TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Senior captain and two-time All-American Ryan Puglisi ’22 of the Union College men’s lacrosse team has been named the 2021-22 recipient of the Liberty League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, Liberty League Commissioner Tracy King announced on Monday.
Puglisi is the second Union student-athlete to earn the prestigious honor since the program started in 2013, joining former Union baseball standout Kent Curran ’17, and also is the first men’s lacrosse player to be recognized by the Liberty League. Julia Keogh, a women’s soccer player at William Smith College, was named the conference Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
“I am pleased to announce that Julia Keogh and RyanlPuglisi have been selected as the Liberty League Scholar-Athletes of the Year,” said King. “The Scholar-Athlete awards represent the very best of the Liberty League and intercollegiate athletics – individuals who have achieved at elite levels academically and athletically while emerging as leaders on their campuses. Julia and Ryan epitomize what it means to be Division III student-athletes. Both are All-Liberty League performers, have earned national recognition for athletic and academic success and are individuals of great character. It is only fitting that we recognize the dedication and commitment that they have demonstrated to their academic and athletic pursuits.”
Established following the 2012-13 academic year, the recipients of the Liberty League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award are selected in a vote by the Liberty League member institutions. The awards are presented to graduating student-athletes – one female and one male – who have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their time as student-athletes.
“We are so proud of Ryan for receiving this award,” head coach Derek Witheford ’11 said. “As a three-year captain, Ryan is a first-class person and one of the best leaders I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching, and this has translated into his work in the classroom and in the community. His efforts to better both himself and the people around him have been truly remarkable. He is one of the hardest workers and most humble players that this program has seen, especially considering all that he has accomplished during his time at Union.”
Puglisi graduated in June as one of the most decorated student-athletes in recent Union men’s lacrosse history. On the field, the first three-year captain in team history earned All-America honors from USA Lacrosse Magazine (first team) and the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association as a senior and twice earned USILA All-America laurels during his career. A two-time USILA Preseason All-American as well, he tied for the team lead with 27 caused turnovers and ranked second among Union defensemen with 34 ground balls, helping to anchor a defensive unit that led Union all the way to the Division III national championship game. He finished his career with 97 ground balls and 73 caused turnovers, helping the team to a combined 50-17 record – including a national ranking in every week of his three-year captaincy – and two NCAA Tournament appearances in his five seasons.
In the classroom, Puglisi finished his career with a 3.86 GPA as a mechanical engineering major. He was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America second team in the very competitive Men’s At-Large category and was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, making him the first Union lacrosse player to earn multiple Academic All-District honors. A member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, the Methuen, Mass., native is also a student researcher in the Aerogel Lab and a member of the Orientation Committee on campus. This year, he became the first Union men’s athlete to be a two-time recipient of Union’s Stephen Ritterbush ’68 Award, recognizing a student-athlete who best exemplifies the quality of “sound mind and sound body.”