SUNY Cobleskill's Kat Vahsen Selected as 2018-19 NEAC Female SAAC Member of the Year

SUNY Cobleskill's Kat Vahsen Selected as 2018-19 NEAC Female SAAC Member of the Year

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has announced SUNY Cobleskill’s Kat Vahsen as the 2018-19 Female Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Member of the Year. The winner of the 2018-19 NEAC Male SAAC Member of the Year award will be announced tomorrow.

The annual SAAC awards, which began in 2014-15, were established to recognize the multiple contributions of SAAC members throughout the NEAC. Each school has an opportunity to nominate one male and one female SAAC member from their institution based on leadership roles within the group, dedication to community service and involvement on campus. All nominations were reviewed and voted on by the SAAC advisors from each of the NEAC’s 12 full-member institutions.

Vahsen completed her junior year this spring and is a member of the SUNY Cobleskill track and field team. The Wildlife Management major from Stamford, Conn. received an Honorable Mention after last year’s voting and continued to be a pivotal member of SAAC during the 2018-19 academic year. Vahsen was the President of the SUNY Cobleskill SAAC while also serving as a Senior Resident Assistant in the SUNY Cobleskill Residential Life Department. She helped organize a number of major events for the Fighting Tigers throughout the year, including Yards for Yeardley, SUNY’s Got Your Back Initiative and numerous Division III Week activities.

“Kat is a vocal advocate for our student-athletes who is persistent in getting things done,” said Joe Machado, SUNY Cobleskill SAAC Advisor and Head Men’s Soccer Coach. “She has been a major factor in rewriting our SAAC Constitution and Operating Procedures while helping coordinate our “SUNY’s Got Your Back” initiative and our “Yards for Yeardley” program.”

Vahsen has also served as one of SUNY Cobleskill’s representatives on NEAC SAAC and has been a vocal leader throughout the year at the conference level.

“We’ve spent the last year finding ways to increase engagement of our SAAC leaders at the conference level and Kat has been at the forefront of that change,” shared NEAC Assistant Commissioner and SAAC Advisor Stephanie Dutton. “Kat is always willing to provide thoughtful ideas on how to help make NEAC SAAC better while serving as a top-notch representative for SUNY Cobleskill’s student-athletes.”

A team captain for the Fighting Tigers, Vahsen was also recently recognized as the recipient of the 2019 SUNY Cobleskill Female Sportsmanship Award. The award is given annually to the female Fighting Tiger who has exemplified the code of sportsmanship and leadership on the playing field, in the classroom and within the campus community. 

Honorable Mention

Holly Reynolds – Keuka College

Reynolds graduated this spring with a degree in business management with a sports management concentration as a member of the Keuka College golf team. With her initiative and organizational skills, she played an integral role in the Wolves’ SAAC this year and was able to oversee concession operations at sporting events throughout the year to raise money for a local American Region. Reynolds assumed the role of SAAC President in December 2018 after the group’s previous leader graduated. She also worked hard to align the Keuka College SAAC with the NEAC goals by ensuring the group’s efforts were student-led. Reynolds ran all meetings, created agendas and facilitated communication among SAAC representatives. She was also a member of the Keuka College Alpha Sigma Phi, served as team manager for the women’s basketball team and maintained a 3.69 GPA throughout her collegiate career.

Samantha Friend – Penn State Abington

Friend wrapped up her collegiate career as the Penn State Abington SAAC Vice President, helping the Nittany Lions coordinate a variety of activities throughout the year. Abington student-athletes were particularly engaged throughout Division III Week this past April with events that included a night of games for student-athletes and a visit from Dr. Jarrod Spencer from Mind of the Athlete. A psychology major, Friend stayed busy on the field as a dual-sport student-athlete on the women’s soccer and softball teams. Friend was also recognized on campus as the recipient of the 2019 Fred Striet Memorial Award Winner, which honors a student-athlete who demonstrates leadership, character, growth and perfection through sport.


The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Wells College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and with the Colonial State Athletic Conference in the sport of Field Hockey. For more information, please visit: