OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Pat Frazier and Nikko Pontrello were named two of the 20 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award on Wednesday afternoon, making Loyola University Maryland the only school nationally with more than one student-athlete up for the men's lacrosse award.
Frazier and Pontrello are the fifth and sixth Greyhounds to be candidates for the award over the past three seasons -- joining Davis Butts and Scott Ratliff in 2013 and Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward last year. Loyola's six candidates are the most nationally during that stretch.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Frazier, who earlier this year was named the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USiLA) Defensive Player of the Week after a standout performance against Penn State University, is a three-year starter on close defense for the Greyhounds after starting off his career as a walk-on.
He has excelled in the classroom, as well, and he entered his final semester at Loyola with a grade-point average of 3.66 in his major, business administration. During the summer of 2014, Frazier held an position with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as an Insider Trading/Fraud Detection Intern. There, he conducted reviews and investigations to compile evidence of potentially fraudulent or illegal conduct and assisted analysts and managers analyze accounts and financial activity of suspected insider trading.
Frazier was a Preseason All-Patriot League pick and Preseason All-American on the field. Through five games this season, Frazier is third on the team with 19 ground balls and second with seven caused turnovers. He became a starter for the Greyhounds three games into his sophomore season in 2012, and last year, the Marylander helped Loyola's defense limit teams to an average of 7.47 goals per game. He picked up 27 ground balls and caused nine turnovers for the Greyhounds.
Off the field, he is the co-president of Loyola's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and member of Loyola's Green & Grey Society. Green 7 Grey is a group of 14 students at the school who serve as liaisons to the University's president, administration and board of trustees. He was selected amongst seven men and seven women from the senior class through a competitive nomination process by University executives and administrators in recognition of their contributions to the Loyola community.
Pontrello is a returning USILA All-American who was named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team and All-American Second Team prior to 2015. He, like Frazier, has been a member of the Loyola Dean's List and also has been an honors student in the Sellinger School of Business. He has interned with MatchPoint Consulting in the Philadelphia areas.
In earning All-Patriot League First Team and All-American Honorable Mention as a junior in 2014, Pontrello became one of four Loyola players to score 50 goals in a single-season, leading the team with 51 a year ago, third-most in school history. He also had 12 assists for 63 points, and his 3.0 goals per game last year ranked fifth in NCAA Division I.
This year, Pontrello is second on the team with 17 points, scoring eight goals and distributing nine assists through five games. Pontrello and Frazier are also both co-captains for the Greyhounds.
Both players were selected in the 2015 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Entry Draft in January. Pontrello was a first-round selection of the reigning MLL Champion Denver Outlaws, and Frazier was picked in the fifth round by the Florida Launch.
The 20 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Pontrello, Frazier and the Greyhounds are back in action on Saturday, March 7, in Durham, North Carolina, where they will take on fifth-ranked Duke University at 1 p.m. in a game broadcast by ESPN3.