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Previous Student-Athletes of the Month

Each month, the McNamara Academic Center for Student-Athletes (MAC) will recognize one male and one female University of Minnesota student-athlete for their academic achievements. The winners are determined by a number of factors evaluated on a monthly basis. Including, but not limited to outstanding test/exam results, GPA improvements, superior modeling in study habits and skills, academic praise from instructors, and overall grade reports for a given semester.

December 2016

Nanne Tyler

Tyler Nanne is a redshirt freshman from Edina, MN on the men's hockey team and is this month's male student-athlete of the month. Tyler transferred to Minnesota in the fall from Ohio State and plans to major in Business, Marketing & Education. Academic Counselor, Chris Cords, nominated Tyler for this award saying, "Tyler's commitment to his academics has been apparent since arriving at Minnesota. He has done everything asked of him in the classroom and has approached his work in a positive and energetic manner"


Brooke Zeiger is a junior from Rhode Island on the women's swimming team and is this month's female student-athlete of the month. Brooke is a Child Psychology major and earned Academic All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore. Academic Counselor, Chris Cords, nominated Brooke for this award saying "Brooke has shown a commitment to her academics and has put forth a tremendous amount of effort toward succeeding in her classes. Her leadership among her peers has become evident as a result of this commitment.". Head Coach Kelly Kramer adds to this saying, "I could not be more proud of Brooke. her commitment in the classroom and in the pool embodies exactly what we are looking for in student-athletes."

Zerger Brooke

November 2016

Anderson Toby

Luke Aldrich is a junior from Amhert, Massachusetts on the men's gymnastics team and is the male student-athlete of the month. Academic Counselor, Laura Schnell, nominated Luke for this award saying "Luke has maintained a GPA over 3.7 while majoring in Biology and taking the prerequisites for pharmacy graduate school. He has shown an impressive ability to be disciplined in his academics and athletics while performing at a high level." Mike Burns, Head Coach of the Men's Gymnastics team echoes this saying, "Luke has been a model student-athlete since his arrival here two years ago. A rock star in the classroom, he has also make great strides in the gym and should be poised to see a lot more action this year."


Tori Burnett is a junior on the women's soccer team from Colorado Springs, CO and is our female-student athlete of the month. Majoring in physiology, Tori was named Academic All-Big Ten last year as well as Most outstanding Defensive player and named to the All-Tournament team this year. Her academic advisor Kyle Quagliana added,"Tori is a excellent leader for the soccer program on the field and in the classroom. She has an incredibly strong commitment to excellence, and helps inspire her peers to succeed."

Burnett Tori

October 2016

Anderson Toby

Zo Craighton is a redshirt freshman on the football team as a defensive back. Originally from Geismar, Lousiana, Zo is looking to major in Business and Marketing Education. MAC staff member, Stephanie Shuey, nominated Zo for this award saying "Zo shows up everyday to tutoring with an awareness of what he needs to do to be successful and does so with a great attitude. He has done a great job of balancing football and school this semester and his dedication to doing well in the classroom is showing." Coach Claeys adds to this saying, "Zo works extremely hard in the classroom and has continues to make academics a priority. I am proud of his dedication to achieving excellence in the classroom."


Bailey Abernathy is a senior on the women's gymnastics team and is October's female student-athlete of the month. Originally from Denver, Colorado - Bailey is majoring in Physiology with a minor in Spanish Studies. Academic Counselor, Laura Schnell, nominated Bailey for this award saying "Bailey is a very motivated individual. With a GPA above 3.8 in honors physiology, she has shown how to maange a very demaning athletic, academic and extracurricular schedule. She is currently going through the process of applying to medical schools, which is a rigarous process in itself. I'm excited to see where Bailey goes next!"

Strandemo Madeline

September 2016

Anderson Toby

Toby Anderson, a senior pitcher on the Gopher baseball team, is September's male student-athlete of the month. Toby is from Nampa, Idaho and is majoring in Sport Management. Academic Counselor, Ky Burgess, nominated Toby for this award saying "I am very proud of Toby's work ethic and leadership this semester juggling his academics, baseball, and his internship with the Student-Athlete Development department. He has assisted Anissa and her staff with the Hope Day Festival along with helping them set up Pro Day coming up in a couple of weeks. He has also volunteered his time to help at other events and has encouraged other underclassmen to join him in volunteering. He is a great example of how student-athletes at the U win both on the field and in life."


Madeline Strandemo, a redshirt junior on the women's cross country team, is September's female student-athlete of the month. Madeline is from Fargo, ND and is double majoring in Marketing and Asian Languages and Literature. Academic Counselor, Laura Schnell, nominated Madeline for this award saying, "As a two-time Academic All-Big Ten Honoree and top-20 finisher in the 2015 Big Ten Championships, Madeline has impressed me with her dedication to her studies while balancing a busy athletic schedule. In addition, she has found time to study abroad and gain valuable professional experience in her first few years as a Gopher."

