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Three Merrimack Athletes Named CoSIDA Academic All-District

After excelling in both the classroom and in their respective playing circuits, men’s tennis junior Mikhail Belov (Krasnoarmeyskoy, Russia), men’s ice hockey senior Hampus Gustafsson (Ljungby, Sweden) and women’s golf junior Alessandra Ricigliano (Scarsdale, N.Y.) have been named to the 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-District Men’s and Women’s At-Large Teams, respectively, as announced on Thursday.

The CoSIDA Academic All-District program recognizes student-athletes from across the country to have excelled on the field of play and in the classroom. To be eligible for recognition, student-athletes must be of sophomore status or higher at their respective institutions and own cumulative grade-point averages (GPA) of 3.30 or higher.

Belov won 22 matches between singles and doubles play as a junior, earning Northeast-10 Conference Second Team honors at first doubles. He boasted a team-high-tying 14 doubles victories. In singles play, he won eight contests playing most of the season at the top flight, including four NE10 wins. He was named NE10 Player of the Week during a stretch that saw him knock of two regionally ranked opponents in singles. He won three games on the season against regionally ranked foes, including a pair of three-set triumphs.

Belov boasted a 3.85 grade-point-average as an electrical engineering major, and with his all-district selection he is now eligible to become a CoSIDA Academic All-American. He now has two all-district nods in his career after one as a sophomore, to go along with all-conference honors in all three campaigns.

Gustafsson was Merrimack’s top goal-scorer as part of a sensational final campaign with the Warriors. He lit the lamp a team-high 15 times, helping the Warriors finish seventh in Hockey East for the second straight season. Along the way, Gustafsson posted a career-best eight-game point streak (6-2–8) and notched the program’s first hat trick in six years when he recorded a five-point outing (3g, 2a) in a road win at Boston College in February. He was named the recipient of the Joe Tomasello Unsung Hero Award by the New England Hockey Writers Association, as well.

A three-time Hockey East Top Scholar-Athlete and Hockey East Academic All-Star Team selection, Gustafsson – who is earning his first CoSIDA Academic All-District honor of his career – has owned a perfect 4.00 GPA through the entirety of his undergraduate academic career. The senior signed an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) and two-year entry level contract with the Washington Capitals organization and has been playing professionally with their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hershey Bears, since March. He will graduate with a degree in Business next Sunday.

Finally, Ricigliano takes home her first career CoSIDA Academic All-District distinction after a fine junior campaign on the links. The Scarsdale, New York, native helped lead the Warriors to a third consecutive Northeast-10 Conference Championship in the fall – thanks, in large part, to her claiming that tournament’s individual medalist honor – and has been the Warriors’ top golfer from wire-to-wire. She averaged a team-low 79.4 strokes per round – recording scores in the 70s range in 11 of those rounds – and she set a new career low when she recorded a 71 on Day 2 of the NE10 Championship. She also qualified for the NCAA Division II East Super Regional, which she competed in this week, becoming just the third individual in program history to qualify for NCAAs.

The owner of a 3.932 GPA while pursuing a degree in Criminology, Ricigliano has won the NE10 Championship twice in her career and posted three top-five finishes in tournaments/dual matches in 2016-17.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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