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Trio of MIT students receives national athletic honors

From left: Joseph Rafidi, Molly McShane and Matt Hohenberger
From left: Joseph Rafidi, Molly McShane and Matt Hohenberger
Photos: DAPER

Seniors Molly McShane and Matt Hohenberger, along with junior Joseph Rafidi, were named to the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large First Team on Tuesday. The three first-team selections tied for the highest tally among Division III programs this year and is tied for the second most in MIT history. The Engineers are the all-time Division III leader in producing Academic All-Americans and currently rank third across all NCAA divisions with 199 honorees.

Sports eligible for the at-large program are: women’s bowling; women’s crew; men’s and women’s fencing; field hockey; men’s and women’s golf; men’s and women’s gymnastics; men’s and women’s ice hockey; men’s and women’s lacrosse; men’s and women’s rifle; men’s and women’s skiing, men’s and women’s swimming and diving; men’s and women’s tennis; men’s volleyball; men’s and women’s water polo; and wrestling.

The recipient of her second straight first-team selection and third overall, McShane earned the ninth honor in the history of the MIT field hockey program. The only player to collect four All-America accolades, she was named the National Field Hockey Coaches Association New England Player of the Year twice and was picked as the NEWMAC Athlete of the Year after leading MIT to its third conference championship in four years. A four-time all-conference first-team award winner, McShane ranked eighth in the nation in assists per game (0.85) while contributing to a defense that had 1.80 goals against average. Majoring in mechanical engineering, she was a residential tutor for the Women's Technology Program, was inducted into the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and served as the president of Alpha Phi.

Hohenberger became the first player in the history of the MIT men’s volleyball team to receive multiple Academic All-America awards as he was tabbed to the second team last year. A two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America selection, he is the only NCAA Division III men’s volleyball player to earn multiple Academic All-America and All-America plaudits. As an outside hitter for the Engineers, Hohenberger ranked third in the nation in kills per set (4.10) and was 17th in aces per set (0.45). He closed his career as the MIT record holder in aces (238) and aces per set (0.60) while finishing second in kills (1,495).

A mechanical engineering major, Hohenberger has a provisional patent for the design of a cart that will transport kegs down flights of stairs into basements of bars. Following graduation, he will be an engineer at Compass Automation, where he will be designing, developing and integrating custom automation systems that help manufacturers optimize their production.

The lone fencer to be voted for Academic All-America accolades this year, Rafidi is MIT’s fourth selection in program history and first since Igor Kopylov ’09 in 2009. As the only Division III epee qualifier at the 2013 NCAA Championship, he finished ninth, which resulted in All-America honorable mention honors and the Engineers’ best epee performance in 18 years. Along with compiling a record of 57-10, Rafidi captured third place at the New England Championship and also earned Northeast Fencing Conference first-team all-star accolades.

Majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, he is conducting research for the User Interface Design Group within the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and has submitted a publication for the Computer Human Interaction 2013 Student Research Competition. In addition, Rafidi’s team captured first place in the MIT 6.570 Mobile App Competition held this past January.

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