Albert Lea grad among Gophers to earn scholar award

Published 9:38 pm Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Big Ten Conference announced its 2017-18 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award winners, and 108 student athletes from 21 Gophers programs represented the University of Minnesota among the selections.

The total number of student athletes shatters the Gophers’ previous record high of 86 honored in the 2011-12 school year and bests last year’s total of 83 by nearly 120 percent. Additionally, Minnesota amassed the most representatives from a single team for seven different sports: women’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s gymnastics, men’s hockey, softball, women’s swimming and diving, and women’s track and field.

The Gophers also boasted 13 student athletes with a perfect 4.00 GPA during the last academic year, including Rúnar Arnorsson (men’s golf), Sydney Baldwin (women’s hockey), Meleah Biermaier (women’s track and field) Molly Fiedler (soccer), Sabrine Garrison (women’s golf), Mariam Khamis (women’s swimming and diving), Lindsey (Horejsi) Kozelsky (women’s swimming and diving), Alan LeBlang (men’s swimming and diving), Patty O’Brien (women’s cross country and track and field), Miles Patton (wrestling), Chris Pfarr (wrestling), Madeline Strandemo (women’s cross country and track and field), Rylee Streifel (wrestling), and Maggie Werba (women’s swimming and diving).

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Faculty representatives from each Big Ten university established the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2008 to supplement the Academic All-Big Ten program. Recipients must receive All-Big Ten recognition during the previous academic year, be enrolled full time at the institution for the entire previous academic year (two semesters or three quarters), and earn a minimum of a 3.70 GPA, excluding summer classes. The Academic All-Big Ten threshold is a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for a student’s academic career.