April 7, 2011
QUEENS, N.Y. -
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recently awarded two St. John's student-athletes, senior women's soccer defender, Nicole Canning and junior baseball infielder Matt Wessinger, with annual All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year awards. The awards recognize the student-athletes' dedication to strength training and conditioning.
The two Red Storm athletes were nominated by Rob Basile, St. John's Director of Strength and Conditioning. This year, the NSCA awarded 247 student-athletes from 96 schools with the esteemed award.
Canning was one of four seniors that led a 2010 women's soccer squad with 18 freshmen. Playing defense for the Red Storm, the Wall, N.J., native went from reserve to starter in her senior season. On defense, Canning helped St. John's to six shutouts in 2010. She was a three-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star and has played in 47 career games, with a goal and two assists. In her final year on the pitch, she took four shots and went from playing 200 minutes in 2008 to 1,247 in 2010.
"Nicole is a wonderful individual with qualities that make her a model student-athlete," said Basile. "Her work ethic, intensity and positive attitude allowed her to make significant gains in fitness and strength. In addition, Nicole continually demonstrated excellent exercise technique and possessed a high degree of knowledge with regards to strength and conditioning training. These qualities have all had a positive influence on her teammates. Her dedication to the training program directly impacted her soccer performance. During her senior season, Nicole's playing time increased significantly as she started in 16 out of 18 games."
Canning is the first-ever St. John's women's soccer player to win this award.
As a sophomore in 2010, Wessinger set new career-highs in runs (51), hits (78), doubles (16), home runs (6) and RBI (52), and capped his season by earning a spot on the NCAA Charlottesville Regional All-Tournament Team after batting .619 (13-for-21) with one double, one triple, two home runs and nine RBI in five NCAA Tournament games. The second baseman batted .312 in 62 games, including 61 starts, and had 23 multi-hit games to go along with 14 multi-RBI contests.
"Matt has made significant improvements in strength, power and speed," remarked Basile. "These performance gains are the direct result of his hard work, energy and positive attitude towards his strength and conditioning training. Since his freshman year, he has matured tremendously and has taken on a leadership role in the weight room. The success that he has achieved in his training has carried over to the diamond and has made a positive impact on his overall baseball performance. During the 2010 season, Matt started 61 out of 62 games and had his best offensive year to date."
Wessinger is the second St. John's baseball player to earn NCSA All-America honors. Current Red Storm volunteer assistant coach Brendan Monaghan earned the honor in 2007 following a first team All-BIG EAST campaign.
The NSCA All-American Athlete of the Year Award program is in its 32nd year, and is made possible by a grant from Power Systems, Inc., a Knoxville, Tenn. Fitness product leader.
"The advantages of strength training and conditioning cannot be denied in collegiate athletics," said Alan Kinniburgh, NSCA's Executive Director. "These student-athletes attest to this understanding, and are to be applauded for their hard work and dedication."