GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) is pleased to announce Keuka College’s Dakota Skinner as the first of two honorees for the 2017-18 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Member of the Year awards. Skinner is this year’s male award-winner with the announcement of the female selection to follow tomorrow.
The annual SAAC awards, which began in 2014-15, were established to recognize the multiple contributions of SAAC members throughout the NEAC. Each school has an opportunity to nominate one male and one female SAAC member from their institution based on leadership roles within the group, dedication to community service and involvement on campus. All nominations were reviewed and voted on by the SAAC advisors from each of the NEAC’s 14 full-member institutions.
Skinner, who just completed his senior year on the baseball team, majored in management with a concentration in sports management. Former Keuka College SAAC advisor Jon Accardi reflected on Skinner’s leadership with SAAC over the last three years.
“Dakota has spearheaded several new initiatives, including helping to gain funding for furniture enhancements for our Athletics Center lobby and setting up SAAC’s involvement in the operation of game concessions,” Accardi shared. “He’s been a positive and vocal leader among his peers and is a compassionate, hard-working young man. Dakota’s successes speak for themselves. He is extremely deserving of this prestigious award.”
A native of Waverly, N.Y., Skinner was the recipient of the Keuka College Nancy Wightman Leadership Award which is awarded by the Athletics Department and recognizes outstanding senior leadership. In addition to the contributions noted by Accardi, he helped SAAC raise $1,300 for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Skinner also served as a NEAC SAAC representative at the 2018 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis. Beyond his involvement with SAAC, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Pi and Sigma Beta Delta on campus.
Graduating with a 3.92 GPA, Skinner earned a spot on the Dean’s List every semester at Keuka College and received NEAC Scholar-Athlete accolades every year. He was recognized as an Academic All-District selection three times by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and was most recently selected by CoSIDA to the Google Cloud Academic All-America Third Team for the second consecutive season, becoming the first Keuka College student-athlete to be honored in back-to-back seasons.
“Dakota best demonstrates the leadership qualities that Division III represents and is well-deserving of this honor,” said Keuka College Director of Athletics Dave Sweet. “He has worked hard to develop his baseball skills, is an excellent student and is a leader on campus. Dakota is a true winner both on the field of play and in life.”
Skinner has also been a standout on the field, finishing his collegiate career ranking third in program history with a .382 career batting average. He also is tied for fourth in the Wolves’ record books with 126 career hits. Skinner is a two-time NEAC All-Conference selection, earning second team honors in 2018 and a first team nod in 2017. Keuka College head baseball coach Rick Ferchen regarded Skinner as his team’s most valuable player on and off the field.
“Dakota is an outstanding young man who was highly regarded by the coaching staff and his peers as an outstanding four-year player and representative for the Keuka College baseball program,” Ferchen noted. “As a student-athlete, on the field and in the classroom, Dakota was one of the most diligent, hard-working and dedicated individuals I have ever had in my program and I am very proud of his accomplishments.”
Skinner is the second student-athlete from Keuka College to receive a NEAC SAAC award after Brittany Hadley was recognized at the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year.
“Dakota was a team player, leader, true gentleman and a great example for others to follow,” Ferchen added. “It has been an honor to have had him at Keuka College.”
Zach Haskin – SUNY Cobleskill
Haskin served as the SUNY Cobleskill SAAC President and organized the first-ever Yards for Yeardley event to raise awareness for relationship violence. With 310 participants taking part in this year’s event, the Fighting Tigers led all SUNY institutions by completing 2.2 million yards. A junior communications major and member of the indoor and outdoor track and field team, Haskin also helped update the SUNY Cobleskill SAAC bylaws and is the NEAC SAAC Vice Chair.
Zachary Brock – Bryn Athyn College
Brock is a dual-sport student-athlete as a member of the Lions’ men’s soccer and tennis teams. A consistent Dean’s List recipient, Brock just completed his sophomore year and is a member of SAAC, a class representative, an orientation leader and a stage crew manager. He has been honored twice with the Lions Award for leadership and community service and he has also been named Bryn Athyn’s Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Brock has been involved in numerous community service initiatives including Penny Wars for Cancer, Cards for Veterans, Special Olympics, Coats for Kids drive and a student-athlete t-shirt drive.
The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.