Strandemo Madeline

August 2016

Ellie Cowger

Dupree McBrayer, a Sophomore guard on the men's basketball team, is the male student-athlete of the month for August. Dupree did an excellent job in his two classes this summer, and had a contagious positive work ethic. He also served as an outstanding academic role model for the new freshman. Kyle Quagliana, the Academic Counselor for the Men's Basketball team explained, "Dupree was awesome to work with this summer. He did an excellent job communicating, working hard and pushing others academically. He is certainly a rising star on this team".


Taylor Morgan is a red-shirt freshman on the volleyball team and is the female student-athlete of the month for August. She is interested in studying Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance. Academic Counselor, Cynthia Dowd, nominated Taylor for this award saying "I'm very proud of Taylor's hard work in the classroom this summer. She showed up to the MAC every day and pushed herself to do her best work. I'm excited for her future and I think she has learned a lot new skills that she can share with her teammates." Head Volleyball Coach, Hugh McCutcheon adds to this saying "We are very proud of Taylor's academic accomplishments this summer. She dedicated herself to the hard work and time it takes to succeed in the classroom, and it's great to see her being recognized for those efforts."

Rodrick Williams

July 2016

Ellie Cowger

Eddie is a Litchfield, MN native sophomore on the Gopher baseball team and is July's male student-athlete of the month. Academic Counselor, Ky Burgess, nominated Eddie for this award saying "Eddie has put in a lot of work and commitment into his studies this summer while performing at a high level on the baseball field during his summer season for the Wilmar Stingers. Eddie has done a great job of balancing his academics and his athletics this summer which is why he experiencing success in both aspects." Coach Anderson dds to this, stating "I am proud of Eddie's growth and maturation as a student- athlete during his freshman year. He has worked hard to develop the discipline and time management skills it takes to achieve success in the classroom and on the field. He has also displayed a high level of internal motivation that is necessary to achieve any of his academic goals. Congrats Eddie!"


Kenisha is a Minneapolis native majoring in Communications and is a red shirt sophomore on the women's basketball team. MAC learning center intern, Jess Eubanks, nominated Kenisha for this award saying, "Kenisha is a hard worker and a pleasure to be around. She completes all her work in a timely manner and always brings a positive attitude to my office. I am excited to see what her future holds." Head Women's Basketball Coach, Marlene Stollings, adds to this stating ""We are extremely proud of Kenisha! The many hours she has spent devoting to her studies has truly paid off. Her focus and emphasis on doing well in the classroom is great example of what being a student-athlete is all about!"

Rodrick Williams

June 2016

Ellie Cowger

Noah is a senior on the men's swimming and diving team from Minnetonka, MN and is the male student-athlete of the month. Majoring in Finance and minoring in Accounting, Noah earned academic all-big ten honors this year along with being selected as "Hardest Worker" by his teammates. Head Swimming and Diving Coach, Kelly Kremer, states "Noah's leadership skills have been extremely apparent over the last year in and out of the pool. He is a great example to his younger teammates and very deserving of his award." Academic Counselor, Chris Cords, adds to that saying "I'm very proud of Noah's work ethic and how he leads by example in the classroom."


Bloomington, MN native and rising senior on the softball team, Hannah is a double majoring in Human Resource Development and Psychology and minoring in leadership and human resources and industrial relations. MAC Academic Counselor, Cynthia Dowd, states "I continue to be impressed with Hannah's academic ambition. She pushes the boundaries and demands to get the most out of her experience here at Minnesota. She consistently makes the Dean's list and I think she sets a great example of what our student-athletes can achieve by taking advantage of internships and educational experiences. I'm excited for her future." Head Softball Coach, Jessica Allister, adds to this saying "Hannah is committed to getting everything out of her education here at the University of Minnesota that she can. Hannah is a tremendous student and this is a very well deserved award."

Rodrick Williams


May 2016

Ellie Cowger

Nate Mason, a junior guard on the men's basketball team, is the male student athlete of the month. Nate came to Minnesota from Decatur, GA and is pursuing a degree in Business, Marketing & Education. MAC Academic Counselor, Brandon Morris says, "Throughout the spring Nate displayed a commitment and dedication toward his studies that obviously culminated into a successful semester, making him fully deserving of student-athlete of the month."


Lee Stecklein, a senior on the women's hockey team from Roseville, MN, is the female student-athlete of the month. Lee is a double major in Carlson, pursuing Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing majors. Head Women's Hockey Coach, Brad Frost, says "Lee is one of those student-athletes that comes along once in a decade. Someone who is at the top academically and also competes at the highest level possible within her sport, the Olympics. As a two year captain of our women's hockey team, she has helped lead our team to back to back National Championships." MAC Academic Counselor, Laura Schnell, adds to this saying, "Lee has shown impressive balance while excelling in both her athletics and academics throughout her career as a Gopher. This spring semester, she earned a perfect term GPA and continues to be a great role model for her fellow student-athletes."

