May 18, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - It was a special evening of recognition at the annual Senior Student-Athlete Banquet on Thursday evening at the Connelly Center, where the Athletics Department celebrated the accomplishments of its graduating senior student-athletes. The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the Male and Female Senior Student-Athletes of the Year, with this year's awards going to volleyball player Maggie Mergen and men's cross country and track runner Mathew Mildenhall.
Mergen is a two-time All-BIG EAST first team selection and earned second team honors in her sophomore year. She consistently led the Wildcats in hitting percentage for three consecutive seasons and holds a 3.6 GPA in the Villanova School of Business with a major in management. Mergen has been nominated for the Peace Corps, but if accepted will defer for one year and begin her graduate degree at American University.
This season, Mergen tallied her 1,000th career kill in Villanova's second match of the season. She recorded 19 matches with double figure kills and finishes her Villanova career ranked eighth in kills with 1,298. Mergen is also Villanova's all-time leader in hitting percentage with a stellar .297. As a junior, she was named to the AVCA All-Northeast Region honorable mention squad.
Mergen is a four-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star and was named to the 2010 Philadelphia All-Area team.
Mildenhall is a two-time All-American, three-time BIG EAST individual champion and a nine-time All-BIG EAST performer for the Wildcats while carrying a 3.57 cumulative grade-point average as a Marketing major in the Villanova School of Business. He will graduate this weekend but has an additional year of athletic eligibility and plans to return to the cross country team next fall when he begins graduate studies.
During the past cross country season Mildenhall helped lead Villanova to the team title at the BIG EAST Championships for the first time in 10 years. He earned All-BIG EAST and All-Mid Atlantic Region accolades, marking the third straight season he has achieved both distinctions. In addition to his success on the course Mildenhall also excelled academically and earned a 4.0 GPA for the Fall 2011 semester. That came despite taking his heaviest semester course load since beginning his studies at Villanova. Thanks in part to Mildenhall the men's cross country team tallied the highest GPA for the semester out of any of the Wildcats sports programs. He previously was an All-American during the 2009 campaign.
In track competition Mildenhall is a two-time BIG EAST individual champion and a five-time All-BIG EAST performer during the indoor season. He was part of the winning distance medley relay squad in 2010 and a year later won the title in the 3000 meters, an event he has garnered All-BIG EAST honors in three times. Mildenhall also anchored the DMR squad to an All-American performance at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships. Last spring he also earned All-BIG EAST honors in the 5000 meters.
Academically, Mildenhall is a four-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star and in 2010 was named to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team for cross country.
Each year the Male and Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year awards are given to a senior who has excelled in both athletics and academics in addition to making a positive impact through community service. The winner must have at least a 3.2 grade-point average in addition to being a significant contributor to his/her team.