Three Amherst Women Earn Academic All-America Honors

AMHERST, MA – Three Amherst College student-athletes were named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Women’s At-Large Team, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced today. Of this year’s 45 College Division honorees, only the three Lord Jeffs hail from the NESCAC.

Dier
Kirsten Dier '10

Highlighting the group is women’s ice hockey standout Kirsten Dier ’10 (Appleton, WI), who becomes only the fifth Amherst College student-athlete to earn Academic All-America First Team honors, an award that was introduced in 1952. Landing on the All-America Second Team for Amherst is swimmer Kendra Stern ’11 (Albuquerque, NM), with tennis sensation Brittany Berckes ’10 (Secaucus, NJ) earning a spot on the Third Team.

Prior to today, only 19 Lord Jeffs had earned Academic All-America status, none of which competed for Amherst’s women’s tennis, ice hockey or swimming and diving teams. In addition to being this year's only NESCAC representatives, Dier, Stern and Berckes are three of only 10 athletes from the Northeast District to take home the prestigious honor. This year’s 45 All-America recipients boasted an average GPA of 3.90, 17 of whom had a perfect 4.00.

Thirty-five schools were represented on this year’s First, Second and Third teams for the College Division, but only nine featured more than one Academic All-America recipient. Of those nine, only Amherst placed more than two student-athletes on the All-America ranks.

A neuroscience major, Dier graduated this past May as one of the most accomplished student-athletes in Amherst history. After being named one of seven finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, which honors college hockey’s finest citizen, Dier led Amherst to a second consecutive NCAA title. In each of the national championship years, Dier was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team as one of the Lord Jeffs’ captains.

Stern
Kendra Stern '11

Dier earned a spot on the NESCAC’s All-Conference Team three times and on the All-Academic Team twice, also leading the Jeffs to the conference title in 2007, 2008 and 2010. As one of the nation’s top defensemen, Dier helped Amherst post an 87-18-11 overall record and 50-4-10 conference mark in her four years, tallying 20 goals and 53 assists for 73 career points. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Dier volunteered with numerous charities, generously donating her time in West Africa as a medical assistant in the summer of 2009.

Majoring in art history and Spanish, Stern is already one of Amherst’s most accomplished swimmers of all time. She has been crowned an NCAA champion 10 times in three years as a dominant freestyle racer, winning national titles in the 100 (2008, 2009, 2010), 200 (2008, 2009, 2010), 500 (2008), 400 free relay (2008), 800 free relay (2008) and 400 medley relay (2008). The Lord Jeffs have placed in the top six at nationals in each of the past three years, including a runner-up finish in 2008.

Stern is currently the national record holder in the 100 free (48.98) and 200 free (1:45.31), and seven times has been named National Swimmer of the Week. She is a 13-time NESCAC champion, earning the conference’s Swimmer of the Meet honor at the 2008 and 2010 championship events. Stern holds NESCAC records in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle races, as well as the 400 and 800 free relays and 400 medley relay. She was named to the NESCAC All-Academic Team this past winter, and last year earned a spot on CoSIDA’s Academic All-District Third Team.

Berckes
Brittany Berckes '10

Graduating this past May with a degree in political science, Berckes was the face of Amherst women’s tennis for the past four years. She and Alicia Menezes ’08 were crowned NCAA doubles champions in 2007 and 2008, as Berckes posted a dominant 57-23 doubles record while at the top of the ladder. She helped lead Amherst to the 2007 and 2009 national title matches, and this past May led the Jeffs back to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.  

A four-time All-NESCAC selection in both singles and doubles play, Berckes was named the conference’s Player of the Year in 2008. She helped the Jeffs post a 76-12 (24-3 NESCAC) record in dual matches, leading the team to four consecutive conference titles and a 9-4 record against Williams College. In addition to being a two-time national doubles champion, she advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2008 singles bracket and semifinals in 2010, also advancing to the quarterfinals of this year’s national doubles tournament.

A complete list of this year’s Academic All-America honorees will be available on the CoSIDA website.

YearAmherst Student-AthleteSportAcademic All-America Team
1982Robb CaserioMen's BasketballHonorable Mention
1982Dave StrandMen's BasketballHonorable Mention
1986John TucciFootballFirst Team
1997Stephen CarrMen's At-Large (Lacrosse)Third Team
1998Greg BerchelmannBaseballThird Team
1998Todd NicholsMen's At-Large (Lacrosse)Third Team
1998Ellie HickersonWomen's At-Large (Soccer)Third Team
2001Cathy PoorWomen's SoccerFirst Team
2003Fletcher LaddFootballSecond Team
2003Paul WhitingFootballFirst Team
2004Michael PohoryloMen's At-Large (Swimming)Third Team
2004Liz MartinWomen's At-Large (Lacrosse)First Team
2005Ashley HarmelingWomen's At-Large (Lacrosse)Second Team
2005Carter HamillWomen's XC/Track and FieldSecond Team
2008Neal AllarBaseballThird Team
2008Alanna DarlingWomen's SoccerSecond Team
2009Kai RobinsonMen's At-Large (Diving)Third Team
2009Elise TropianoWomen's XC/Track and FieldSecond Team
2010Tad HomchickMen's At-Large (Swimming)Third Team
2010Kirsten DierWomen's At-Large (Ice Hockey)First Team
2010Kendra SternWomen's At-Large (Swimming)Second Team
2010Brittany BerckesWomen's At-Large (Tennis)Third Team