Somerset, NJ -- The Northeast Conference (NEC) has named Fairleigh Dickinson’s Julia Prantl (Benediktbeuern, Germany/GUS-Gymnasium Bad Tolz) as the recipient of its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Student-Athlete of the Year award. A member of the women’s tennis team, Prantl became the tenth NEC student-athlete to earn the honor, which recognizes individual excellence in both the academic and athletic realms as well as contributions to one's community.
The honor comes on the heels of Prantl’s second team All-Conference nod along with her role in leading FDU to its first NEC women’s tennis title since 1988.
“Not only has Julia Prantl achieved incredible success in the classroom and on the tennis court, but she has done so while engrossing herself in the campus and local communities in an effort to make a difference beyond her role as a student-athlete,” said Noreen Morris, NEC Commissioner. “I am honored to recognize Julia as the 2011-12 NEC SAAC Student-Athlete of the Year. It's a tribute to her unbelievable commitment and dedication to her academic, athletic and community service efforts.”
In the classroom Prantl was a member of the Fairleigh Dickinson Honors Program, where she majored in Business Management and minored in Marketing. She graduated in May with a 3.94 grade point average after earning a spot on the Dean’s List and Honor Roll every semester of her tenure in Teaneck, and was a four-time selection to the exclusive NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll (3.75 or better GPA). Prantl was also a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society during her time at FDU.
On the court, the native of Germany helped boost the Knights to the NEC championship this past April following two consecutive runner-up finishes. A three-time All-NEC honoree, Prantl sandwiched a first team honor (at #2 singles) in 2011 in between second team accolades at the #3 spot in 2010 and 2012. She racked up 68 singles wins over her four years as a member of the Knights, including an NEC-best 22 this past season. Prantl compiled a 5-2 NEC mark in 2011-12, and in splitting time between the #2 and #3 flight, posted a 6-5 dual record in both spots. She was the NEC’s September Player of the Month.
"Julia exemplifies all of the best qualities of the ideal student athlete,” said Ira Miller, FDU men’s and women’s tennis coach. “She has excelled on the court and in the classroom, has been a team captain, and has made outstanding contributions as a student leader on campus. She has enriched the lives of all those who know her at FDU.”
Prantl’s commitment to her community was evident by her participation in a number of initiatives throughout her time at FDU. She took part in the setup of a community service project for Habitat for Humanity in which she recruited volunteers, participated in the construction and raised funds for the nationally recognized organization. Prantl played a major role in the SAAC Penny Wars which raised money for the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation and also spent time participating in “Forever Smiling,” a year-long fundraiser for Operation Smile.
On campus, she displayed her aptitude as a leader both on and off the court. Named FDU team captain as a senior, Prantl also served as Vice President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee in 2011-12. As a junior she held the title sports editor for FDU's student newspaper, The Equinox, and also worked as an active member of campus organizations such as Business Leaders of Tomorrow and the Green Team.
"Julia Prantl is hard-working, dedicated to her studies and an engaged member of the campus community,” stated Deb Solfaro, FDU Senior Associate Athletic Director. “As an international student-athlete, Julia has embraced every aspect of her education both in and out of the classroom. We are very proud of Julia and her accomplishments and wish her well in her future endeavors."
Weighing one's leadership ability, athletic prowess, academic achievement and community service, the NEC SAAC members select the annual recipient of the award. The NEC began honoring a SAAC Student Athlete of the Year in 2003 when CCSU's Sabrina Mariani claimed the inaugural honor.
Northeast Conference SAAC Student-Athlete of the Year Award Winners
2011-12 Julia Prantl, Fairleigh Dickinson
2010-11 Katherine Bossardet, CCSU
2009-10 Kundayi Mawema, Bryant
2008-09 Alexandra Tomlinson, Wagner
2007-08 Tiffany Hahn, Monmouth
2006-07 Erika Jacobs, Saint Francis (PA)
2005-06 Joy Gallagher, Wagner
2004-05 Beth Swink, Saint Francis (PA)
2003-04 Naomi Campano, Mount St. Mary's
2002-03 Sabrina Mariani, CCSU
About The Northeast Conference
Now in its 31st year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 12 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to four of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Pittsburgh (#23), Baltimore (#27), and Hartford/New Haven (#30). Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 23 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic or play-in access to 14 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Central Connecticut State, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (NY), Saint Francis (PA) and Wagner. Bryant will become the NEC’s 12th member upon completion of the NCAA Division I reclassification process in 2012. For more information on the NEC, visit www.northeastconference.org.