Gaffney and Leggett Named Candidates for Prestigious Senior CLASS Award

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. – For the second straight season, a pair of Lehigh men’s lacrosse student-athletes were named candidates for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, as announced on Thursday. Graduate student Conor Gaffney was named a candidate for a second straight season while senior Teddy Leggett was also named one of the 20 candidates nationally. 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. Gaffney and Leggett are the only two candidates from the entire Patriot League.
 
Lehigh has had a strong tradition of Senior CLASS Award honorees. The Mountain Hawks have now had at least one candidate in eight of the last nine years (with 11 honorees in that time). Lehigh is the only men’s lacrosse program in the country with multiple honorees in three straight years.
 
Gaffney and Andrew Pettit were both named candidates last year (Gaffney is eligible again since he returned for a fifth year after the COVID-19 pandemic cut short the 2020 season). The year prior, Pettit and Craig Chick were both candidates, then when Pettit came back to Lehigh for a fifth year due to his season-ending injury in 2019, he was eligible to be nominated for the honor again.
 
Previous Senior CLASS Award candidates were Cody Triolo in 2017, Casey Eidenshink in 2016, Dan Taylor in 2015, Ty Souders in 2014, Ryan Snyder in 2013 and Jonathan Stumpf in 2011. Chick, Souders and Stumpf were all named finalists.

To be eligible for the Senior CLASS 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.
 
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.
 
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced in conjunction with the 2021 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championship in May.
 
For more information on Lehigh’s candidates, please see below, and all the candidates nation-wide, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
  
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Conor Gaffney
 

Classroom
Gaffney’s academic success is endless, graduating undergrad last spring with a 3.94 GPA as a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Integrated Business and Engineering (Finance). He is now working towards his master’s degree in Management Science and Engineering. Still with a year remaining, he has already tied a Patriot League record by twice winning the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Gaffney is the only Patriot League men’s lacrosse student-athlete ever named a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American. He was named to the second team in 2020. He’s a multi-time winner of the team’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
 
Gaffney has put forth a perfect 4.0 semester GPA on multiple occasions and has been named to the Dean’s List (for a semester GPA of 3.6 or higher) every semester. Gaffney is doing this in two of Lehigh’s most demanding curriculums (Engineering and Finance) at a school that’s tied for 49th nationally in the U.S. News and World Report top national universities. In his first semester of graduate school (fall, 2020), Gaffney posted a perfect 4.0 GPA.
 
Gaffney is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Gaffney won the Elisha P. Wilbur Mathematics Award for the top performance in first-year engineering mathematics courses. He is back at Lehigh for a fifth year via the President’s Scholarship program, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement by undergraduate students by providing a fifth year of study free of tuition.
 
Character
Gaffney is a well-respected team member who has developed into a strong leader by example on the field, in the classroom, in the weight room and more. Gaffney has been heavily involved in Lehigh men’s lacrosse’s Leadership Council (council of voted-upon individuals from each class to handle the vision and goals of the team). In addition, integrity is an important component of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.
 
Gaffney has shown strong leadership in a number of other ways. He is the founder of South Jersey Faceoff Club, founding a youth faceoff instruction and training program that’s run in affiliation with the TRIBAL Lacrosse Club. Gaffney has developed and managed strong relationships with customers through effective communication, managing all logistics, promotions and financials of the business.
 
Community
Gaffney and the Mountain Hawks have continually taken part in community service. Just a few days into every fall semester, the men’s lacrosse program holds its annual community service kickoff for the City of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation.
 
In each of the last four seasons, Lehigh has taken part in the Nicholas Colleluori Classic. Lehigh joined forces with the HEADstrong Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to providing essential services to improve lives affected by cancer. For perspective, in 2017, Lehigh Lacrosse more than quadrupled its initial fundraising goal of $3,000 by raising $13,339 for HEADstrong’s 2017 “Go Lime” campaign. It was the most money raised by any team or group of teams in the entire campaign. Then in 2018, the Mountain Hawks absolutely shattered their goal, raising over $20,000 for the fight against cancer. The strong fundraising has continued the last two years.
 
In addition, every holiday season, Gaffney and the Mountain Hawks take part in Adopt-A-Family where they provide a holiday for a local underprivileged family. The process includes shopping for gifts, wrapping them and delivering them in early December. The pandemic in 2020 changed how things looked, but Lehigh Athletics continued to raise funds and help local families in need, but in different ways (through things like gift cards and without the final in-person meeting).
 
Gaffney also gave back to the community when he was a PPL Electric Utilities intern, taking part in Intern Community Day – completing various tasks to better the community’s appearance.
 
Competition
On the field, Gaffney has been incredibly impressive. Prior to 2020, he was one of just two Patriot League players named a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse. In 2019, Gaffney was named Patriot League Faceoff Specialist of the Year and an honorable mention USILA and Inside Lacrosse All-American. As a junior, Gaffney set league and program records for faceoff wins (249) and groundballs (152) in a season. He finished fourth nationally in faceoff percentage, winning 69.7 percent, including 60 percent or better in 15-of-17 games.
 
