Heap among America’s best

Dillon Heap just keeps adding to his impressive resumé.

The fourth-year receiver has already garnered recognition for his play on the field – being named a provincial all-star twice and an All-Canadian once, to go along with winning last year’s President’s Award as Laurier’s top male athlete – but what’s almost more impressive is how he’s complemented those honours in the classroom.

Heap has twice been recognized as a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Academic All-Canadian and last year he won Laurier’s Luke Fusco Academic Athletic Achievement Award. And now, the Waterloo native can add making the ESPN Academic All-America district team to his long list of accolades.

“It feels great, but it’s certainly something I never expected,” said Heap. “To be recognized for all of North America is definitely a great honour.”

Every year, the College Sports Information Directors Association, in conjunction with ESPN, recognizes athletes who also excel in academics. There are two divisions, one encompassing National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division One schools and another that is comprised of NCAA Division Two and Three schools, American junior colleges and Canadian universities.

Heap’s 11.4 GPA earned him a spot on the second team, making him the only Canadian football player to be honoured this season. This also marks the first time that a Laurier athlete has been named to the Academic All-District team.

“I didn’t really look into it too much, but I know I was the only Canadian football player this year, so it’s definitely a big honour,” said Heap. “It’ kind of hard to tell the magnitude of it, but it’s certainly something I’m proud of.”

Heap, a business major, says his secret to academic success is relatively simple.

“It’s just a matter of focus and dedication,” he said. “I’ve been able to manage my time well and make some sacrifices. Sometimes I’ve had to sacrifice some leisure activities, especially during crunch-time during football season.”

To go along with his academic performance, Heap has also been one of the Hawks’ most consistent performers on the field over the past two years. Heap has led the purple and gold in receiving each of the past two seasons, while setting a CIS record for punt return yardage in 2009.

And with a year of eligibility left, the explosive receiver/ kick returner intends on coming back for one more season with the Hawks.

“As of now, I’m back next year,” he said. “I have a year left to play and I think we have some unfinished business as a team.”