Congratulations to one of our Peer Mentors from Southern Vermont College! Karina Meza Named to CoSIDA Academic All-District NCAA DIII Women’s Soccer District 1 Team

Southern Vermont’s Karina Meza Named to CoSIDA Academic All-District NCAA DIII Women’s Soccer District 1 Team 

BENNINGTON, Vt. — On Thursday, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced their 2015 Academic All-District™ Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams to recognize top student-athletes around the country for their excellence athletically and academically with Southern Vermont College senior defender Karina Meza (Los Angeles, Calif.) being included on the NCAA Division III District 1 Women’s First Team.

Meza’s honor is the first ever of its kind for any Southern Vermont student-athlete. The NCAA DIII District 1 Team is comprised of institutions in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. To be nominated, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at his or her current institution. Nominated athletes must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s games at the position listed on the nomination form (where applicable). No student-athlete is eligible until he or she has completed one full calendar year at his or her current institution and has reached sophomore athletic eligibility. In the cases of transfers, graduate students and two-year college graduates, the student-athlete must have completed one full calendar year at the nominating institution to be eligible.

Meza has helped anchor a Southern Vermont defense that has allowed just 1.33 goals per game to date with a combined seven team shutouts. From the defense, she has scored three goals and registered one assist; all three of her scores have been game-winning goals with two being in 1-0 wins. The psychology major, who finished the 2014-15 academic year with a cumulative grade point average of 3.93, was named to the 2014 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) All-Academic Team and is in line to also be on this year’s squad. She has started in all 16 of the Mountaineers’ games this season, helping them to tally the team’s best-ever record in the NECC and its fifth straight playoff appearance. She was recently named the NECC Player of the Week for the first time in her career back on October 12.

“The first thing that comes to my mind is that, ‘It’s always great to get an academic award, whether it’s for a team or an individual,’” commented fifth year SVC head coach Michael Zauzig. “They’re student-athletes, and ‘student’ does come first. They’re here to get a degree and prepare themselves for the next step in their lives. Karina, someone who’s either looking at going to the Peace Corp or grad school, has been committed to academics since the first day that she got here. I think it speaks volumes about Karina as a student to be the first person at SVC to get this honor. It additionally sets a precedent and a challenge to her teammates to see who can match it; it continues an expectation of academic excellence.”

Current members of CoSIDA are able to nominate players from their institution in the sponsored sports, and those same members are then eligible to vote on the district level. Only members of the Academic All-America® Committee and the CoSIDA Board of Directors and staff are able to vote at the national level to determine the CoSIDA Academic All-America® teams.

The Academic All-District™ teams are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. This is the fifth year of the expanded Academic All-America® program as CoSIDA moved from recognizing a University Division (Division I) and a College Division (all non-Division I) and has doubled the number of scholar-athletes honored. The expanded teams include NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III participants, while the College Division Academic All-America® Team combines NAIA, Canadian and two-year schools. First-team Academic All-District™ honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.