ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Mitchell College men's tennis player Rocco Devona was selected as the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Male Student Athlete of the Year, as announced by the conference on Wednesday.
Devona becomes the first Mitchell student-athlete to win the award, given annually to the top male senior from among the nine NECC institutions and determined by a vote of the league's Athletic Directors. The award recognizes athletics and academics successes while also factoring in leadership and community service components.
"The award couldn't have gone to a more deserving person," said Damian Houlden, the head coach of the Mitchell men's tennis team. "Over the past four years he's been the epitome of a true student-athlete, and he's always looking to improve in all aspects of life. This award is a wonderful way of recognizing his values and beliefs—along with all the hard work and dedication he's put in during his career—and it sets an example for his teammates, fellow athletes and the entire student body."
Devona graduated in May as one of the most decorated athletes in Mitchell's Division III history. He was a four-time all-conference first team selection in singles and a three-time first team honoree in doubles. In addition, he was selected as NECC Rookie of the Year in 2010, and the past two seasons he earned a spot on the NECC Championship All-Tournament Team, including MVP honors in 2012 as the Mariners captured their fourth straight conference title.
Devona wrapped up his collegiate career with an overall record of 41-6 in singles play and 44-5 in doubles play. In conference action his record stood at 29-2 in singles and 30-3 in doubles. He didn't lose a NECC doubles match until his junior season and was undefeated in NECC singles play for three years, and he was a member of Mitchell squads that claimed NECC titles in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Devona also shined in the classroom, where he majored in business administration and held a cumulative grade point average of 3.87, the highest of any male student-athlete at Mitchell College. A three-time NECC Academic All-Conference Team selection, he was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma (National College Athlete Honor Society) in 2012, the same year he was named to the Capital One Academic All-District First Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
An active and engaged student in the College's business program, Devona served as president of the Mitchell College Business Club and led in the managing of the department's investments and stock portfolio. He also spearheaded the Mitchell College Water Project, an initiative that helps fund scholarships and community service projects around campus.
"Rocco comes from such an outstanding family, so when he chose to come to Mitchell, we knew he was destined for great things both on and off the court," said Director of Athletics Maureen White. "He was the foundation of three championship teams and always represented our program with class and grace. I couldn't be more proud of his accomplishments, and I'm excited for what the future holds for him."