Rodrick Williams


April 2016

Ellie Cowger

Gary Moore is a red shirt sophomore on the football team from Mobile, Alabama and is April's male student-athlete of the month. Gary is pursuing a degree in youth studies. Stephanie Shuey, MAC Learning Specialist, nominated Gary for this award saying, "Gary is driven to be successful not only in football but in academics as well. He has overcome a lot to get to where he is today and his willingness to spend extra time and effort on school is evident in the success he is having in the classroom. It's great getting to work with him everyday and see the progress he has made and will continue to make." Head Football Coach Claeys adds to that saying, "Gary works extremely hard in the classroom. It is great to see him get rewarded for his dedication."


Margaret Eggert, a MN native and junior on the volleyball team, is the female student-athlete of the month for April. Margaret transferred from Ole Miss to Minnesota in Spring of 2015 and is now majoring in Communications Studies. MAC Academic Counselor, Cynthia Dowd, nominated her for this award saying, "Margaret has impressed me from day one. She had a smooth transition to the U of MN and is a regular at the MAC. She has worked very hard to get ahead and will be graduating a semester early. She has a very bright future ahead of her!". Head Volleyball Coach, Hugh McCutcheon, adds to this saying, "Margaret, in my opinion, exemplifies student-athlete success. We could not be more proud of her achievements on and off the court. She's a great person, a great student athlete, and a great representative of the Gopher volleyball program."

Rodrick Williams


March 2016

Ellie Cowger

Caroline, a Glenview, Illinois native, is a sophomore on the Women's Tennis team. She has recently been accepted into upper division chemical engineering in the College of Science and Engineering. MAC Academic Counselor, Chris Cords, says "Caroline is one of the most motivated and driven student-athletes I've been able to work with. She was admitted into a very competitive engineering program while maintaining a high GPA - I'm excited to see where these next two years take her." Head Women's Tennis Coach, Chuck Merzbacher, adds to that saying "Caroline is one of the most disciplined student-athletes I have ever coached. She is concentrated on all the right things that enable her to strive academically and athletically.


Brett, a LeSeur, Minnesota native, is a redshirt sophomore on the wrestling team and majoring in Agricultural & Food Business Management in the College of Food and Natural Sciences. Brett placed third in the national tournament in March and earned Academic All-Big Ten honors as well as NWCA All-Academic honors. Ky Burgess, MAC Academic Counselor, nomincated Brett for this award saying, "Brett's work ethic and attitude allows him to be successful not only on the mat, but also in the classroom. His instructors have nothing but great things to say about him and his leadership in his classes. His commitment to excellence is a great example for all to follow."

Rodrick Williams


February 2016

Ellie Cowger

Aaron, an Eden Prairie native, is a redshirt senior on the men's track and field/cross country team. Aaron will complete his degree in Electrical Engineering with a management minor this spring. MAC Academic Counselor, Ky Burgess, nominated Aaron for this award and says "Aaron has exemplified the true meaning of what it takes to be a student-athlete at the University of Minnesota. His dedication to his academics while competing for the Gophers is one of many reasons why he has already been offered and accepted an electrical engineering position with Minnetronix after graduation."


Rachel Haines, a Greenville, Michigan native, is a junior on the women's gymnastics team. Rachel will complete her degree in Child Psychology a year ahead of schedule and will begin a graduate program in the fall. Academic Counselor, Laura Schnell, nominated Rachel for this award saying "Rachel's motivation in the classroom is evident in her ability to complete her degree in just over three years. She is wonderful to work with and has shown an impressive ability to balance a demanding class and athletic schedule" Head Gymnastics Coach, Jenny Hansen, adds to that saying "Rachel is very diligent with her studies and has been able to balance the demands not only in the classroom but also in the gym. She is a very important component to the team's success both in the classroom and on the competition floor."

Rodrick Williams


January 2016

Ellie Cowger

Jared Weyler, a red-shirt freshman on the football team from Centerville, OH, is the January male Student-Athlete of the month. Jared is interested in studying accounting, but is currently undeclared. He has demonstrated a consistent positive attitude towards his academics, and has done an excellent job of leading by example since he arrived on campus in 2014. In addition to his leadership, Jared earned a 4.0 term GPA this past fall and a spot on the deans list. Kyle Quagliana, Jared's Academic Counselor, nominated him for this award explaining, " Jared is always on top of his studies, and has shown consistent academic and personal growth over his two years at the University of Minnesota."


Muyu Wu, a freshman on the women's golf team, came to us this fall from Hangzhou, China is the female student-athlete of the month. Muyu started her academic career on a high note, earning a spot on the deans list this fall. MAC academic counselor, Cindy Dowd, says " I was really impressed with Muyu's first semester academically. The challenge of studying in a country where your native language is not spoken can be a daunting task. Muyu dove right in and surpassed my expectations. She is a hard worker and I anticipate her to continue to raise the bar with her academic success." Head Women's Golf coach, Michele Redman, adds "Muyu is a very hard worker, not only on the course but in the classroom as well. We are honored for her to be a part of our Women's Golf Program".

