(Posted May 4, 2006)

Huntingdon, PA - Juniata College senior track and field standout Mike Vella (Hollidaysburg/Hollidaysburg) and baseball player Walt Goedkoop (Manheim Township/Lancaster) have been selected as the 2006 MASCAC Men's Track and Field and Baseball Scholar Athletes respectively.. The conference awards one senior in each sport for each season as its top scholar athlete based on success on the field and in the classroom. This is the first year the conference has selected seasonal scholar athletes for each sport.

Vella has starred in both cross country and track and field during his four years at Juniata. He holds the program's school record in the 1,500 and has been a consistent top-10 finisher at the conference track and field championships throughout his career. His top two efforts came in 2005 when he placed seventh in the 1,500 at both the Indoor and Outdoor MAC Championships. He had an eighth-place finish in the 1,500 at the 2004 Outdoor Championships in what was his first top-10 performance. Vella also has excelled in cross country where he has been a top-three performer for the Eagles throughout his career, which was capped with a 26th-place finish at the 2005 MAC Cross Country Championships.

In the classroom, Vella has been a consistently strong performer. He holds a cumulative grade point average of 3.991 while studying Biology. His GPA is the highest among all of Juniata's senior student athletes, and he has been a member of the Juniata dean's list each of his semester. He has been a member of the MASCAC Academic Honor Roll nine times during his collegiate career.

Goedkoop ranks as one of the top offensive players in the history of the Juniata College baseball program. The senior ranks in the top-five in the Juniata career record book in virtually every category, including hits, RBI, runs, home runs and doubles. He holds the Juniata records for doubles and RBI in a season, and is a two-time first-team All-Commonwealth Conference player. He also captured All-Region recognition in his junior season when he hit .336 with eight home runs and 49 RBI. This season he is hitting .295 with five home runs, 35 RBI and 31 runs scored. Goedkoop was also selected as the recipient of the prestigious Stanford Mickle Award which is given to the Juniata male senior athlete who has made the greatest contribution to athletics.

In the classroom, Goedkoop is studying elementary and early childhood education and has a cumulative GPA of 3.813. In his junior year he was selected as a member of the ESPN The Magazine College Division Academic All-America Baseball Team. He is a member of the Pi Lambda Theta Honor Society and has earned dean's list recognition seven times. Goedkoop has also earned MASCAC Honor Roll recognition for three seasons.

Vella and Goedkoop will both be in action this week as each team participates in the postseason. The Juniata baseball team begins play at the Commonwealth Conference postseason on Thursday, while the Juniata Track and Field team opens competition at the MAC Championships on Thursday.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.