The Washington & Jefferson College football team has had quite a season so far heading into this weekend's first-round NCAA Division III playoff game at top-ranked Mount Union.
Just as impressive is who helped get the Presidents there.
For the fifth time in 11 seasons, W&J coach Mike Sirianni (Jamestown/Southwestern) was named the Presidents' Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. Owner of a 101-23 record in 11 seasons, Sirianni will be making his eighth NCAA playoff appearance on Saturday.
Cassadaga Valley graduates B.J. Monacelli, left, and Andrew Pingitore were selected to the All-President’s Athletic Conference first team for Washington & Jefferson.
Photo by Lisa Monacelli
In addition, eight W&J players were selected to the first-team All-PAC squad, including safety B.J. Monacelli (Cassadaga/Cassadaga Valley), while eight others, including senior offensive guard Andrew Pingitore (Cassadaga/Cassadaga Valley) and sophomore linebacker Shane Smith (Fredonia/Fredonia), were honorable mention selections.
Monacelli has had a banner final season for the Presidents, capped last week by his fifth interception of the season and the 11th of his career (sixth all-time at W&J). The 2010 Cassadaga Valley Central School graduate has intercepted a pass in four of his last five games and has led the Presidents in that category in each of the last three seasons.
Overall, Monacelli, in addition to his five picks, is second on the team in tackles (57) to go along with four tackles for loss, six passes defended, two forced fumbles and one blocked kick.
Off the field, he's just as successful, having been selected to the Capital One Academic All-District IV Team earlier this season. The Academic All-District teams are divided into eight geographic regions and District IV includes all Division III football players from a college or university in Pennsylvania. The Capital One Academic All-District teams recognize the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.
Monacelli, who owns a 3.493 cumulative grade-point average as a business administration major and communications arts minor, has now moved on to the Academic All-America ballot. He has already been selected as a semifinalist for the National Football Federation National Scholar-Athlete award and is one of the Presidents' six team captains.
Smith, the 2010 Post-Journal Player of the Year, is third on the team in tackles (52), has two tackles for loss and recovered a pair of fumbles.
Meanwhile, Pingitore, a high school classmate of Monacelli, has helped anchor a line that is averaging more than 38 points and nearly 450 yards in total offense per game.
Senior offensive lineman Sam Aults (Brocton/Brocton) and senior defensive lineman Zach Marsh (Panama/Panama) are also part of the W&J team, which enters Saturday's game at Mount Union with an 8-2 record.
- - -
The nationally-ranked and undefeated Hobart football team will begin its third straight NCAA Division III playoff appearance on Saturday, days after 10 of Hobart's 11 offensive starters received all-league recognition, including two with local ties.
Junior quarterback Patrick Conlan, son of Frewsburg native Shane Conlan and his wife Caroline, and senior right tackle Trevor Schutte (Lakewood/Southwestern) were Liberty League honorable-mention choices.
In his first season as a starter, Conlan completed 54.2 percent of his passes for 1,284 yards and a league-high 15 touchdowns. The most efficient passer in the Liberty League, his 150.6 efficiency rating (30th in the nation) was more than 33 points better than the league's No. 2 passer. Conlan also led the conference in passing yards per attempt.
Conlan threw for a season-high 208 yards and two touchdowns, including the longest pass in Hobart history, an 89-yarder against WPI, and had a season-high three TD passes against Rensselaer. Conlan's most efficient performance of the season was against Rochester when he completed 9-of-14 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Schutte was part of an offensive line in which all five starters received all-league honors. All told, the unit allowed just seven sacks in nine games while helping Hobart average 249.8 yards rushing and 152.3 yards passing.
Also playing for Hobart this season is junior defensive end Jake Currie (Jamestown/Southwestern), who has nine solo tackles, six assists, 21/2 tackles for loss and 11/2 sacks.
Hobart finished the regular season with a 9-0 record (7-0 in the league), the program's second straight undefeated regular season. It will be making its third consecutive and eighth overall NCAA playoff appearance when it takes on Gallaudet University at noon Saturday at Boswell Field.