Rodrick Williams


December 2015

Ellie Cowger

A native of Plano, Texas - Pochinka is entering his second season of competition with the men's gymnastics team. With a top ten finish at NCAA's last year and a top three finish at Big Tens, head men's gymnastics Coach Mike Burns is excited to see where off-season improvements take Yaro this year. Academic Counselor, Laura Schnell says "As a neuroscience major and psychology minor, Pochinka earned a close to perfect GPA this fall in some very challenging classes. He sets a great example to others with his dedication to his studies." Coach Burns adds to this saying, "he exemplifies the definition of a student-athlete, excelling in the classroom and the gym".


A native of Hugo, MN - Tarah Hobbs is female student-athlete of the month. Tarah is a junior goalkeeper on the women's soccer team, majoring in Communications Studies. Academic Counselor, Brandon Morris, says "Tarah has really matured both on and off the field over her first 3 seasons. We are extremely proud of the effort she has put forth in the classroom and the recognition of student-athlete of the month is validation of that work and focus. She's a terrific representative of the Gopher Soccer program."

Rodrick Williams


November 2015

Ellie Cowger

Matt Leidner, a redshirt sophomore on the football team, is the male Student-Athlete of the month for November. He is a Mechanical Engineering major, and has effectively balanced heavy demands in the classroom with his athletic commitments. Over Matt’s two and half years at the University of Minnesota he has held himself to a very high academic standard, and has set the example for his younger teammates in the College of Science and Engineering. His academic counselor, Kyle Quagliana, added that “Matt is an excellent example of what it means to be a student-athlete, and is a fantastic role model for his peers”.


Rashida Beal, a junior defender on the soccer team, is the female student-athlete of the month for November. She is a Psychology major in the College of Liberal Arts and has been able to master the art of performing well on the field and in the classroom. The women's soccer team head coach, Stefanie Golan, states "Rashida is one of the most intellectually insightful individuals I have had the pleasure of coaching. She takes everything she does extremely seriously & wants to be the best she can in all aspects of life. She sets and meets a high academic standard, and we are proud to have her represent our program".

Rodrick Williams


October 2015

Kimberly Golding

A native of Grand Rapids, Minn., Bischoff is one of the alternate captains for Golden Gopher Men’s Hockey team. The junior defenseman has played in all seven games this season with three assists including a pair of tallies in last Saturday's 4-1 win over No. 18 Notre Dame. In 71 career games, Bischoff has recorded 21 points (six goals, 15 assists). Jake is a draft pick of the New York Islanders “Jake is a great leader for us on and off the ice and this is a wonderful recognition of his hard work so far this season,” Gopher Hockey head coach Don Lucia said. "Our staff and our team are proud of Jake's efforts." Off the Ice Jake is a leader in the Classroom as well. He is a Business and marketing education major who has worked extremely hard in school. Jake was academic all big-ten in his first year eligible for the award last year, and he should easily get it again this year. Jake was also a member of the Dean’s List for both last fall and spring semesters. Academic counselor Chris Cords said “I am very proud of Jake and his accomplishments; he is a diligent worker and a great example for his teammates of what we expect in the classroom”


A native of Maple Plain, MN - Jessica Flakne is the female Student-Athlete of the Month. Last year, Jessica was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Academic All Big-Ten, Capital One Academic All-District At-Large Team, a CRCA Scholar-Athlete and a Top Five Scholar Athlete. Academic Counselor Cynthia Dowd states, "Jessica is an exceptional student in the classroom and leader on the Rowing team. She is majoring in Genetics and Cell Biology with a minor in Neuroscience. She is enjoying her senior year as a Captain for the Rowing team and plans to attend medical school next fall. I'm thrilled Jessica was selected to be student-athlete of the month. She is an excellent role model for her fellow student-athletes." Head rowing coach Wendy Davis adds to this saying "Jess embodies the ideal of Student Athlete. She is bright and gives her all in the classroom and on the water".

Justin Kloos


September 2015

Kimberly Golding

Runar Arnosson, a Sophomore on the Men's Golf team, is the male student-athlete of the month for September. Runar is a Psychology major that transferred to the University of Minnesota from Iceland in fall of 2014. Runar's academic counselor, Cynthia Dowd, states "Since transferring to the U last year Runar has etched his place here at Minnesota and in the MAC. I'm very impressed by his dedication to his academic goals. He is in the MAC studying almost everyday and setting an excellent example for his fellow student-athletes." Head Men's Golf coach, John Carlson, adds "Runar loves the academic team at the MAC. Runar works hard in the classroom and has had a very successful start to his collegiate academic career. We are proud of his recognition as the Student Athlete of the Month"


Nicole Heitzman, a redshirt sophomore on the Women's Cross Country team, is the female student-athlete of the month for September. Nicole is a Biology, Society and the Environment major in the College of Liberal Arts. Academic counselor for Women's Track and Cross County, Laura Schnell, said "I'm very impressed by how Nicole has taken initiative with her academics this fall. She has worked hard to make it possible to take the challenging classes required for her major and balance this with her athletics. I am very impressed by her work ethic in the classroom and she has set a great example for the underclassmen this first month of the fall semester." Head Women's Cross Country Coach, Sarah Hopkins, adds "Nicole has done a great job this fall, not only in the classroom, but has taken a big step forward on the cross country course. She had a big lifetime PR in Eau Claire already this season and continues to improve every week!"

