B'ville grad & Hartwick QB Boltus nation's best

Hartwick College TMs Jason Boltus (Baldwinsville, N.Y./CW Baker) has been named as the recipient of the 15th Annual Melberger Award, it was announced Monday afternoon.

The Melberger Award is given to the nation TMs top player in the NCAA Division III ranks. The award is presented by Diversified Information Technologies in honor of its founder and chairman, Clifford K. Melberger, who served as team captain of the 1960 Bucknell squad, which won the Lambert Cup. The Melberger has been handed out since 1993 and since the inaugural year, only two schools have had more than one winner. Mount Union has produced four recipients, while Hartwick has two on its resume. This news comes days after the Hartwick signal-caller was named one of four national finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy as well as being selected as the All-East Region Offensive Player of the Year.

This is quite an honor for Jason, said Hartwick head coach Mark Carr upon hearing the news. It TMs a team effort, but Jason certainly earned this award. He worked very hard over the year; had a great season, and helped guide us to where no other Hartwick football team had gone before. He should be very proud of what he has accomplished this year.

Boltus, the 2007 Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year, becomes Hartwick TMs second-ever Melberger winner. In 2002, former Hawk standout Dan Pincelli garnered the award after throwing for 3,208 yards and 36 touchdowns en route to being named the Empire 8 Player of the Year. As a senior, Pincelli, who averaged 320.8 yards passing, guided Hartwick to an 8-2 overall record and a win over Curry College in the ECAC North Atlantic title game. Boltus is also the second-consecutive E8 quarterback to receive the honor. Last year TMs winner was Chris Sharpe of Springfield College.

In 2007, Boltus TM accomplishments have been widely chronicled as he completed one of the most successful single seasons of any student-athlete to suit up for Hartwick. Including his effort in the opening round of the NCAA playoffs against Curry, the junior continues to lead the nation in total offense (399.7 ypg), passing yards per game average (362.4 ypg), and ranks 16th in the land in passing efficiency (152.0). In 11 games, he threw 38 touchdowns and completed 237 of 443 attempts as he led Hartwick to its first-ever Empire 8 conference title (shared) and first-ever trip to the NCAA play-offs. The Hawks finished 8-3 overall. Additionally, Boltus rushed for 418 yards and seven touchdowns in 2007.

Another item candidates are judged on is leadership and community service. Boltus, a two-sport athlete (football and lacrosse) at Hartwick, served as a team captain for the football team in 2007. Additionally, he is an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board and has participated in the Empire 8 Conference Leadership workshop and has helped move freshmen into their dorms. Off campus, Boltus assisted Southern Tier flood victims in the Summer of 2006 and has volunteered as a coach at youth football camps among other activities.

There will be a formal presentation on Hartwick TMs campus in January or February in which Boltus will accept the trophy.

courtesy: Hartwick Athletics

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