Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mital earns Lycoming’s 24th Academic All-American honors

Key block by #71 senior Austin Mital(Ginter, Pa./Moshannon Valley) as
Lycoming scores against Susquehanna University
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – A two-time All-MAC offensive lineman, senior Austin Mital(Ginter, Pa./Moshannon Valley) added another impressive jewel to his resume on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 29, when he was included in the Division III College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American team.

Photo Courtesy of Lycoming Athletics
“Playing football is a big deal at Lycoming,” Mital said. “The program history speaks for itself. Being able to play here and knowing the program’s seriousness about those high standards, I wanted to set my goals high.”

Mital, a physics major, earned second-team Academic All-American accolades, joining a select group of seven Warrior football players to earn the award, joining Tom Vanaskie (DB, 1974), Paul DeJoseph (DB, 1980), Mike Kern (DL, 1985), Jeff Mahalik (DB, 1992), Mitch Marzo (LB, 2000), T.J. Chiarolanza (K, 2010) and Craig Needhammer (RB, 2014). He is the first Warrior offensive lineman to earn Academic All-American honors and he is the second straight physics major, joining Needhammer. Mital is the third Warrior to earn Academic All-American honors under ninth-year head coach Mike Clark.

“I set my goals based on what Craig Needhammer did,” Mital said, who, like Needhammer earned Second Team Academic All-American honors. “I knew some of the accolades he earned would be harder because of the position I played and he played. He was one of the best in program history and I used him as a role model.”

The team’s left guard and captain, he started all 10 games as a senior, helping the Warriors average 333.2 yards of total offense per game, including 147.4 rushing yards per game while blocking for the league’s leading rusher in senior Blake Bowman (Valley View, Pa./Tri-Valley), an Academic All-District selection. Mital was the team's candidate for the National Football Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Award.

“I first saw Austin at a Bucknell camp prior to his senior year,” Clark said. “I thought he could be a dominant player at our level. He has battled some injuries, but he is tough, smart, and athletic. He is everything you expect a four-year starter to be. He is an outstanding player who deserves all the accolades he receives.”

He stepped full-time into the starting lineup as a junior after being hindered by injuries as a sophomore. The healthy 6-3, 290-pounder developed into a Second Team All-MAC selection while helping the offense roll up 1,825 rushing yards, the fifth-highest total in school history. The physics major is a two-time member of the MAC Academic Honor Roll and he was an Academic All-MAC pick as a junior.

“The physics program is real hands on,” Mital said. “You get into the lab to apply what you learn in the classroom. Because of its smaller size, it is easier to interact with your peers and do your homework with them, because most of the time you aren’t going to understand everything in the lesson the first time. All the professors are receptive to help and want the best for the students.”

Mital is expecting to continue his studies after Lycoming in mechanical engineering, as he has already been accepted into postgraduate programs at West Virginia University, Syracuse University and the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He is a member of both the Sigma Pi Sigma (physics) and Phi Kappa Phi (overall academic excellence) honor societies.

Mital is the Warriors’ second Academic All-American in the calendar year, as juniorBrandon Conrad (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg Area) earned second-team honors in the at-large sports category in the spring.

To be eligible for the Academic All-American award, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 15,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.

The Warriors finished 3-7 overall in 2016, finishing within two touchdowns in each of its first nine games.