The Centennial Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has selected Franklin & Marshall senior football player Nick Porcelli (Lopatcong Township, N.J. / Phillipsburg) and Dickinson senior women's squash player Casey Merbler (Baltimore, Md. / Roland Park) as the 2015 Centennial Conference Individual Sportsmanship Award winners. Additionally, Dickinson's Baseball Team was selected as the Team Sportsmanship Award winner.
This award honors one male, one female, and one team who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. They were selected from a pool of student-athletes nominated by the Conference’s 11 member institutions and will now be placed on the ballot for the NCAA Division III National Sportsmanship Award this summer.
Nick Porcelli was selected as the Centennial Conference male nominee for his positive impact on the Franklin & Marshall community and the football team. He selflessly put others' needs ahead of his own by giving his time to people on campus and in the community. During his time at F&M, Porcelli served as President of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and was a member of the Football Leadership Society. He spearheaded the Little Dips Diaper Drive that raised 7,000 diapers for homeless moms in Lancaster. He is also a Junior Board Member of Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation that raises money for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
Head football coach John Troxell best describes his affect on the culture of the football team:
"He is the type of player that makes your team successful because of his unselfish behavior and his team first attitude. Nick always made personal sacrifices for the betterment of his team. He is one of the most respected members of our team. He brings a positive energy and attitude to everything he does and makes everyone around him better. To me, those attributes define greatness."
Casey Merbler was selected as the Centennial Conference female nominee for her impact on the Dickinson College’s inaugural women’s squash team. As a senior, having not had the chance to compete in college, Merbler contacted head squash coach Chris Sachvie before the season started to express her interest in helping to start the program. She provided leadership to a team of girls who were all new to college squash, some new to competition, and some new to the sport as of this fall. On court, she demonstrated how to play the right way, competing with exemplary sportsmanship the entire season.
Merbler was nominated by her peers to be captain of the team and represented them on and off the court as the leader of the team. She compiled an entire season of great behavior and leadership, and showed respect to her teammates and opposing coaches and players. Throughout the season, Coach Sachvie saw her pass these values and acts of sportsmanship onto her teammates and believes it will have a long lasting impact on the program and its culture. "As her coach, I am extremely sad to lose her after just one year but I know that the impact she had on her teammates will be felt for years to come."
Dickinson Baseball Team
The Dickinson Baseball Team was selected as the Centennial Conference team nominee through their involvement with Team Impact. Team Impact is a non-profit organization that pairs up children with terminal illnesses with college sports programs. Those boys and girls are “drafted” to that team and attend practices and games along with spending time off of the field with the team. The team was matched up with Matt Kocsis in the winter of 2014. Matt was born with hydrocephalous, or water on the brain. He has had almost 100 brain surgeries since he was born and suffers from seizures, vision impairment, and memory loss.
Head baseball coach Craig Hanson says Matt's family frequently tells him how much Matt has benefited from being part of the team over the past year, but he believes Matt has done much more for the team:
"We are so incredibly fortunate to have been paired with Matt and his family through Team Impact. Every player and coach who have had the chance to spend time with him are better people for it, and he has been an integral part of our team since he joined us. I am so proud to call him a member of our team, and proud of our team for the way they have accepted him with open arms."