National College Athlete Honor Society announces Scholar Athletes of the Year
RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- The National College Athlete Honor Society is proud to announce that Eric Knowles of NC State University and Zaresha Neal of Bowling Green State University have been selected as Chi Alpha Sigma’s 2021-22 Scholar Athletes of the Year.
“We are extremely proud to award these honors to Eric and Zaresha,” Kellen Wells-Mangold, executive director of the National College Athlete Honor Society, said. “Among many strong candidates, these two student-athletes stood out in particular as true leaders in competition, the classroom, and their communities.”
The National Scholar Athlete of the Year award recognizes student-athletes from one men’s sport and one women’s sport who have each demonstrated
academic and athletic achievement, as well as service and leadership both on-campus and in the community. Nominees must be junior or senior Chi Alpha Sigma inductees who have maintained a minimum of a 3.40 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) throughout their collegiate careers and demonstrated how their experiences as scholar-athletes have influenced and empowered them to be successful after graduation.
Knowles (Gr. | Dayton, Ohio | Legacy Christian Academy) was a seven-time All-American and three-time ACC champion during his collegiate career at NC State. He helped captain the men’s swimming & diving team to conference titles and fourth-place NCAA Championship finishes in four of five seasons with the Wolfpack. In the classroom, he compiled a perfect 4.0 GPA and was a four-time Academic All-America honoree, landing on the CoSIDA First Team each of the last three seasons. He was also a member of the Academic All-ACC Team and a CSCAA Scholar All-American each season of his five-year career. In addition, he won the Elite 90 Award for Men’s Swimming & Diving after having the top GPA out of any competitor at that NCAA Championships event, and he was a recipient of a 2022 ACC Postgraduate Scholarship. Knowles - a member of the leadership team for Athletes in Action, an organization founded to help athletes grow physically, mentally, and spiritually - earned his materials science and engineering degree this past spring. He is the second NC State student-athlete in history to be receive Chi Alpha Sigma Scholar Athlete of the Year honors, joining former Wolfpack swimmer Andreas Vazaios, who won the award in 2019-20.
Neal (Sr. | Findlay, Ohio) is a six-time All-MAC thrower at Bowling Green State. She qualified for regionals three times while competing in the shot put and discus. Neal set a program record and won the MAC Outdoor Track & Field Championship in the discus as a senior and earned Second Team All-America honors in the shot during the indoor season this past winter. In the classroom, Neal has landed on the Dean’s List nine times and is a five-time Academic All-Conference honoree thanks to a 4.0 GPA. Neal has also been an active member of BGSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, contributing to athletics-related planning and advocating for student-athletes on campus and around the country. Neal is the second Bowling Green State student-athlete in history to receive Chi Alpha Sigma Scholar Athlete of the Year honors, joining former Falcons thrower Aliyah Gustafson, who won the inaugural award in 2018-19.
Knowles and Neal now become the seventh and eighth recipients of the Chi Alpha Sigma Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Nominations for the 2022-23 honor will become available to active Chi Alpha Sigma chapter advisors in May 2023.
All-Time National College Athlete Honor Society Scholar Athletes of the Year
Year Student-Athlete Institution Sport(s)
2018-19 Aliyah Gustafson Bowling Green State University Women’s Track & Field
2018-19 Cole Rosenberger Johns Hopkins University Men’s Soccer
2019-20 Audrey Miller Loras College Women’s Cross Country, Track & Field
2019-20 Andreas Vazaios North Carolina State University Men’s Swimming & Diving
2020-21 Kieran Mullins Rutgers University Men's Lacrosse
2020-21 Emma Schulz SUNY Cortland Women's Gymnastics
2021-22 Eric Knowles North Carolina State University Men’s Swimming & Diving
2021-22 Zaresha Neal Bowling Green State University Women’s Track & Field
The National College Athlete Honor Society, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 1996. Theta Chi Alpha and Chi Alpha Sigma work with state chapters of two- and four-year institutions, respectively, to recognize college student-athletes who excel in their sport, the classroom, and the community. The National College Athlete Honor Society is part of an athletics community made of diverse groups and supports all efforts in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion.