MARSHFIELD, MA - The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) has announced Vanessa Vurno (Salem, CT) as the Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year.
The NECC Senior Student-Athlete of the Year award is given annually to the top seniors in the conference, and is determined by a vote of the conference's Athletic Directors. The award recognizes athletic and academic successes, while also factoring in leadership and community service components.
Vanessa Vurno was a highly decorated women's lacrosse athlete for the Blazers, and made a significant impact the second she stepped on the field. As a freshman, Vurno set the program record for points in a season with 79, tallying 46 goals, third-most in program history, and 33 assists, a new program record at the time. She was named the NECC Rookie of the Year for her efforts.
She continued to excel on the field as an attack for the Blazers, and was named NECC first team All-Conference in each of her four years. She led the Blazers to the programs first NECC title and NCAA berth in her junior year. Vurno finished her career as Elms' all-time program leader in points (345), assists (145) and goals (200).
Vurno's success followed her into the classroom. A nursing major, she was an NECC All-Academic Selection in 2017, 2018 and 2019, as well as a member of the Elms 360 Club, which is awarded annually to individuals who have achieved a 3.6 GPA or higher in two consecutive semesters.
Vurno was a leader in both the athletic and academic realms. She served as team captain on the lacrosse team, and served as co-chair of Elms' undergraduate Student Nurse Council (SNC). In her role as co-chair, she acted as a mentor to her peers, as well as a liaison between students and faculty, listening to student concerns and working with professors to enact change.
Serving communities near and far is also important to Vurno, who spent her 2019 spring break on a service trip to Mandeville, Jamaica. She spent her break providing service to the Jamaican residents in schools, parishes, nursing homes and infirmaries.
Elms Athletic Director Dr. Michael Theulen is relatively new to the role, coming to Elms in the fall of 2018, but he quickly saw how much of an impact Vurno had on campus. "Vanessa Vurno has been an excellent role model over her four years at Elms College. She has excelled on the field, in the classroom, and in the community," said Theulen. "Vanessa epitomizes the NCAA Division III ideal: Student-Athlete leader. Our Blazer athletic family is, indeed, very proud of Vanessa!"
Vurno plans to work her way up to an intensive care unit nurse following graduation.