Justin Kloos


August 2015

Kimberly Golding

Ellie Cowger, a Softball student-athlete, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for August. Cynthia Dowd, Ellie's academic counselor in the MAC nominated her explaining, "Ellie is very deserving of this honor. She has accomplished so much in a small amount of time. She maintains a strong GPA in the Carlson School of Management and is an active member of SAAC. This year she is planning to do her study abroad experience and is considering applying to medical school when she finishes her undergraduate studies. I couldn't be more proud and I'm pleased to see the example she is setting for our incoming students this Fall". Head Softball Coach Jessica Allister added "Ellie is driven to be the best that she can be in all aspects of her life. She is a great choice for this distinction. We are proud to call Ellie our own.”


Rodrick Williams, a senior on the football team, is the male Student-Athlete of the month for August. He is a Business and Marketing Education major. Over the course of the past two semesters Rodrick has taken on a heavy load of coursework to put himself in position train for the NFL this spring. He earned 16 credits last spring, and balanced 5 credits and a full time internship this summer. Rodrick's academic counselor, Kyle Quagliana, nominated Williams explaining that, "Rodrick is clearly a leader on and off the field for this team. He consistently demonstrates hard work and success in the classroom, and comes in everyday with a contagious positive attitude."

Justin Kloos


July 2015

Kimberly Golding

Kimberly Golding, a women’s track and field student-athlete, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for July. Kim transferred from Central Arizona College in the spring semester and has done a wonderful job of transitioning to the University of Minnesota. She earned over a 3.8 GPA her first semester at the U and has worked extremely hard on adjusting to the rigor of the academics and athletics here. On the athletic side, she placed fourth in the Big 10 Indoor Championships and is the Minnesota program record-holder in the 60m hurdles.

Academic Counselor Laura Schnell commented, “It has been great to see Kim push through her more challenging courses this summer and put in the time it takes to succeed.” Head Women’s Track and Field Coach, Matt Bingle, added, “I am very excited to see Kim win this award. She is a great example of howhard work pays off in the classroom.”


Justin Kloos, a junior from Lakeville, Minnesota, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for July. Justin is majoring in agricultural and food business management, with a specialization in financial analysis and business management. Justin is a proven leader on and off the ice. This summer Justin spent three weeks in Germany in a study abroad course learning about the German economy. The rest of his summer he has been taking a summer class, working out, and being a leader for the incoming freshmen. Justin was recently named the captain for the 2015-2016 season.

Justin has done a great job in the classroom as well. He is a 4-time University of Minnesota Scholar-Athlete and was named to the 2015 Academic All-Big Ten team. Head Coach Don Lucia said, "Justin is an extremely hard worker on the ice and in the classroom, and I am proud of his accomplishments. He is a good leader for our newer guys to follow.” Academic Counselor Chris Cords agreed with Coach Lucia and added, "Justin has been a leader in the classroom since the day he got on campus. He takes his academics very seriously, and I am proud of what he has and will continue to accomplish.”

Justin Kloos


June 2015

Mehvish Safdar

Mehvish Safdar, the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for June, just finished her first year at the University of Minnesota. On the court, Mehvish was 7-5 in singles and 20-15 in doubles. In the classroom, Mehvish was above a 3.5 GPA for the year and narrowly missed a 4.0 in the spring semester. Her Coach Chuck Merzbacher said, "Mehvish worked extremely hard adjusting to the rigors of academics and athletics at Minnesota, and I am very proud of her successes spring semester and her freshman year on and off the court.”

Mehvish's academic Counselor Chris Cords said, "Mehvish was great to work with this year. She was dedicated to her studies and spent numerous hours in the learning center studying and working on her classes. I am excited that she did so well, especially in the spring. It was nice to see her hard work rewarded.” Mehvish is home in Ohio for the summer, but will be back in the fall to start her sophomore year and build on her success.


Jack Lynn, a senior on the football team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for June. Jack is a Business and Marketing Education major in the College of Education and Human Development. He recorded his best semester in the classroom this past spring and is on track to graduate spring 2016. In addition, he secured a summer internship in the Account Management Department at Fallon. Fallon is an advertising agency based in Minneapolis whose clients consist of Under Armour, Comedy Central, and the Big 10 Network among many others.

