AURORA, N.Y. – Paul Hernon '15, a member of the Wells College men's cross country and men's volleyball teams during his college career, earned the institution's first-ever Capital One Academic All-American First Team At-Large honor, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Tuesday.
Hernon becomes the first-ever recipient of Academic All-America honors from Wells College and is one of 15 First Team At-Large selections from NCAA Division III colleges and universities across the country. The only student-athlete in North Eastern Athletic Conference history to earn First Team merits, Hernon is the fourth student-athlete in conference history to earn Academic All-American placement of any kind.
One of only three men's volleyball players across NCAA Division III to earn the Nation's most prestigious scholar-athlete award, Hernon is one of 45 student-athletes across 10 sports (fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, swimming, tennis, volleyball, water polo and wrestling) to be selected to the At-Large team. His grade-point average of 4.04 is also the highest amongst the honorees.
Last month, Hernon was one of only nine men's volleyball players nationwide to earn Academic All-District and only one of six from NCAA Division III institutions. He was the third student-athlete from Wells to earn All-District merits, joining two-time recipient Shannon Blanford (Fayetteville, N.Y.) of the women's soccer team and Taryn Heath (Truxton, N.Y.) from women's tennis and women's volleyball.
A two-sport athlete at Wells, he graduated from Wells in May with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Adolescence Education. Just after graduation, Hernon collected the NEAC SAAC Member of the Year award in recognition of his dedication to community service and his involvement on campus.
The recipient of the Kathryn S. Maloney Senior Scholar-Athlete Award at the Athletics Awards Banquet in late April, Hernon wrapped up his Wells College career with a cumulative grade-point average of 4.037, earning Dean's List honors during his tenure in Aurora. A NEAC Scholar-Athlete recipient in 2012-13 and 2013-14, Hernon also served the campus community in a variety of roles, including Vice President of the Collegiate Cabinet and the Vice Chair of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
As a senior on Head Coach Richard Gary's men's volleyball team, Hernon finished as the North Eastern Athletic Conference leader with 1.20 blocks per set against NEAC opponents and was the conference's overall leader in blocks per set (1.16). On a national scale, Hernon ranked fifth amongst all NCAA Division III men's volleyball players with 1.19 blocks per set and was the eighth-ranked active player across the country with 0.87 career blocks per set.
Offensively, Hernon chipped in with a .228 attacking percentage in 2015, racking up a career-best 130 kills for Wells on 312 swings. He also posted 111 total blocks as a senior, leading the team with 17 solo blocks and 94 block assists. He graduates as the all-time men's volleyball record holder in solo blocks (49), block assists (217), total blocks (266), blocks per set (0.86), sets played (310) and matches played (98).
A member of the inaugural men's volleyball team in 2012, Hernon and the Express qualified for their first-ever NEAC postseason appearance in 2015. He was also a key cog in the construction of the men's volleyball team at Wells, playing in the most matches in team history (98), missing only seven matches across his career.
With the men's cross country team, Hernon earned Third Team All-Conference merits as a junior and led all runners on the team three separate times as a senior. A two-time participant at the NCAA Division III Atlantic Regional race, Hernon boasts the fourth-fastest 8K time in team history (29:43.20) and holds the fifth-fastest 6K time (22:02.70).
At Wells, Hernon won the Lesley Wead Zabriskie Express award for men's volleyball and men's cross country in 2015 and has won Rookie of the Year for men's volleyball in 2012. He has also racked up Most Valuable Player honors in men's volleyball and men's cross country as a junior, serving as a team captain in 2013.