Five Bentley Track & Field Athletes Earn Capital One Academic All-District Honors

Amy Varsell at the NCAA Championships in March
Amy Varsell at the NCAA Championships in March

WALTHAM, Mass. – Two-time first-team Capital One Academic All-America® Amy Varsell (Burlington, Conn./Lewis S. Mills HS) took a step towards earning the honor for a third time as she, along with four teammates, were selected for the 2014 Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-District 1 track and cross country team.

Also earning All-District recognition were Conor Higgins (Randolph, N.J./Randolph HS), a senior during this past season, and a trio who just completed their junior year: Tara Dooley (Lee/ Lee HS), Chris Ricci (Coventry, R.I./Bishop Hendricken HS) and Steve Maffiolini (Southington, Conn./ Southington HS).

All will advance to the national ballot for Academic All-America consideration. That team will be announced June 25.

Varsell, a graduate student pursuing her Masters of Science in Accountancy, concluded her collegiate athletic career last March by earning her seventh All-America award with a fourth-place finish in the 1500 meters at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in Winston Salem, N.C. Last fall, she received All-America recognition in cross country following a top-40 finish in the NCAA Championships in Spokane, Wash.

The most decorated women's track athlete in Bentley history, Varsell received All-Region honors from  the USTFCCCA 14 times and her list of accomplishments also includes All-New England seven times, five Northeast-10 Conference championships and three NE-10 Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence awards. Varsell graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2013 with a 3.82 GPA and has achieved a GPA of nearly 3.5 in graduate school.

Dooley earned All-America honors in cross country with a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Division II Championships last November. A three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time Academic All-Conference selection, she was named the USTFCCCA East Region and Northeast-10 women's cross country runner of the year following the 2013 season. An accountancy major with a 3.87 GPA, Dooley spent the spring semester studying in France.

Higgins, a 2014 Academic All-Northeast-10 honoree in indoor track, finished seventh in the 800 at the NE-10 indoor championships and helped Bentley set a school record (7:39.32) with a sixth-place finish in the 4x800 at the NE-10's outdoors. In cross country, the team captain was 69th in the conference championships and 77th in the NCAA East Regional. A member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Higgins achieved a 3.75 GPA as a corporate finance and accounting major.

Ricci, also a CFA major, has finished fifth in the javelin at the Northeast-10 Championships each of the last two years. A 2014 All-East Region honoree in the javelin, he achieved a personal best with a throw of 177'3" against UMass-Dartmouth Apr. 5, a performance that ranks ninth on Bentley's all-time list. Ricci, who has a 3.52 GPA, spent the fall 2013 semester studying in Spain.

Maffiolini, who has achieved a 3.65 GPA while majoring in both accountancy and liberal studies, finished sixth in the 400 meters (50.07) at the NE-10 outdoor championships and was also part of two relays that finished seventh. Ranked eighth in the East in the outdoor 400 this past spring, he's 11th on Bentley's all-time list in the 400, both indoors (50.54) and out (49.84).