Falcons' Kotchman, Virtue named MEC Scholar-Athlete Award finalists

Fairmont State’s Sierra Kotchman dribbles up the floor during a game at Joe Retton Arena.

BRIDGEPORT — The Mountain East Conference announced the male and female finalists for the league’s annual Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Women’s basketball guard Sierra Kotchman and men’s swimming standout Tyler Virtue represented Fairmont State as finalists for the second-consecutive year.

Kotchman, a junior from Washington, Pa., earned third team Academic All-America honors and was a first team All-Mountain East Conference selection this season after leading the Falcons in scoring at 19.8 points per game this season. Kotchman led the team in scoring 17 times this season, had 14 20-point scoring performances, and also became the all-time leader in program history with 261 three-pointers during her three seasons with the program. Kotchman will enter her senior season ranked seventh in scoring history in scoring with 1,633 career points. Kotchman is a three-time All-MEC standout on the court for the Falcons, including a first team selection in each of the last two seasons.

In the classroom, Kotchman is a business administration major and is a three-time member of the MEC All-Academic Team. She has also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in each of the last two seasons.

Virtue, a junior from New Cumberland, W.Va., earned first team All-MEC honors in the 400 Medley Relay and was a second team All-MEC honoree in four other events during the 2019-20 season — 100 Breast, 200 Breast, 800 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay. Over the past three seasons with the Falcons, Virtue has earned All-MEC honors in 11 different events, including three first-team honors, seven second-team honors, and one third-team honor.

In the classroom, Virtue is an architecture major and is a three-time member of the MEC All-Academic Team. Virtue is also a Fairmont State and MEC representative for SAAC and serves as a team leader for Team IMPACT. He also serves as an instructor for the annual Autism Swimming Challenge and is a two-year co-captain for the men’s swim team.

Each institution in the MEC selected one female and one male as finalists for the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, which recognizes outstanding academic and athletic performance for the previous academic year. Each finalist will receive a plaque. The criteria to be nominated are: (1) a 3.30 cumulative grade-point average; (2) participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s contests in a MEC-sponsored sport; (3) minimum of one year in residence at the institution.

The female finalists are: Leah Foster (Concord University, Soccer), Raleighanne Weaver (Davis & Elkins, Volleyball), Sierra Kotchman (Fairmont State, Basketball), Gwen Schemm (Frostburg State, Soccer), Victoria Lewis (Glenville State, Track & Field), Mary Kate McHugh (Notre Dame, Volleyball), Kelsey Matusic (Charleston, Volleyball), Courtney Niesen (Urbana, Volleyball), Caitlin deVries (West Liberty, Soccer), Kiersten Hensley (W.Va. State, Tennis), Madison LaPole (W.Va. Wesleyan, Soccer), Haley Kramer (Wheeling, Volleyball)

The male finalists are: Nathan Neff (Concord, Baseball), Felix Buck-Gramcko (Davis & Elkins, Cross Country/Track & Field), Tyler Virtue (Fairmont State, Swimming), Vincent Persichetti (Frostburg State, Football), Hegel Augustin (Glenville State, Basketball), Tony Vezzetti (Notre Dame, Wrestling), Brant Grisel (Charleston, Football), Mikal Toliver (Urbana, Football), Brandon Morrison (West Liberty, Football), Jake Harms (W.Va. State, Football), Luca Falconieri (W.Va. Wesleyan, Soccer), Andres Da Silva (Wheeling, Soccer).

The Scholar-Athlete of the Year is determined by a vote of the administrators in the Mountain East Conference and the league office. The winners will be announced later this month.

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