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Slippery Rock’s Martin, IUP’s Cignetti Named PSAC Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 @ 12:07 AM

Posted by Chris Rossetti

Martin CignettiLOCK HAVEN, Pa. -Slippery Rock’s Marcus Martin and IUP’s Natalie Cignetti are the 2017-18 PSAC Pete Nevins Scholar-Athletes of the Year.

(Photo courtesy of the PSAC)

Martin is the Male Student-Athlete of the Year and Cignetti the Female Student-Athlete of the Year.

The Pete Nevins Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor is awarded annually to one male and one female student-athlete that performed exceptionally well in the classroom and in their field of competition. In order to be eligible, a student-athlete must be named to one of the PSAC Top 10 teams during the year, maintain above a 3.50 cumulative GPA and must be at least a sophomore in academic standing.

The award has been given by the PSAC office every year since 1991 and was renamed in 2007 to honor the legacy of former East Stroudsburg University sports information director, Pete Nevins, who served at ESU for 33 years. Nevins was one of the most decorated sports information directors in the country and since his passing in 2007 has had multiple awards named in his honor.

Martin was one of the most dominant defensive ends in college football last season. He led the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss, finishing with 15.5 sacks and 26.5 TFL, respectively, in just 11 games. The senior also recorded 82 total tackles, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Martin broke the NCAA all-time sack record for players from any level, finishing his career with 56.0 sacks. He also broke the all-time NCAA Division II record for tackles for loss with 92.5. The next highest numbers ever recorded by a Division II player were 46.5 sacks and 77.0 tackles for loss.

In the classroom, Martin was just as impressive. He was the only Division II representative in the 13-member National Scholar-Athlete Class presented by the National Football Foundation this fall, for which he received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. Martin was also named a CoSIDA Academic All-American for the third time, becoming the first SRU football player to ever accomplish such a feat. He graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in safety management and a minor in business administration with above a 3.5 cumulative GPA.

Cignetti becomes the fifth overall and first IUP recipient of this honor since women’s volleyball student-athlete Laura Hall went back-to-back in 2002 and 2003. Molly Carr (women’s basketball and softball) also won the award twice in 1998 and 1999.

Cignetti graduated summa cum laude in May with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average as a natural science major with a concentration in pre-med. She also double minored in chemistry and studio art.

Cignetti put together one of the best seasons in IUP women’s volleyball program history, earning honorable mention All-American honors in leading the Crimson Hawks to a PSAC Southwest Division title as a senior. She was a consensus All-Atlantic Region selection, the 2017 PSAC Athlete of the Year, and finished as the league leader in kills (488), kills per set (4.28), points (546.5) and points per set (4.79).

Her points per set and kills per set numbers ranked 14th and 17th, respectively, in Division II.

Cignetti was a PSAC Fall Top 10 selection for the second time and earned second-team Academic All-America honors from CoSIDA after her 2017 season.

She was also named the IUP Women’s Athlete of the Year, Women’s Senior of the Year, and Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in the school’s annual Crimson & Gray Awards.

Cignetti has been accepted to Wake Forest School of Medicine and will start this month.

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