University of Toledo football player Zac Kerin (Delaware, OH) and women's volleyball player Lauren Rafdal (Westfield, IN) are among 24 student-athletes who will be presented the Medal of Excellence Award by the Mid-American Conference at the Honors Dinner Ceremony at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel tonight.
The Medal of Excellence is a newly created award which will be presented annually to one male and one female student-athlete from the graduating class of each of the 12 MAC member institutions.
“The Medal of Excellence Award is a reinforcement of the core values that we as a conference and each of our member institutions all possess with excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and service,” said MAC Commissioner, Jon A. Steinbrecher. “We congratulate all of our 24 Medal of Excellence Award winners.”
Kerin was a three-time All-MAC center for the Rockets, as well as a three-time Academic All-MAC selection. A civil engineering major with a 3.615 grade point average, Kerin recently signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent.
An Academic All-MAC honoree in 2013, Rafdal holds a 3.566 GPA as a nursing major. She is the first Rocket ever to earn AVCA honorable-mention All-America and All-Region honors. Rafdal led the MAC in league play with 4.27 kps and topped the Rockets in kills in 25 matches.
To be honored with the Medal of Excellence Award, student-athletes had to participate on the varsity level in a conference sponsored sport and shown evidence of academic success with a minimum 3.50 accumulative grade-point average, exhibited athletics excellence, leadership and service. Selection of the recipients was made by each MAC institution.
2014 Medal of Excellence Award Winners
Akron: Reinaldo Brenes (men’s soccer); Ariane Beaumont-Courteau (women’s track & field)
Ball State: Tyler Merkel (men’s golf); Audrey Bickel (softball)
Bowling Green: Cody Apthorpe (baseball); Nicole Chiricosta (women’s tennis)
Buffalo: William Regan (men’s basketball); Kristen Sharkey (women’s basketball)
Central Michigan: Kyle Smith (men’s track & field/cross country; Simone Lazar (field hockey)
Eastern Michigan: Cy Maughmer (football); Stephanie Clarke (women’s soccer)
Kent State: Nathaniel Vance (football); Jessacca Gironda (women’s soccer/softball)
Miami: Mason Krysinski (football); Sarah Mueller (field hockey)
Northern Illinois: Richard Connors (football); Kimberly Gotlund (gymnastics)
Ohio: Travis Wilkins (men’s basketball); Juliane Accurso (women’s track & field/cross country)
Toledo: Zac Kerin (football); Lauren Rafdal (volleyball)
Western Michigan: Oliver Mayer (men’s soccer); Michelle Watson (women’s soccer)