UNCW’s Rafael Aita and Dylan Skinner are among the 11 student-athletes honored by the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) as recipients of the CAA Scholar-Athlete Award for the spring sports season.
Aita, a two-time CAA Player of the Year in men’s tennis, and Skinner, a record-setting middle distance specialist in track and field, give the Seahawks three of the league’s top academic recipients for the 2013-14 year. Senior Christi Laite earned volleyball’s top honor in December.
The CAA honors one scholar-athlete in each of its 21 championship sports. Nominees for the award must be a starter or important reserve on their team and must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25. The winners were selected by a vote of the media relations directors at each CAA institution.
A business administration major, Aita is a three-time recipient of the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award. He made the Dean’s List in five semesters and received the Golden Seahawk Award during his final three years at UNCW. Aita earned CAA Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season in 2014 and was also named the Most Outstanding Player at the CAA Championship after leading the Seahawks to their fourth title in the last six years. He went 14-6 at No. 1 singles and was ranked 59th in the final ITA national rankings. Aita, who was honored in late April as the recipient of the Thomas V. Moseley Award as UNCW’s Outstanding Male Student-Athlete at UNCW, competed in the NCAA Singles Championship for the second year in a row.
Skinner, a biology/pre-med major, is a two-time recipient of the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award. He made the Dean’s List the past four semesters and has twice been honored with the Golden Seahawk Award. On the track, Skinner was the CAA champion in the 800 meters. He advanced to the second round of the 800 meters at the NCAA East Regionals and set a school record in the event. Skinner was also a member of UNCW’s first-place 4X400 relay team at the CAA Championship and helped the Seahawks capture the team championship for the first time since 2009.