Academic counselor Jacki Lienesch said, "I'm very proud of Jack. His infectious attitude and leadership, both on the field and in the classroom, make him a great role model and very deserving of this recognition." Head Coach Jerry Kill echoed these sentiments. "Jack is one of the finest young men I have been around in my 32 years. He does things right in the classroom and on the field. I will take a hundred Jack Lynn's!"

Jack Lynn


May 2015

Samantha Swenson

Samantha Seliger Swenson, a freshman on the volleyball team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for May. Samantha started her first semester in January, just a few days after graduating from high school. Despite such a fast transition, she learned the new system quickly and performed very well academically in her first semester. Volleyball academic counselor Cynthia Dowd said, “I'm very excited Sam was selected for this honor. Sam had a tremendous first semester and has grown academically and athletically in such a short time. She is considering majoring in Kinesiology, and she is excited for her upcoming coursework in the major. Sam is a hard worker and comes to Bierman to study almost every day. I couldn't be happier for her!

Head Women's Volleyball Coach Hugh McCutcheon echoed these sentiments. "We could not be more proud of Sam for receiving this recognition for her academic efforts. She absolutely embodies all that we hope a student athlete will be - disciplined, hard-working and committed both on and off the court. Sam has managed this transition from Hopkins HS extremely well, and we know her best is yet to come."

 


Matic Spec, a men’s tennis player, just completed his freshman year at the University of Minnesota.  Matic led the men's tennis team in victories this season with a 31- 5 singles record.  He was First Team All-Big Ten, ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year, and earned the team's Jerry Noyce/Nike Most Improved Player Award. He also helped lead the team to their first Big Ten Championship in the past 20 years.  Matic finished the season ranked #68 in the country just narrowly missing out on singles draw at the NCAA Championships.  In addition to his athletic achievements, Matic had a great year in the classroom.  He made the Dean's list both fall and spring semesters and was admitted to the Carlson School of Management. He also plans to pursue a dual degree in psychology.

Associate Head Coach Urban Ljubic said, "Matic did a great job on the tennis court this spring, but more importantly he finished his freshman year with a great GPA and was admitted to an excellent business school in the Carlson School of Management.” Matic is spending the summer home in Slovenia, and will be back in the fall to continue to build off of his first year success.

Matic Spec


April 2015

Sabrine Garrison

Sabrine Garrison, a freshman on the women's golf team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for April. Sabrine is an international student from Canada and has made a smooth transition both in her academics and on the course. She plans to one day pursue her medical degree in her home country. She made her golf debut at the Minnesota Invitational this fall where she tied for 3rd place. Academic Counselor Cindy Dowd said, "Jen personifies the term 'student-athlete.' Her efforts in and out of the classroom are exemplary, and the positive outcomes are a measure of the hard work she puts in on a daily basis. It is truly a pleasure to work with a student-athlete with Jen's qualities."

Head Women's Golf Coach Michele Redman echoed these sentiments. "Sabrine has had a strong first year here at the University. I am constantly impressed by her diligent effort in the classroom and the McNamara Academic Center. She is a very hard worker and a great teammate. She gives back to the community and will be a great leader for our team going forward."

 


Fred Manke, a freshman on the baseball team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for April. Fred has done a tremendous job both in the classroom and on the baseball field, as he entered the starting pitching rotation in mid-April. Fred plans to pursue a business and marketing education in the future. Academic Counselor Alissa Allen has been impressed with Fred's performance this academic year. "Fred always seems to be on top of his work and is very proactive in dealing with academic matters. He has a good grasp of what needs to be done each week and has utilized tutoring to excel in his courses. He is always positive and upbeat when he comes in for meetings. I'm excited to see his growth moving forward!"

Head Baseball Coach John Anderson commented, “Fred embodies a high level of internal motivation. He is disciplined, driven, organized and has improved his skills by utilizing the academic support provided by the staff in the McNamara Academic Center. Congrats to Fred and keep up the great effort."

Fred Manke


March 2015

Jen Larrick

Jen Larrick, a redshirt junior on the women's soccer team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for March. Larrick will graduate this May in the Inter-College Program focusing on coaching, leadership studies, and psychology and will begin her graduate studies in the fall. She has maintained a near perfect GPA in her time at the University of Minnesota. Academic Counselor Brandon Morris said, "Jen personifies the term 'student-athlete.' Her efforts in and out of the classroom are exemplary and the positive outcomes are a measure of the hard work she puts in on a daily basis. It is truly a pleasure to work with a student-athlete with Jen's qualities."

Head Soccer Coach Stefanie Golan echoed these sentiments. "Jen is everything you want in a student-athlete. She strives for excellence on and off the field, invests in her teammates, and always sees the bigger picture. We love having Jen in our program and are proud of the way she represents us."

