LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Seniors Tom Higgins from the cross country team and Katie Wells of field hockey have been selected as Siena College’s Leo Dufort Student Athletes of the Month for October. These two individuals are being honored for their successes both athletically and academically.
Higgins helped guide the men’s cross country team to a fifth place finish at the MAAC Championship, tying for the program’s best-ever finish (2004). The Hawthorne, N.Y. native placed second on the team and 19th overall in the 8K with a time of 24:37.39 marking the second fastest MAAC Championship time in school history. In the team’s final cross country meet Saturday he led the Saints and placed 19th overall at the Ic4A Championships, running the second fastest Van Cortlandt Park 5-mile time in program history at 26:20.5. Named to the MAAC All-Academic Team in each year of eligibility, Higgins possesses a 3.38 cumulative GPA as an environmental science major.
A native of nearby Niskayuna, N.Y., Wells appeared in 58 games over her four year career, making 29 starts. She appeared in all 16 games including 15 starts this fall for a much improved Siena Field Hockey team which tied for both the program’s most overall and conference wins since 2002. For her work in the classroom she was honored as a three-time member of the MAAC All-Academic Team and a one-time member of the NEC Honor Roll. Wells has a cumulative 3.66 grade point average and is a member of Siena Athletics’ “4.0 Club.”
The Leo Dufort Student Athlete of the Month Award is presented nine times annually (September-May) throughout the academic year. The award recognizes exemplary achievements in both academics and athletics. The late Leo Dufort received a B.S. in marketing and management from Siena in August of 1977. His entire academic career was completed on a part-time basis beginning in the spring of 1961, as a married adult while at the same time raising five children. He passed away suddenly of a heart attack while cross country skiing in February of 1993. His wife Jeanine wanted to do something to immortalize his memory. The original plaque was donated to athletics and the department began the Leo Dufort Student Athlete of the Month Award to help carry out his legacy. Dufort graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1954, was a Navy Veteran (USS Bennington) who worked for JL Hammett Co. at the time of his death.