Saturday, December 21, 2013

Five Warrior gridders earn slot on Academic All-MAC Team

Ryan Umpleby (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) scores
"The team claimed a share of the 15th MAC title in school history, tying for first with Lebanon Valley."
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Senior C.J. Arhontakis (West Grove, Pa./Avon Grove), juniors Craig Needhammer (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn), John Sibel (Morrisville, Pa./Yardsbury) and Kyle Sullivan (Coatesville, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) and sophomore Ryan Umpleby (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) made up a contingent of five Lycoming College football players placed on the inaugural MAC Academic All-Conference Team, the conference office in Annville, Pa., announced on Thursday, Dec. 19.

The Academic All-MAC honor is for a student-athlete who has excelled in athletics and academics. To qualify, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA and have participated in at least 50 percent of the contests for that particular sport. First-year students and junior college transfers in their first year of residence are not eligible for the award. The award is voted on by the conference’s18 sports information departments.

C.J. Arhontakis
Arhontakis was a key contributor for the top-ranked defense in the MAC, as the biology: anatomy and physiology major made 33 tackles as a safety. His biggest moment came against Wilkes, when he posted a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown, the fourth-longest interception return in program history. His biggest impact came on special teams, where he blocked three kicks during the season, two of which were returned for defensive extra points and the other an overtime field goal attempt by Albright in a 20-17 Lycoming win. Also a swimmer, Arhontakis earned three MAC Academic Honor Roll selections as a football player and two as a swimmer.

Craig Needhammer
Needhammer picked up another honor to go with his Third Team All-East Region and Capital One Academic All-District accolades. The First Team All-MAC running back finished third in the MAC, averaging 118.4 yards per game, and he tied the school record with 14 touchdowns scored. He also averaged 153.9 all-purpose yards per game and ran for 100 yards seven times, one less than the school record of eight, set by Brian Thompson over a 13-game campaign en route to the national championship game in 2007. The physics major has earned two MAC Academic Honor Roll selections.

John Sibel
Sibel was once again a key contributor at the wide receiver position for the Warriors. He caught 29 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns. The history major, a two-time MAC Academic Honor Roll selection, had three straight games with more than 50 yards receiving (Albright, King’s, FDU-Florham).

Kyle Sullivan
Sullivan developed into one of the best linebackers in the MAC in 2013, as he earned Honorable Mention All-MAC accolades. He finished the year with 59 tackles, five for a loss and both forced and recovered a fumble. He also broke up one pass and notched five or more tackles in seven games. The marketing major notched 12 tackles in a win over nationally-ranked Delaware Valley.

Ryan Umpleby
Umpleby, despite playing just eight games due to injury, enjoyed a breakthrough sophomore year. The wide receiver caught 31 passes for 482 yards, but he was dangerous as a kick and punt returner as well. He finished sixth in the MAC with 1,052 all-purpose yards, the sixth-best in the conference. He was also the only player in the conference ranked in the top five in both punt return (8.6) and kick return (21.8) yardage, plus he posted two 100-yard receiving games.

The Warriors finished 7-3 overall and 7-2 in the MAC under sixth-year head coach Mike Clark. The team claimed a share of the 15th MAC title in school history, tying for first with Lebanon Valley. The team was once again led by its defense, which finished tops in the MAC, allowing a league-best 304.0 yards, 91.4 rushing yards and 18.3 points per game.