March 30, 2012
QUEENS, N.Y. - Four Red Storm student-athletes and one member of the St. John's pep band will be inducted into the prestigious St. John's University President's Society this April. Men's basketball player God'sgift Achiuwa, along with fellow rising seniors Mariana Barrios of the women's golf team, Gabriela Petkova of the volleyball program and men's soccer player Alex Naples - in addition to trombone player Emily Trefry of the pep band - will serve as STJ President's Society members for the 2012-13 year.
Founded in 1968, The President's Society is the highest honor society in the University. It consists of those students who combine scholarship, integrity and maturity with leadership skills demonstrated by their significant contribution to the extracurricular life of the University. Members of the Society are considered part of the President's official staff and are designated special duties at University functions. They are often paired with prominent alumni, world leaders and well-known humanitarians. The society is an opportunity to make connections and build a network, as well as realize roles as leaders in something even greater: the St. John's Family.
"The President's Society offers our finest students the opportunity to tell and retell the St. John's story in their own words to a variety of important audiences," said Dr. Pamela Shea-Byrnes, Vice President for University and University Events, who serves as coordinator of the President's Society.
"We are extremely proud of all of our student-athletes that have the opportunity to participate in the University's President's Society," said Chris Monasch, Director of Athletics. "They represent the best of St. John's, and personify our Red Storm Athletics Mission of `Win. Graduate. Serve'."
Achiuwa, a 6-8, 236-pound bruising athlete with an 87-inch wingspan from Port Harcourt, River States, Nigeria via Erie Community College (N.Y.), finished third on the men's basketball squad in scoring (9.4 points per game) and second in rebounding (5.8 per game), and his team-best 53.4 percent shooting from the floor was tied for sixth among all BIG EAST players. The former two-time NJCAA All-American went 6-for-6 against Lehigh for 21 points (Nov. 9), 7-for-7 at DePaul (Feb. 1) for 15 points and 8-of-9 at Pitt (Feb. 29) for 17 points. God'sgift (21) is the third of six children born to Eunice and Donatus Achiuwa, a minister, of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He has one older brother, Promise, and two younger brothers, God'swill and Precious. He also has one older sister, Grace, and one younger sister, Peace.
A former Colombian National junior champion, Barrios has excelled on the course and in the classroom at St. John's, collecting five top-10 finishes and twice being named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team. After redshirting in 2008-09, Barrios posted an 82.33 stroke average with three top-10 finishes in 2009-10, both third best on team. She kept up her solid play into 2010-11, playing in all 10 events for the Red Storm, opening the season with a tie for eighth at the Towson Women's Invitational (Sept. 13-14, 2010), then tying for 12th at the Rutgers Women's Invitational (Oct. 15-16, 2010). She posted her best round of the year, a 69 (-3), in the final round of the EKU El Diablo Intercollegiate (March 10-12, 2011) to finish 10th. So far this year, Barrios has posted a season-low of 78 (+6), which came in the Richmond Spider Invitational (Oct. 10-11), where the Red Storm took the team title. Barrios is in the St. John's five-year combined degree program and expects to graduate in the fall of 2012 with a finance degree, then receive her M.B.A. in the fall of 2013.
A setter/libero from Sofia, Bulgaria, Petkova has played in 90 of 92 matches in her three-year career with the Red Storm. As the team's primary passer, Petkova notched 45 assists in the 2011 season finale at Rutgers to become the fifth member of the 2,000-assist club with 2,041 career assists. A 2010 CoSIDA ESPN Academic All-District Team member, the Red Storm captain took on a new role at the end of her sophomore campaign. In her first match starting at the libero position, Petkova recorded what was then a career-high 29 digs at DePaul (Oct. 31), and later surpassed that mark with a career-best 30 at Seton Hall (Nov. 12). Entering her senior season, she has 864 career digs and leads the Red Storm with 17 double-doubles. A two-time selection to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team, Petkova is an accounting major and boasts a 3.89 grade point average.
Naples excelled after being forced into the starting role in goal this past season, earning BIG EAST All-Tournament Team honors and helping the Red Storm capture its conference-record ninth BIG EAST Tournament crown and the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The goalkeeper posted three shutouts and a 0.25 goals against average in the squad's four-game run to the title, which culminated with a thrilling 1-0 golden goal triumph against Connecticut in the Finals played at Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls. Naples made nine appearances, eight starts, this past season and finished 4-3-1 with four shutouts and a 0.47 goals against average.
Alanna Dunn of the women`s fencing team, Lindsey Hall and Jen Leaverton of the women's soccer program and Ece Firat and Ksenia Mikhaylova of the women's tennis team were inducted into the St. John's University President's Society for the 2011-2012 academic year and will all earn undergraduate degrees this May.