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Elizabeth Forward, Thomas Jefferson grads receive PAC scholar-athlete awards

| Saturday, March 15, 2014, 2:58 p.m.

At the beginning of the new year, Washington and Jefferson All-American wrestler Josh Etzel and Bethany (W.Va.) College senior women's basketball player Skylar Williams were named the Presidents' Athletic Conference's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Scholar-Athletes of the Month. Both student-athletes could see several post-season athletic honors come springtime.

Each month the SAACs at PAC member institutions are asked to nominate one male and one female student-athlete for PAC SAAC Scholar-Athlete of the Month consideration based on academic and athletic accomplishments.

Nominees must be a varsity member in their respective sport(s) and in their junior or senior year. Scholar-Athlete of the Month nominees must also have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher and be actively involved within his or her campus community.

A graduate of Elizabeth Forward High School, Etzel is ranked fifth nationally at 157 pounds in NCAA Division III by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Etzel is now 24-2 overall this season and needs eight victories to become just the fourth wrestler in school history to win 100 for a career.

Etzel is a two-time NWCA Division III Scholar All-American and owns a 3.805 GPA as a biochemistry major. He also minors in pre-health and is vice president of Phi Psi. He was also named to the Capital One First-Team Academic All-America Division III At-Large Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He is also a two-time NWCA Scholar All-American selection (2012, 2013).

Last March he became the Presidents' first All-American in 11 years by placing sixth in the 157-pound bracket at the 2013 NCAA Division III Championships at the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Ice Arena. He was also an NCAA national qualifier in 2012.

Williams, a Thomas Jefferson High School graduate, is in her third season as the starting point guard for the Bison. She currently ranks fourth in the PAC in both total assists (75) and assists per game (4.0). She also leads the team in steals with 33 and has six blocks while averaging four points and rebounds per game.

She maintains a 3.83 grade-point average as a physical education major. Williams is an active member of Bethany's SAAC, the Physical Education Club, the Student National Education Association, the Kappa Delta Pi international honor society (Education), the Phi Delta Psi honor society (Physical Education), the Zeta Tau Alpha international women's fraternity and works with the College's student alumni association.

Williams was recently accepted into the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's 12th annual “So You Want to be a Coach” Program. Each member of the program will participate in the three-day workshop held April 4-8 in conjunction with the WBCA National Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Halls of Fame dates

The 2014 Mid-Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame Banquet will take place June 20 at the Willow Room in Belle Vernon.

Taking place one evening later will be the Fayette County Hall of Fame on June 21 at the campus of Penn State-Fayette.

On May 3, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame banquet and ceremonies will take place at the Sheraton Four Points in Cranberry Township.

The Washington-Greene County Hall of Fame will be June 13 at the Doubletree Meadowlands in Washington, Pa.

The WPIAL Hall of Fame will be June 6.

The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will be Nov. 8 at the Hotel Woodlands Resort in Wilkes-Barre.

The Mid-Mon Valley, Fayette, Western Pennsylvania and Washington-Greene County Halls of Fame are part of the 28 regional chapters of the Pennsylvania State Hall of Fame.

Mid-Mon Valley Hall of Famers who have also earned state induction include Dr. H.C. “Red” Carlson, Fred Cox, Steve Filipowicz, Arnold Galiffa, Ken Griffey Sr., Dale Hamer, Dr. Sam Havrilak, Bill Malinchak, Bap Manzini, Stan Musial, Armand Niccolai, Johnny Potsklan, Myron Pottios, Bert Rechichar, Jim Russell, Sever Toretti and “Deacon” Dan Towler.

MMVASHOF 2012 inductee Casper Voithofer and Fran Rogel were also inducted into the statewide Hall of Fame but through the Capital Area and Western Chapters respectively.

Bruce Wald is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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