 


Ryan Santoso, a redshirt freshman on the football team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for March. Santoso is a Sport Management major who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. In the classroom, Ryan holds himself to a very high academic standard and was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team in fall 2014. On the field, Ryan made 12 of his 18 field goal attempts including a 52 yard blast which lifted the Gophers to a 39-38 win over Purdue and converted 45 of 46 extra points. Additionally, since his arrival on campus in summer 2013, Ryan has been actively involved in the community through the M.A.G.I.C. Program as well other volunteering opportunities.

Coach Kill commented, “Ryan excels on the field, as well as off. He is exactly what we look for in a student-athlete." Santoso's Academic Counselor, Kyle Quagliana, added, “Ryan has demonstrated a consistent desire to be great in all aspects of life. He sets the bar high for himself and his peers."

Ryan Santoso


February 2015

Bailey Abernathy

Bailey Abernathy, a sophomore on the Women's Gymnastics Team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for February. Bailey is a physiology major in the College of Liberal Arts and was recently accepted into the University Honors Program. Academic Counselor Cynthia Dowd said, "Bailey leads her team in and out of the gym. She is pursuing a future career in medicine and is preparing to take the MCAT. She is a hard worker and pushes herself to do well with every opportunity."

Interim Head Women's Gymnastics Coach Jenny Hansen was excited about Bailey's honor. "Bailey is very deserving of this award. She is very bright, but also very hard working and an excellent role model to her team and the other student-athletes." 

 


Chris Pfarr, a redshirt freshman on the Wrestling team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for February. Chris is majoring in Agricultural and Food Business Management with a minor in Agronomy and has maintained stellar grades in his first two years at the University. Academic Counselor Alissa Allen considers Chris a strong asset to the wrestling program. "Chris works incredibly hard in the classroom and has the results to show for it. He knows exactly what he wants out of his education and where he wants to be in the future. He is kind and polite during all of our meetings and is a great example for teammates to follow."

Associate Head Coach Brandon Eggum echoed these sentiments. "We are proud of Chris and his commitment to academics. His hard work and dedication in the classroom and on the mat have been a big part of our program's success."

Chris Pfarr


January 2015

Kaitlyn Richardson

Kaitlyn Richardson, a senior on the Softball Team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for January. Kaitlyn is a Human Resources and Industrial Relations major in the Carlson School of Management and was recently named to the 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award Top 50 Watch List. Academic Counselor Cynthia Dowd is thrilled at this recent honor. "I think Katie exemplifies what it means to be a leader in the classroom and on the field. She has maintained a strong GPA in the Carlson School of Management and is pursuing a career in coaching. She is looked up to by her teammates and is a strong communicator. Her ability to balance a demanding schedule and be successful demonstrates what it means to be a Golden Gopher!"

Head Coach Jessica Allister said, "Katie is a great student that has had a tremendous academic career thus far. We are very proud of the way she represents our team in the classroom."


Obsa Ali, a freshman on the Men's Cross Country/Track & Field team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for January. Obsa had a successful fall both in running and in the classroom. Academic Counselor Alissa Allen said, "Obsa worked incredibly hard last semester at his academics. He was always on time to tutoring sessions and was diligent in completing his work ahead of time when possible through a busy cross country season. That work ethic has carried over into the spring semester. He is well-liked by his coaches and teammates and has opened up more and more as he becomes more comfortable in the college environment. I look forward to his continued growth in the future.”

Head Coach Steve Plasencia echoed these sentiments. “Obsa is a dedicated student-athlete who is consistently displaying his willingness to work hard in the classroom and in his running. Good things happen from this type of approach." 

Obsa Ali


December 2014

Milica McMillen

Milica McMillen, a junior on the Women's Hockey team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for December. Academic Counselor Carla Morton praised Milica's efforts in and out of the classroom. "I am very excited about Milica being named Student-Athlete of the Month. It has been fun to see her flourish over the last year as she found her passion in her Studies in Cinema and Media Culture major. She has found unique classes that spark her interest and challenge her. She has a great attitude, and her visits in my office are always enjoyable. Not only has she really excelled as a student over the last year, but she is a leader on her team and is always finding community service opportunities to be a part of. She is fun to work with and a great representative of the true meaning of a student-athlete." 

Head Women's Hockey Coach Brad Frost said, "Milica is a perfect example of a player that has grown into an incredibly mature student-athlete. She takes her academics very seriously and I'm very proud of her."


Matthew Barnard, a sophomore on the Men's Swimming & Diving team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for December. Matthew Barnard hails from Brisbane, Australia.  Matthew had a great fall semester in classroom proving that he has adjusted to American college life. He had above a 3.6 GPA and was able to do this while missing classes to dive at the Australian National Championships where he finished 3rd on both the 3 Meter Board and the Platform. He is putting himself in a position to hopefully make the 2016 Australian Olympic Team. 

