Nov. 14, 2011
OMAHA, Neb. -- Moments before being named to the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Soccer All-Tournament Team for the third-consecutive year on Sunday, forward Heath Melugin added another academic achievement to his long list of honors. The senior from Springfield, Mo., was awarded the Men’s Soccer Elite 18 Award, which recognizes the highest performer in both athletics and academics for the year.
“As a student-athlete here at Missouri State, I have strived to do my best in both aspects,” said Melugin, Missouri State’s leader in points (17), goals (6), shots (39), shots on goal (20) and game-winners (2). “I am proud to be a Bear and I am thankful for my teammates, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
Melugin, who is majoring in cell and molecular biology and has a cumulative GPA of 3.97, is the second Missouri State student-athlete this year to be honored. Junior cross country runner Emily Beaver received the Women’s Elite 18 Award for cross country on Oct. 31.
This year alone, Melugin was named to the Capital One Academic All-District First Team, has won the Prairie Farms/MVC Student-Athlete of the Week award twice and was named a Lowe’s Senior CLASS candidate at the beginning of the season.
“Being a student-athlete at the Division I level is very demanding and takes up a lot of time,” Melugin said. “There are a lot of late nights and sometimes you have to make some sacrifices to stay ahead in the classroom and excel on the field as well.”
The Elite 18 Award Program was established by the Missouri Valley Conference in the fall of 2010 to honor the highest achievement in academics and athletics by a student-athlete in each MVC-sponsored sport. Modeled after the NCAA Elite 88 Academic Recognition Award Program, the MVC Elite 18 award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average competing at the finals site at each of the MVC’s 18 team championships.
The selection process varies for each sport, and winners are chosen from a list of nominations submitted by MVC institutions. For the team sports of soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, baseball and softball, the winner is chosen from the two teams participating in the championship game/match.