TOWSON, Md. — Scranton's Sarah Payonk has been named the Landmark Women's Basketball Senior Scholar Athlete for the 2016-17 season. Payonk is the 29th Royal to earn senior scholar recognition, is the third women's basketball player for Scranton, and is the fifth Royal in this academic year (Matthew Busch – Men's Soccer, Erin Casey – Women's Soccer, Jimmy Buckley – Men's Cross Country, John Vitkus - Men's Basketball).
Payonk led the Lady Royals to a 26-4 overall mark in 2016-17, as Scranton captured its second straight Landmark Conference championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons.
Off the court, the three-time Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll selection has tabulated an impressive a 3.87 grade point average as a Nursing major at the University of the Scranton. For her efforts, she was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team earlier this season, as well.
Payonk, who was both an All-Landmark Conference First Team selection and a D3Hoops.com All-Mid-Atlantic Region First pick, finished the 2016-17 campaign averaging 11 points per contest, while pulling down 9.4 rebounds a game. Payonk also dished out a team-high 140 assists, while posting 45 steals and 31 blocks, as well.
The 2015-16 Landmark Conference Player of the Year, Payonk will also finish her career etching her name in several of statistical categories in program history, including career total rebounds, where she will end her career as the program's all-time leading rebounder at 1,099 total rebounds.
The 10th highest scorer in program history at 1,319 points, Payonk finishes her career second all-time in assists (511), third in blocks (165), fourth in free throws made (337), and eighth in steals (221).
The Landmark Conference selects 20 senior scholar athletes each year to recognize the top student-athlete in each sport based on academics and athletics.
The honorees must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.20 and are selected by a committee of Landmark Conference officers, athletics directors, faculty athletic representatives, senior woman administrators, and sports information directors.