FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Former Northgate and current Methodist University men's lacrosse player Jake Smerka was named the University's Mason Sykes Cup winner for the 2016-17 season on Wednesday.
The award, named for former MU soccer coach Mason Sykes, has been given annually to the university's top student-athlete since 1986.
Chosen in a vote of the department's coaches, the winner must display outstanding athletic achievement and possess a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
This caps a remarkable season for the recently graduated Smerka, who was also named the Southeast Independent Lacrosse Conference's (SEILC) Offensive Player of the Year.
Smerka also took home the Methodist Senior Male Athlete of the Year award.
"Jake Smerka was a great leader on and off the field," said Coach Zach Nedbalski. "Jake had a tremendous year for the lacrosse program and I believe that he was more excited to see his teammates make plays than making plays himself. I'm very proud of all his accomplishments during his time at MU."
In 18 games, Smerka posted a team-high 47 goals to go with 22 assists for 69 total points. He had four game-winning goals, including the overtime winner in a 13-12 win over eventual NCAA Tournament qualifier Misericordia. Smerka finished the season ranked sixth in NCAA Division III with 12 man-up goals and also contributed 44 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers for a Monarch team that won a school-record 15 games (15-3) en route to their first-ever SEILC Championship.
Smerka graduated as the program's all-time leader in goals (139), assists (59) and points (198), and was a three-time all-conference performer.
The award will be formally presented at the University's fall convocation.