  • Adeyeye of women's track & field and cross country. The chemistry major holds the UAlbany record in the indoor pentathlon and ranks third in program history in the outdoor heptathlon.
  • Heuser, Maxi Primus and Taylor Schwoyer of field hockey. Primus, a first team all Northeast region, and Schwoyer graduated with degrees in psychology and human biology, respectively.

Adeyeye, Leindecker and Paltsios joined softball’s Elizabeth Snow as 2016-17 Chancellor’s Scholar Athletic Award winners. Snow, a senior human biology major, was AE’s Player of the Year this season — UAlbany’s first in the sport since 2009. She was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Softball Team for the second year in row.

America East also hands out Elite 17 awards each year to athletes with the highest grade-point average that competed in each of the America East’s 17 championships final games. Michael Rowley of men’s basketball and Josh Egan of men’s lacrosse earned the honors this year.

Last week, another accolade arrived for Leindecker and Adeyeye, when they were nominated for the NCAA’s 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year, signifying seniors who excelled throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership. The national winner will be announced on Oct. 22.

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