BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Two-time NCAA Division II Academic All-Americans Caitlin deVries and Brandon Morrison have been selected as finalists for the Mountain East Conference’s fifth annual MEC Male and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
The MEC Scholar-Athlete Awards were created to recognize the conference’s male and female student-athletes who achieved at a high level in the classroom and on the playing field. Minimum qualifications are a 3.30 grade-point average, participation in at least 50 percent of the team’s contests in an MEC-sponsored sport and a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.
deVries, a four-year starter and three-year team captain for Coach Barry Christmas’s women’s soccer team, anchored the Lady Hilltoppers’ stingy defensive back line throughout her career. A two-time All-Mountain East Conference selection and a member of the 2016 MEC All-Freshman Team, deVries led the WLU women to seven shutouts this fall as the Lady Hilltoppers held their opponents to two goals or fewer in every match.
A native of Evans City, Pa., deVries never received a grade other than “A” during her four years at West Liberty and carried the College of Science banner at commencement earlier this month as the student with the highest GPA in the college. The first back-to-back NCAA D2 Academic All-American in WLU women’s soccer history, deVries was an MEC Scholar-Athlete finalist in 2017-18 and also won West Liberty’s 2018 Bartell Award. Graduating with a 4.00 GPA in Biology (Environmental Stewardship) with a minor in Geography, she served summer internships at the Pittsburgh Zoo and on Martha’s Vineyard and assisted on a research project with the University of Nebraska.
Morrison, a 5-10, 200-pound defensive back from Huntington, W.Va., was a four-year regular who played in 40 of 44 games during his Hilltopper career despite missing the entire 2017 campaign due to injury. Starting at multiple positions in the WLU secondary, he was a two-year captain and ranked among the team’s leading tacklers each of his last two seasons. Highlights of his senior season included coming up with a fumble recovery and interception in the last 4 minutes of regulation to set up the tying and winning scores in a comeback win at W.Va. Wesleyan. He also picked up the first safety of his career in the win against Concord.
Morrison was every bit as impressive in the classroom. The first back-to-back NCAA D2 Academic All-American in West Liberty football history and a member of the National Football Foundation’s Hampshire Honor Society, Morrison was also a fixture on the MEC All-Academic Team and a two-time NCAA D2 Academic All-District first-teamer. He was an honors graduate with a 3.86 GPA in Criminal Justice and Corrections and completed his master’s degree in Criminology in December with a perfect 4.00 GPA in his graduate level courses.
The MEC Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year will be determined by a vote of MEC administrators and league office personnel. Results of the league-wide balloting will be announced later this month.