Chapman athletes have brains and brawn

Sophomore soccer player Tyler Hadzinsky and senior football player Tony Cresta garnered first-team Academic All-District VIII College Division honors last week for their exceptional athletic and academic abilities.

Sophomore soccer player Tyler Hadzinsky and senior football player Tony Cresta garnered first-team Academic All-District VIII College Division honors last week for their exceptional athletic and academic abilities.The award, bestowed by the College Sports Information Directors Association, is sponsored by ESPN The Magazine. Chapman’s sports information director, Doug Aiken, nominated the pair.I didn’t know how big of a deal it was at first,” said Hadzinsky, the Panthers’ starting goalkeeper and a San Clemente, Calif., native.District VIII stretches from the West Coast to Idaho and New Mexico, and includes Alaska and Hawaii.Eleven soccer players and 22 football players are given the award in each of the eight districts.There are 50 nominees in Chapman’s district. The number of winners matches the number of players on typical soccer and football teams.Four defensemen, three forwards, three mid-fielders, and one goalkeeper are honored in soccer. Eleven offensive players, 11 defensive players, one punter, and one kicker are recognized in football.”When I heard I was the only keeper in my region to win, including all of Division III, Division II, and NAIA teams, I was shocked and appreciative,” said Hadzinsky. “I constantly try to better myself, and this award lets me know that my hard work is paying off.”Hadzinsky led the Panthers with 49 saves and four shutouts this season, and his 0.62 goals-against average helped propel the squad to its best finish in nine years, 12-4-2.He has the lowest goals-against average for any goalkeeper since 1983.Hadzinsky, a business major, maintains a 3.85 GPA and is pursuing a triple emphasis degree in finance, marketing and entrepreneurship. “It feels good to be acknowledged for all the hard work you put in, but I have to thank my four defenders. Without them, my stats wouldn’t have been nearly as good,” he said.Hadzinsky also plays outfield for the Panthers’ baseball team. The two-sport athlete is considering an MBA, and hopes to one day become the general manager for a professional baseball team.”I could take 12 units every semester and still graduate on time, but that’s not my nature. I have to stay busy,” he said.Cresta, a senior strong safety, has been among Chapman’s team leaders in solo (13) and total tackles (18) all season while maintaining a 3.82 GPA as a business major with a communications minor. He is pursuing a double emphasis in management and marketing and plans to graduate early after the fall semester.After he graduates, Cresta plans to work in construction management.”For me it’s constantly hard work and effort,” said Cresta. “Between practice and homework and classes I don’t have a lot of time. It feels good to manage everything and do it well.”Cresta has played football for all four of his seasons at Chapman. He said he takes pride in the fact that his senior class has helped build a reputable football program at Chapman.”Cresta is a real program guy. He’s an extremely hard worker, and his morals and integrity are a very positive influence,” said Head Football Coach Bob Owens.Last season, Chapman football players junior Bob Burton, 2007 graduates Ian Galanis, and Lance Carter and senior Garret Earls were all named to the 24-player Academic All-District VIII squad.”Cresta is becoming part of a fine tradition that we have here. Our guys take both aspects of the opportunity here seriously and they are a great example of what Chapman University is about: mixing academics and athletics,” said Owens.Cresta was recognized for maintaining the highest GPA on the football team his sophomore and junior years.He will find out at the end of the season banquet, the date of which is undetermined, if he has earned the honor for the third consecutive year.Cresta and Hadzinsky are on the ballot for the College Sports Information Directors Association Academic All-America award.Only 11 soccer players and 24 football players from the entire national College Division make the team, but 16 Panthers in the last 13 years have done so.”If I win academic all America? That would blow my mind away. It would make my college career,” said Hadzinsky.

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