Westerberg, Vallone, Gearity Named MSU Athletes of the Week for February 21

Montclair, NJ (2/21/11) - Sophomore swimmer Zak Westerberg (Hamilton, NJ / Hamilton North) was named MSU Athlete of the Week on the men's side while swimmer Ashley Vallone (Park Ridge, NJ / Park Ridge) and track standout Heather Gearity (Rutherford, NJ / Rutherford) share the women's honor. It is the second award of the year for both Vallone (above left) and Gearity.

Westerberg was part of five school records - two individual and three relays as he helped MSU place fifth at the Metropolitan Swimming and Diving Championships. Westerberg broke the 24-year-old record in the 50 freestyle as he swam 21.14 to place ninth. He was 12th in the 200 butterfly (2:01.22) and then had the lead leg in the second-place 800 free relay unit (7:03.01) that set a school record. Westerberg was the anchor leg in the 200 freestyle relay that posted an new school record in finishing fourth at 1:25.17 and he capped off the meet by setting a new record in the 100 freestyle (47.07) on the leadoff leg of the 400 freestyle relay that finished fourth at 3:09.91, another school record.

Gearity collects her second Athlete of the Week accolade following an tremendous day for Montclair State as the Red Hawks finished fifth at the NJAC Indoor Championships held at The Armory. Gearity won the conference title in the 400 meters and then helped the 4x400 relay team to an NJAC title as both events produced NCAA provisional qualifying times. Gearity earned the conference title in the 400 meters as she posted a winning time and personal best of 57.97 meters which is good enough to put her on the provisional list. She ran the anchor leg on the 4x400 team that ran 3:57.89, winning the championship by .02 seconds and qualifying for the NCAAs. Gearity also finished seventh in the long jump (personal best 5.00 meters) and 11th in the high jump (1.48 meters).

Vallone had an outstanding meet for the Red Hawks with two individual school records, another in a relay as well as five Top 5 finishes total (2 individual, 4 relay) helping MSU place seventh at the Metropolitan Championships. Vallone, who wins her second Athlete of the Week honor, set a new school record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.28 to place fourth. She was 10th in the 100 butterfly (1:01.27) and swam the lead leg of the 400 freestyle team that placed fifth with a time of 3:40.88 (just .12 off the school record). In that event she broke her own record in 100 freestyle set earlier in the day as she swam 53.39 to start the race. Vallone was fifth in the 100 free at 53.73 and also swam on the 800 free relay that placed 5th (8:07.41) and the 400 medley relay that estbalished a new Montclair State record in the event.