Senior MIT water polo student-athlete Craig Cheney has been awarded a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Postgraduate Scholarship. The NCAA selected 29 male athletes and 29 female athletes from all fall sports and all three divisions to receive a $7,500 award for postgrad study. In the 47 years since the first MIT student-athlete earned this honor, Cheney is the first water polo player to be added to the list.
Among the 29 male athletes selected from football, soccer, cross country, and water polo, Cheney was the only water polo student-athlete to be honored. Candidates who excel academically and athletically are nominated by the school's faculty athletics representative and screened by regional selection committees. Recipients are then selected by the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee.
Cheney enjoyed a successful four-year career with the Engineers, leaving his mark in a variety of ways. He wrapped up his senior season second on the team in both goals (49) and assists (22), and first in steals (73), ejections drawn (40), blocks (15), and rebounds (16). His 204 career goals has him atop the MIT record book, edging out Devin Lewis '10 by just two goals. Cheney was an Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) second team All-American, a Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) First Team All-Conference honoree, and a CWPA Division III All-Tournament first team selection. He was also named the conference's Player of the Week twice throughout the 2013 season.
Academically, Cheney's accomplishments are equally impressive. He maintains a 4.9 grade point average (5.0 scale) while pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. He was one of five Engineers to earn ACWPC All-Academic outstanding distinction honors, helping to lead the MIT water polo team to post the highest GPA in the country.
"I am very proud of Craig for receiving the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and I am happy to have had the opportunity to coach him last season," says first-year water polo head coach Ivan Ivovic. "Craig has always demonstrated the highest level of leadership and has been a great role model for the whole team."
After graduation, Cheney will return to MIT as a graduate student and pursue a master's degree in mechanical engineering with a main focus on robotics, electronics, and controls. He plans to remain involved with the water polo team, but will switch up his duties slightly, taking over as one of the assistant coaches in the fall.