- - -
Sophomore Jennie Thies (Lakewood/Southwestern) is a member of the Gannon (Pa.) University women's basketball team, which is ranked No. 2 in the USA Today Sports Top 25.
A 6-foot-1 forward/center, Thies is averaging 2.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in three games, all Gannon victories, including a 73-64 win over California (Pa.) on Wednesday night.
Gannon, a Division II school, is 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference at last report.
- - -
Andrew Marsh (Bemus Point/Jamestown) is a sophomore on the West Virginia University men's swim team, specializing in the backstroke and butterfly.
Coming off a strong freshman year, Marsh is currently competing at the Mizzou Invite that concludes Saturday. So far in the fall season, Marsh, who was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team last year, has turned in solid efforts.
At the West Virginia State Games, he was part of the Mountaineers "B" team that placed third in the 200 free relay (1:27.66), second in the 200 medley relay (1:37.29) and third in the 400 free relay (3:10.66). Individually, he was fifth in the 100 butterfly (53.80), third in the 100 backstroke (54.63) and seventh in the 200 backstroke (2:01.08).
At the WVU Invite, he was part of the 400 medley relay "A" team that placed first (3:23.85), and the 200 medley relay "B" team and 400 freestyle relay "B" team that each placed second in 1:35.44 and 3:10.09 respectively. Individually, he placed fourth in the 100 freestyle (47:13).
At the Big 12/ACC Challenge in Charlottesville, Va., Marsh was a member of the 200 freestyle relay "B" team that was 10th (1:25.82) and, individually, was 13th in both the 100 backstroke (51:30) and the 100 butterfly (51.48).
As a freshman, Marsh, the son of Charlie and Jayne Marsh, finished fourth in the 100 fly (49.27), seventh in the 100 back (49.93) and 13th in the 100 free (45.37) in the Big 12 Championships.
- - -
Jeff Green (Lakewood/Southwestern) is ranked among the Empire 8 Conference leaders in both 1-meter (266.35) and 5-meter (257.55) diving.
A sophomore at Nazareth College, Green won both events against Alfred, Hartwick and Brockport and claimed the 1-meter and was second in the 3-meter against St. Lawrence. The Golden Flyers' record is 2-2 heading into today's meet at the University of Rochester.
As a freshman, Green enjoyed a record-breaking season as he set school records on both the 1- and 3-meter boards for 11 dives with scores of 466.75 and 410.35 respectively. At the NCAA Division III Region 4 competition, Green finished sixth in the 1-meter and seventh in the 3-meter. At season's end he was the recipient of the Golden Flyer Award as the team's most improved swimmer/diver.
Green is the son of Dennis and Beth Green.
- - -
Jaysean Paige, the 2011 Post-Journal Player of the Year as a junior at Jamestown High School, is playing basketball for Moberly Area (Mo.) Community College this season.
Paige, a 6-2, 200-pound guard, began his college experience last year at Southern Idaho where he averaged a team-leading 15 points and five rebounds per game.
"Paige is just an explosive scorer who can really score going to the basket and possesses a nice perimeter shot,'' said Greyhounds coach Patrick Smith on the school website. "I really feel he is between a mid-major and high-major player at this time."
Moberly is a tradition-rich NJCAA program, boasting a nation-leading 27 national tournament appearances, four national championships, three national runners-up and four third-place finishes.
- - -
Joey Campion (Jamestown/Jamestown) is a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology basketball team.
A junior, Campion played football at MIT as a freshman and a sophomore before joining the basketball team for the 2013-14 campaign.
Majoring in mechanical engineering, Campion was a two-sport athlete at Jamestown High School and was instrumental in helping the Red Raiders reach the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA championship game his senior year.
His younger brother, Tommy - the 2012-13 Post-Journal Player of the Year - is a freshman basketball player at Hobart College.
The Campions are the sons of Jim and Vicky Campion.