Villanova student-athletes continue to impress with high scoring and high marks
Villanova’s student-athletes not only stand out in their arena of competition, they continue to garner the highest accolades nationally and within the BIG EAST Conference for their success in the classroom.
In the latest set of data released by the NCAA, Villanova achieved a 98 percent Graduation Success Rate, its highest ever. This data measures the percentage of student-athletes who entered college on institutional aid between those years and graduated within six years. Twelve Villanova athletic programs—seven women’s and five men’s—posted a perfect 100 percent graduation success rate for the cohort that entered Villanova between 2011 and 2014.
“Overwhelmingly, Villanova student-athletes are high achieving in the classroom and in their sports. They are passionate, dedicated and driven,” says Jennifer Brophy, director of Academic Support for Athletics. “As athletes, they learn important skills such as discipline, work ethic, communication, teamwork, sportsmanship, time management and leadership. Those skills complement what they are learning in the classroom.”
The Office of Academic Support for Athletics offers a range of services and programs to support student athletes, including advising, tutoring and an alumni mentor program. Partnering with faculty and other academic resources on campus, the office provides each student-athlete with holistic support to help them achieve their goals.
In addition to the collective academic success of Villanova athletic programs, five student-athletes were recognized with 2020-21 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards—the highest number of Villanova student-athletes to receive the award in a single year. This prestigious honor is presented to one student-athlete from each of the 22 sports sponsored by the BIG EAST, recognizing academic credentials, athletic accolades or performances, and volunteer service to the community.
The winners from the Wildcats include seniors Collin Gillespie (Men’s Basketball), Lydia Olivere (Women’s Cross Country) and Ryan Henry (Softball); and graduate students Katie Comerford (Women’s Lacrosse) and Jadyn Anczarski (Men’s Outdoor Track and Field).
As of press time, the Men’s Basketball team was headed into the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the third time since 2016. Graduate students Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels were standouts during the tournament and throughout the season. Gillespie became the first student-athlete to sweep the BIG EAST’s major awards–Player of the Year, Scholar Athlete of the Year and Most Outstanding Player for the conference tournament—and Samuels was named Most Outstanding Player at the South Regional of the NCAA Tournament.
Junior forward Maddy Siegrist of Women’s Basketball was named BIG EAST Player of the Year and Denise Dillon ’96 CLAS was Coach of the Year, leading the team to the BIG EAST tournament final and to its first NCAA Tournament bid in four years.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Junior Haftu Strintzos ran the fastest cross country 10K in Villanova history en route to a top 10 individual finish at the 2021 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Freshman Cross Country runner Sadie Sigfstead dominated at the Canadian Cross Country Championships, winning the gold medal for the Women’s U20 race.
For the first time in a decade, Villanova’s Football team clinched the Colonial Athletic Association title and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division I Championship Subdivision playoffs. Senior Christian Benford, graduate student Forrest Rhyne and senior Michael Corbi of the Football team were named to the Associated Press FCS All-America Team.
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
In the first two meets of her career as a Wildcat, Indoor Track and Field’s Sade Meeks, a graduate student, shattered a 20-year-old school record in the weight throw with a personal best of 20.88 meters at the Villanova Invitational in Staten Island, N.Y.
Men’s Soccer earned the program’s second NCAA Tournament bid and its first-ever NCAA Tournament win with a victory over Vermont in the first round.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING
The Women’s Swimming and Diving team earned its ninth consecutive BIG EAST title, winning 14 events throughout the tournament. Senior Kelly Montesi was named the Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer for the third time in four years and qualified for the NCAA Division I Championships.