Campus Corner: Herrington Named All-MWC First Team Kicker; Sopic Honored as NCAA D-II Academic First Team All-American

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Air Force Academy junior Parker Herrington of Clearfield was named first-team kicker on the 2011 All-Mountain West Conference announced last week.

Parker Herrington (Courtesy of Air Force Academy Athletic Department)

The six-foot, half-inch walk-on made 15 of 18 field goal attempts during the Falcons’ 7-5 season, leading the conference with an 83.3 percentage and 1.25 per-game average. He was 13-for-14 inside 40 yards and made 10 consecutive three-pointers until missing two kicks in gusting winds against Nevada-Las Vegas on Nov. 19.

Herrington booted 40 extra points for a total of 85 points that lead the Falcons and rank fifth in the conference. His 7.1 average is second among among MWC placekickers.

In NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision overall scoring, his 7.08 average is tied for 72nd, while his field goal average is tied for 34th.

Herrington was named Kicker of the Week and MWC Special Teams Player of the Week after making three field goals and one PAT that were the difference in Air Force’s 24-14 victory over Army Oct. 29 to claim the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the second year in a row and the 18th time in history.

He also was All-MWC midseason third-team selection by Phil Steele’s Magazine.

Herrington was one of three Falcons selected to the all-MWC first team. Three more made the second team and another received honorable mention.

Herrington is the first Air Force kicker to earn all-conference first-team honors since Joey Ashcroft in 2002.

The Falcons were invited to play Toledo for the first time in the 2011 Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. in RFK Stadium, with ESPN providing television coverage.

Toledo (8-4) was co-champion of the Mid-American Conference West Division with a 7-1 record.

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CLARION – Clarion University senior free safety Shawn Sopic of Curwensville was honored as a first-team selection on the Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-America II Football Team selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and announced last week.

Shawn Sopic (Courtesy of Clarion University Athletic Department)

The 6-3, 215-pounder, one of four defensive backs on the 26-player squad, is the fifth Clarion University athlete to earn that distinction since the program was initiated in 1971, according to the Clarion football website.

Just last year, Golden Eagle linebacker Nick Sipes of Curwensville received the prestigious honor.

Sopic and Sipes teammates on Curwensville Area High School grid teams for four years before enrolling at Clarion in 2007.

“Sopic is so deserving of this award,” Clarion head coach Jay Foster was quoted on the website. “He’s been a model student athlete here at Clarion, a great captain (2011) and leader on our football team since he arrived.

“We are so proud to have him represent Clarion University and our program.”

Sopic has a 3.91 cumulative Grade Point Average as a Chemistry major at Clarion.

“I was very excited to get the phone call and am so honored to receive this award,” Sopic was quoted in the release. “This honor certainly makes all the hard work of being a student athlete very rewarding.

“Coach Foster always talked to us about the benefits of being a student and an athlete. I had some very difficult classes, and football and the classwork demanded a lot of time.

“In the end, this is so rewarding.”

Sopic, the son of Steve Sopic and Barb and Randy Hutton, was a four-year starter in the Clarion secondary, sitting out the 2010 season with a knee injury.

His career statistics show 229 tackles, five interceptions, 16 pass break-ups, two fumbles recovered and three fumbles caused.

Sopic recently was accepted to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine for graduate school, where he will be a Pharmacy major.

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NEW WILMINGTON – Junior Matt Shiner of Clearfield had one point, six rebounds and four steals in two Presidents’ Athletic Conference games for Westminster (2-6) last week.

He grabbed two missed shots and made three steals in 20 minutes Wednesday against Thiel (5-2), which departed Buzz Ridl Gymnasium with a 78-61 to remain atop the PAC at 3-0.

Shiner played 23 minutes and hit a free throw, pulled down four defensive rebounds and logged one steal at Washington & Jefferson (4-6, 2-1) Saturday when the Titans trailed for only 68 seconds but were beaten 65-63 on a buzzer-beater to fall to 1-3 in the PAC.

In eight games with four starts, Shiner has recorded 33 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and six steals.

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