IWLCA Names 2019 Scholar-Athletes of the Year
The IWLCA named its 2019 Scholar-Athletes of the Year, honoring the top student-athlete in the NCAA Division I, II, and III and the NAIA. Nominees for the award must be a senior or graduate student, have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA, and be a starter or significant reserve for their team.
Division I – Anne Richter, United States Naval Academy
The 2019 IWLCA Division I Scholar-Athlete of the Year is Anne Richter, a recent graduate of the Naval Academy. Richter, a First Team CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, is a mechanical engineering major who boasts a cumulative 4.00 GPA. She is a four-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll, while being selected to the 2019 Academic All-Patriot League team, as well as earning Superintendent's List and Commandant's List distinction in all eight of her semesters at the Academy. Earlier this year, Richter was named a Marshall Scholar, one of the most prestigious honors available to undergraduate students in the U.S. Richter is one of 29 midshipmen in the class of 2019 selected to be Bowman scholars and is currently conducting independent research with nuclear applications. The defender started 20 games this past season, recording 29 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers for the 16-5 Mids, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2019.
Anne Richter, photo courtesy of Navy Athletics.
Division II – Allison Popelar, University of Tampa
The 2019 IWLCA Division II Scholar-Athlete of the Year is Allison Popelar, who recently graduated with a degree in biology. Popelar was named the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll all four years and is a 2-year award winner of the ADA Division II Academic Award (16-17 & 17-18) A 2017-18 member of the IWLCA Zag Sports Honor Roll, she has maintained a 4.0 in all but one semester of her 4 years at the University of Tampa. This year she was named the University of Tampa's Biology Department's Most Outstanding Senior as the graduating Senior with the highest GPA in the department. Popelar has also served in the University of Tampa's President's Leadership Fellows program, as a 4- year member of SAAC, & a 2-time Captain. The midfielder started all 17 games for the Spartans this year, posting seven points, 24 draw controls, 16 ground balls, and 11 caused turnovers to help the team advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.
Allison Popelar, photo courtesy of Tampa Athletics.
Division III – Lexie Meanor, Whittier College
The 2019 IWLCA Division III Scholar-Athlete of the Year is Lexie Meanor, a 2019 graduate of Whittier College. Meanor created her own major as a part of the Whittier Scholars Program (Actuarial science with a minor in business administration). She was the first person to create and graduate with this major/minor combination at Whittier College. Meanor was named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2016, Spring & Fall 2017, Spring 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters. She is a member of the National Mathematics Honor Society and named an All-Conference Academic Team member for all four years of her collegiate career. Off the field, Meanor was a member of the Poets Student-Athlete Leadership Academy, a math tutor for three years at the Sewickley Public Library and has worked as a coach/intern with La Canada high school lacrosse in California, and Intrepid Lacrosse Club in Pittsburgh. As a midfielder, Meanor impacted both ends of the field for the Poets, racking up 57 goals, 14 assists, 81 draw controls, 41 ground balls, and 21 caused turnovers. She is a first-team All-Conference selection and was named to the IWLCA West Region second-team.
Lexie Meanor, photo courtesy of Whittier Athletics.
NAIA – Avery Blackmon, Georgetown College
The 2019 IWLCA NAIA Scholar-Athlete of the Year is Georgetown College senior Avery Blackmon. She graduated this spring with a 3.78 GPA while double majoring in psychology and art. An outstanding student-athlete, Blackmon excelled in the classroom and on the field. She was named a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete, and to the Mid-South Conference All-Academic Team. She was also named the NAIA Player of the Year and was an NAIA All-American, and received the Mid-South Conference Champion of Character Award, given to player that shows the best sportsmanship in conference. She was the NAIA Offensive Player of the Week five times, and her conference’s Offensive Player of the Week six times, after starting all 17 games and recording 111 goals, 32 assists, 183 draw controls, 57 ground balls, and 34 caused turnovers.
Avery Blackmon, photo courtesy of Georgetown College Athletics.