VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Two Penn State New Kensington student-athletes were announced as the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Student-Athlete of the Year for their sports. Senior volleyball player Kalea Flick (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) was named the USCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Student-Athlete of the Year and sophomore Benjamin Midlik (Hempfield Twp., Pa./Hempfield) was tapped as the USCAA Division II Men's Soccer Student-Athlete of the Year. Flick and Midlik received their awards at the USCAA Fall Championships Banquet.
A committee comprised of USCAA National Office members, board members, and member athletic directors select one Student-Athlete of the Year in each USCAA-sponsored sport and division each year. The award emphasizes academic achievement and community involvement.
Flick, who will be graduating in May after just three years in college, adds the Student-Athlete of the Year to a long list of awards during her tenure at Penn State New Kensington. At the USCAA banquet, Flick also received her second association National All-Academic Team award, and she has twice been named to the Penn State University Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference team. A biobehavior health major, Flick carries a 3.77 grade point average and won the College Academic Award for the College of Health and Human Development in spring 2018 for having the highest grade point average in that college at the New Kensington campus.
Flick is a two-time PSUAC All-Conference Honorable Mention selection and last year earned USCAA All-American 2nd Team accolades. In April, she was named the YWCA Westmoreland County Sportswoman of the Year in a team sport.
In addition, Flick is the secretary/treasurer of the Biobehavioral Health club and also serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. In the community, she volunteers at the Knead Community Café in downtown New Kensington and with the Pave the Clay - Steve King Foundation benefitting injured drivers.
Midlik is an electrical engineering major and has earned a 3.9 grade point average in his time at Penn State New Kensington. He received the USCAA National All-Academic Team award at the banquet Thursday night and also has a PSUAC Academic All-Conference award under his belt. Midlik was a part of the Green Roof Project in New Kensington where he collaborated with others to give a presentation of the group's research and make a three-dimensional home model.
A captain for the men's soccer team that finished third in the PSUAC, Midlik is a formidable center midfielder and was named to the PSUAC All-Conference 2nd Team this fall.
On campus, he is president of the PSU New Kensington math club, while off campus he involves himself with a variety of local charitable organizations. Midlik volunteers with the youth group at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, Pa., the Food Bank of Westmoreland County, and Meals on Wheels.
Flick and Midlik join golfer Daniele Smith as the only Penn State New Kensington students to have won this prestigious award. Smith earned his honor in fall 2017.