Gaffney has won a Patriot League weekly award 14 times in his career – seven as a freshman (Faceoff Specialist of the Week three times and Rookie of the Week four times), four as a sophomore and three as a junior. Gaffney was named first team All-League as a sophomore, finishing first in the league with a 59.4 faceoff percentage which was good for 14th nationally. Gaffney has played a key role in the team’s success, helping the Mountain Hawks to back-to-back Patriot League Championship Games. As a junior, he was named to the All-Tournament Team after winning 15-of-22 vs. Boston University then 18-of-22 (including 13 in a row end to the game) against Army West Point in a truly dominant effort. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Gaffney was ninth nationally in faceoff percentage (65.7 percent).
 
For his career, Gaffney has won 63.9 percent of his faceoffs (669-of-1047) with 391 groundballs. In April of his junior season, Gaffney became the program’s all-time leader for career groundballs.
 
Teddy Leggett
Teddy Leggett 

Classroom
Leggett owns a strong 3.39 GPA as a Bioengineering major (BioMechanics/BioMaterials track). He has been named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll every year (for a semester GPA over 3.2) and has earned a spot on the Dean’s List on multiple occasions. Leggett has also garnered the Faculty Athletics Council Award (also for semester GPA over 3.2). He posted a perfect 4.0 GPA last spring. Leggett has enjoyed success in a challenging major at a prestigious institution that’s tied for 49th nationally in the U.S. News and World Report top national universities
 
Leggett has plenty of applicable experience in his field, most recently serving as a project engineer at ABEC this past spring and summer. Among his tasks while there, he assisted in development and manufacturing of integrated solutions and services for biopharmaceutical companies. Leggett also led a project compiling a database for all component accuracies used in manufacturing, and ran programs to assist in determining sizing for proposals to outside companies. In addition, he has done research at Lehigh, assisting and observing in the use of atomic force microscopy to study the mechanical properties of the lynx protein.
 
Character
Leggett is one of the program’s most influential leaders, serving as captain in 2020 and being named captain again prior to the 2021 season. Leggett is a Student-Athlete Mentor, mentoring a group of first-year student-athletes and assisting them in their transition to Lehigh (both academically and athletically). In 2018, Leggett took part in the P.R.I.D.E. program (Personal Responsibility in Determining Excellence), which is part of the Lehigh Athletics Leadership Academy. The program features comprehensive leadership development programming. Leggett has been heavily involved in Lehigh men’s lacrosse’s internal Leadership Council (council of voted-upon individuals from each class to handle the vision and goals of the team).
 
Community
Leggett and the Mountain Hawks have continually taken part in community service. Just a few days into every fall semester, the men’s lacrosse program holds its annual community service kickoff for the City of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation.
 
In each of the last four seasons, Lehigh has taken part in the Nicholas Colleluori Classic. Lehigh joined forces with the HEADstrong Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to providing essential services to improve lives affected by cancer. For perspective, in 2017, Lehigh Lacrosse more than quadrupled its initial fundraising goal of $3,000 by raising $13,339 for HEADstrong’s 2017 “Go Lime” campaign. It was the most money raised by any team or group of teams in the entire campaign. Then in 2018, the Mountain Hawks absolutely shattered their goal, raising over $20,000 for the fight against cancer. The strong fundraising has continued the last two years.
 
In addition, every holiday season, Leggett and the Mountain Hawks take part in Adopt-A-Family where they provide a holiday for a local underprivileged family. The process includes shopping for gifts, wrapping them and delivering them in early December. The pandemic in 2020 changed how things looked, but Lehigh Athletics continued to raise funds and help local families in need, but in different ways (through things like gift cards and without the final in-person meeting).
 
Competition
Leggett has enjoyed success from day one at Lehigh, primarily at long-stick midfield (and some close defense). As a freshman, Leggett posted 61 groundballs and 20 caused turnovers, being named second team All-Patriot League and garnering the J. Daniel Nolan Award (presented to Lehigh Athletics’ top first-year male student-athlete). He became the first non-faceoff specialist to eclipse 50 groundballs in a season during head coach Kevin Cassese’s 13+ years at Lehigh. Leggett went on to eclipse 50 GBs as a sophomore and was on pace to do it again as a junior before the pandemic cut the season short. As a sophomore in 2019, Leggett recorded career highs of 79 groundballs and 23 caused turnovers and was named second team All-League once again. Also contributing offensively, Leggett had three points as a freshman, three as a sophomore and three as a junior. He was named preseason All-Patriot League prior to 2020. Leggett’s 166 career groundballs are already seventh in program history. In the fall of 2019, Leggett suited up for the Canadian Men’s Senior Field Lacrosse National Team in the Fall Classic in Baltimore, Maryland.
 
Leggett has helped the Mountain Hawks to Patriot League Championship Game appearances in each of his first two seasons (then a 5-1 record to begin 2020). Leggett has been a key part of a strong defensive unit, most recently standing 14th nationally in scoring defense (9.67) in 2020.
 

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