BENNINGTON, Vt. – The 2016-17 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District™ At-Large Women's Team was released on Thursday with Southern Vermont College women's lacrosse senior captain Mel Orrell (Gloucester, Mass.) garnering a spot on the District 1 Team for NCAA Division III.
Orrell completed her coursework in SVC's Radiologic Sciences program this spring while—once again—being one of the best women's lacrosse players in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC).
The Academic All-District Teams are part of CoSIDA's Academic All-America® program which recognizes the top student-athletes from each region, sport and division around the country—academic success being imperative while strong athletic performance is also highly considered.
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).
Orrell's extensive list of academic and athletic achievements throughout her career at Southern Vermont made way for her to be just the second-ever Mountaineer to collect a CoSIDA Academic All-District honor (Karina Meza – Women's Soccer, 2015). Orrell was named to the Women's At-Large District 1 Team for DIII after posting a cumulative grade point average of 3.99 following the fall semester (nominations were due before the completion of the spring term).
While CoSIDA selects sport-specific lists for soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, cross country and track & field, the women's at-large team consists of student-athletes who participated in beach volleyball, bowling, crew/rowing, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming, tennis, and water polo; only 13 nominees of the latter grouping were selected for the NCAA DIII District 1 Women's At-Large Team.
The announcement of this year's At-Large Teams was sent on Thursday to nominating sports information directors just hours before Southern Vermont's Lead Collar Ceremony—an annual event which celebrates the seniors in the Radiologic Sciences program who have passed their final exams and will receive their bachelor's degree in the major. It was then announced on Friday that Orrell will be the salutatorian for the SVC Class of 2017 which will graduate on Saturday.
Linda Lippacher, SVC's Program Director of Radiologic Sciences and Orrell's academic advisor, said, "Mel is the most dedicated goofball ever; if you saw her in her radiation safety video as Marie Curie—you would understand. She was always laughing; she kept everyone else laughing—but on-task as well."
Outside of the classroom, Orrell was a standout member of the Southern Vermont community and a stellar athlete on the pitch. She was named to the All-NECC First Team in both 2016 and 2017 while being selected as the NECC Player of the Year in '16.
She was a three-time NECC Player of the Week during her career and scored 100 collegiate goals in just 26 games; she ended her SVC tenure as the school leader in goals, assists, and total points. When Orrell wasn't playing or studying, she spent time as a resident advisor and admissions ambassador on the SVC campus.
"Mel is one of those players who is a coach's dream," said third-year SVC head coach Thomas L. Otero. "She is a dedicated, motivated, and highly-skilled athlete who is a game changer. Teammates follow her, opponents want to be like her, and coaches wish they had more players like her. Her athletic skills take a backseat to her academic skills—which is what makes her so special. Her combination of time-management, tireless effort on the field, and her drive to be successful at the top—academically—put her in a class of her own. She has been a pleasure to coach and an even better person to get to know."
The Academic All-District™ teams are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. This is the sixth 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); 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.
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.
NCAA DIVISION III
District 1 (MA, ME, NH, VT)
Courtesy of Southern Vermont Athletics Communications.