FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WINTHROP, Mass. – Fresh off her tremendous showing at the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships, Simmons College sophomore Aine Scholand has been selected the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
Simmons head coach Mindy Williams was voted the GNAC Women's Coach of the Year for the sixth straight season and seventh time overall after the Sharks claimed their 14th straight GNAC Championship this past winter. The Sharks also swept the major award honors as freshman Maria Soraghan was selected as the GNAC Women's Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Year.
On the men's side, Regis (Mass.) senior Nick Rainville has been chosen as the GNAC Men's Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year, while Norwich University freshman Joseph Clark received Men's Rookie of the Year accolades. Regis (Mass.) head coach James Sweeney earned GNAC Men's Coach of the Year.
To view the complete major award winners and All-Sportsmanship Team selections, please see below.
For Scholand, she was the first-ever NCAA Qualifier for Simmons. The Albuquerque, N.M. and Evansville transfer placed 11th in the 500 (4:56.76) and 2nd in the 1650 (16:51.01), earning All-American status and leading Simmons to a 26th-place overall finish with 23 points. At the GNAC Championship back in December, she finished 1st in the 500, 200 Free and 1650, setting meet records in the 1650 and 500. At the NEISDA Championship in February, she finished 1st in the 500, 1000 and 1650, setting meet record in all three events, and earning the "Swimmer of the Meet" award.
For Williams, the 10th-year head coach received NEISDA Coach of the Year honors for the second straight year and the third time in five years after she guided the Sharks to their first-ever NEISDA Championship.
Soraghan, who hails from East Hempstead, N.H., finished 1st in the 50 and 100 Free events, and 2nd in the 200 Free and 50 Back at the GNAC Championship. She also swam on a pair of winning relays for Simmons. At the NEISDA Championship, Maria scored 87 points for Simmons, and finished 1st in the 200 Free, 2nd in the 100 Free, and 3rd in the 500 Free.
A Reading, Mass. native, Regis' Rainville was a five-time GNAC Athlete of the Week selection and won three of his four individual events (100 free, 200 fly, 100 fly, 50 fly) at the GNAC Championship in December. At the NEISDA Championships, he won the 100 fly by nearly two seconds and set a program record with a top finish in the 100 free.
Clark earned All-GNAC recognition in the 200 Backstroke, 400 Medley Relay, 200 Medley Relay at the GNAC Championship. The Acworth, Ga. native also had top-3 finishes at GNACs in the 500 Freestyle, 1650 Freestyle, 100 Backstroke, making a profound impact in helping Norwich capture the GNAC Championship and a fourth-place finish at NEISDAs.
Sweeney, who has been at the helm of the Pride's swimming & diving programs since 2012, led teh Regis men to a second-place finish at the GNAC Championships and helped guide Rainville and the team to a strong showing at NEISDAs. Sweeney was a four-time NCAA All-American and three-time Big Ten Champion in his time at Indiana University.
Inmfo Provided by Simmons, Regis, Norwich Athletics Communications.
Women's Athlete of the Year - Aine Scholand, Simmons
Men's Athlete of the Year - Nick Rainville, Regis (Mass.)
Women's Rookie of the Year - Maria Soraghan, Simmons
Men's Rookie of the Year - Joseph Clark, Norwich
Women's Coach of the Year - Mindy Williams, Simmons
Men's Coach of the Year - James Sweeney, Regis (Mass.)
Women's Institutional Sportsmanship Award - Saint Joseph (Conn.)
Men's Institutional Sportsmanship Award - Regis (Mass.)
GNAC Swimming & Diving All-Sportsmanship Team
Bethany Fennessey & Garrett Scahill, Colby-Sawyer
Aislinn Carrier & Tony Luciani, Elms
Kassidy Harris & Alex Miles, Husson
Katie Sterling & Will Micali, Norwich
Ashlyn DeRoche & Michael Bruno, Regis (Mass.)
Gabriella Alberino, Saint Joseph (Conn.)
Hailey Bouyea & Zack Gryskwicz, Saint Joseph's of Maine
Michaela Morris, Simmons
Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.
– #TheGNAC –