May 17, 2013
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 swimmer Erin Malone and golfer Michael Kania, respectively.
Malone is a five-time All-BIG EAST performer during her career and at the NCAA Championships earlier this year finished in 16th place in the 200 yard breaststroke. That finish made her the first Villanova swimmer in nine years to score a team point at the national meet. Malone is the school record holder in both the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke, having set the record in each event at the BIG EAST Championships this year.
In addition to setting school records in the breaststroke events at this year's conference championships Malone was also a part of two other school records, as the Wildcats broke the previous school marks in the 400 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay. Her career all-conference accolades include twice each in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke, as well as once in the 800 freestyle relay. Malone is a two-sport student-athlete at Villanova who also plays water polo.
Academically, Malone was chosen as the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Women's Swimming Performer of the Year. She has been named to the Academic All-Area team in each of the past three years and is also a three-time selection to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team.
Kania has consistently been one of the Wildcats top scorers in tournament play and he was named to the All-BIG EAST team in each of the past two seasons. He has a career 73.9 stroke average and was the tournament champion at both the Pinehurst Collegiate tournament in the spring of 2012 and the Lehigh Invitational this past fall. He won the tournament at Lehigh in late October after being named the BIG EAST Golfer of the Month earlier in the season, when he tied for second place at the Patriot Intercollegiate tournament and finished in a tie for third place at the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate.
A two-year team captain, Kania has been just as successful off the course as he has been on it. He has been named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team three times during his career and was also voted onto the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team in each of the past two seasons. Kania is also the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at Villanova and was chosen as the Wildcats institutional American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
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.