KANSAS CITY, Mo. - University of California San Diego men's soccer senior goalkeeper Cameron McElfresh earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA) top academic honor on Friday morning as its NCAA Division II Scholar Player of the Year.
McElfresh (Palo Alto/Henry M. Gunn HS) is a five-year Triton who has maintained a 3.57 cumulative grade-point average in nanoengineering. He is the consensus first-team All-American goalkeeper for 2016, named as such by both the NSCAA and Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) in recent days. McElfresh will complete his undergraduate degree in June, and has already been accepted into UC San Diego graduate school for nanoengineering, actually beginning next month. He also has a pair of minors in mathematics and economics.
McElfresh is one of of two goalies and 13 players on the NSCAA Scholar All-America Team. Senior teammate Kuba Waligorski joins him on that squad as one of six defenders. A native of Szczecin, Poland, the three-year Triton and team captain is a mechanical engineering major with a 3.65 GPA. The center back is himself a consensus All-American, chosen a second-team defender by the NSCAA and D2CCA. Waligorski was also a third-team College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American as a junior in 2015.
McElfresh and Waligorski anchored the nation's No. 4-rated defense during a groundbreaking 2016 season for UC San Diego. The Tritons were first-time champions of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), CCAA Tournament and Division II West Region, advancing on to the national semifinals and ending with a best-ever Division II national ranking of fourth in the final poll.
Alongside its 2016 Scholar All-America honors, the NSCAA simultaneously announced scholar all-region teams on Friday. Five Tritons made the 14-player NSCAA Scholar All-West Region Team, two more than any other program, in McElfresh, Waligorski, Malek Bashti, Riley Harbour and Sam Palano. The NSCAA academic recognition was the first in the careers of all five.
Bashti is a redshirt junior forward with a 3.815 GPA in microbiology, Harbour a senior midfielder with a 3.40 GPA in economics, and Palano a senior forward with a 3.82 GPA in general biology.
Players on this year's Scholar All-America teams will be formally acknowledged for their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom at the NSCAA All-America Luncheon on Jan. 14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in conjunction with the 2017 NSCAA Convention.
Student-athletes receiving scholar honors from the NSCAA meet the criteria of a 3.30 cumulative GPA, starting in more than 50 percent of all games and significantly contributing to their team, being nominated by the head coach of a current NSCAA College Services member institution, and being a junior or above in academic standing. Transfer students must be in their second year at the school.