Academic Counselor Chris Cords said, "I am very proud of Matthew and his accomplishments in the classroom this semester. He worked very hard and was in Bierman almost every day studying and preparing for his classes. He did a great job of communicating with his professors that he was going to be away for competition and made arrangements with them to finish his courses early." Diving Coach Wenbo Chen echoed those sentiments. "Matthew did a great job in the classroom and in diving as well this fall. I am excited and looking forward to seeing what he will do in the future."

Matthew Barnard


November 2014

Carlie Wagner

Carlie Wagner, a first-year on the Women's Basketball team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for November. After a highly successful high school basketball career, Carlie has taken her game and her academics to the next level. She achieved a 4.0 GPA over her first summer at the U, and her strong work ethic has continued through the fall semester. “Carlie has worked incredibly hard in her courses this semester. She is consistently working ahead to assure the best possible outcome. Her tutors comment frequently on her work ethic and cheerful demeanor. She always comes with a plan and utilizes her time well. I have enjoyed getting to know Carlie this year and am excited about what she can do in the future,” said Academic Counselor Alissa Allen.

Head Coach Marlene Stollings said, "We are very proud of Carlie and her achievement! Carlie’s tireless work ethic and her dedication to being the best allow her to thrive both on and off the basketball court. We look forward to seeing Carlie advance through her sport management major. She loves helping others, and we know that passion will continue to fuel her studies as she works towards being one of the most respected coaches in the game of basketball."


Scott Ekpe, a junior on the Football team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for November. Scott is majoring in Business & Marketing Education and is on track to graduate at the end of this academic year. Unfortunately, Scott tore his ACL in the first game of the football season, but he took this as an opportunity to focus on academics and has found great success in the classroom. He is also volunteering at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge that provides housing and care for cancer patients. In addition, Scott has secured an internship at TCF Bank for the spring semester and is exploring graduate school options. 

Academic Counselor Jacki Lienesch praised Scott’s efforts. "Since coming to the U of M, Scott has been dedicated and focused on his academics. He works hard, has a positive attitude, and has become a permanent fixture in the MAC. His goal is to earn his master's degree when he completes his eligibility. I have enjoyed working with Scott and I am proud of his accomplishments on and off the field." Head Football Coach Jerry Kill echoed these sentiments. "Scott is why you coach. On and off the field, he gets it done. Way to go, Scott!"

Scott Ekpe


October 2014

Dalianliz Rosado

Dalianliz Rosado, a first-year on the Women's Volleyball team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for October. Dalianliz is from Puerto Rico and navigating classes and her new life in Minnesota can be difficult with English not being her native language. She is taking two different ESL courses to work on developing her confidence in speaking English as well as improving her reading and writing skills. Her ESL professor reported that she is engaged in class and highly participatory. “I am very impressed with Dalianliz's dedication and success in the classroom considering the school she misses due to competition and travel for volleyball,” said Academic Counselor Chelsie Shafer. “It is not uncommon for Dalianliz to spend 3-4 hours a day in the Academic Center studying, and this isn't factoring in all the time she spends outside our center studying.”

Associate Head Coach Laura Bush said, “Dalianliz is determined and goal oriented. Whether she is learning on the court or in the classroom, her ability to concentrate and problem
solve during the process of change really benefits her.”


Bakary Konate, a first-year on the Men's Basketball team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for October. Bakary is a native of Bamako, Mali and though he speaks 4 languages, English doesn’t come as easy. Bakary is taking several ESL courses in order to work on developing his English proficiency. He wakes at 6 am daily to practice and prepare for a daily regimen of tutoring to assist him as he navigates his freshman year at the U. Despite such a rigorous schedule, Bakary always maintains a positive attitude and keeps a smile at all times. “One of the biggest reasons we wanted Bakary to be a part of our program is because of his relentless work ethic. No one puts in as much time to secure success as B.K. The sky is the limit for him academically because he has a true drive to become successful in the classroom,” said Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Ben Johnson. 

Academic Counselor Brandon Morris echoed these sentiments. "Bakary is a tremendous person who has a great outlook on life at such a young age. He takes nothing for granted and shows appreciation for his opportunity to gain a higher education. I have no doubt that when it’s all said and done, Bakary will be the consummate student-athlete."

Bakary Konate


September 2014

Kiera Janzen

Kiera Janzen, a senior on the Women's Swimming & Diving team, is the Female Student-Athlete of the Month for September. Kiera is no stranger to success in both the classroom and the pool. Kiera is a double major in Political Science and Professional Journalism. She has been a scholar-athlete, Big Ten All-Academic Team member, and CSCAA Scholar-Athlete each of her past three years. She is a six time NCAA All-American and this past year she swam in the finals (top eight) of three events at the NCAA championships.

Head Swimming & Diving Coach Kelly Kremer said, "Kiera is the epitome of a student-athlete. No one expects more out of Kiera than Kiera, and she has done an excellent job in the classroom and the pool."  Academic counselor Chris Cords echoes these sentiments.  "Kiera has done and continues to do a great job. I am proud of how hard she works, and the example that she sets for her teammates. She is extremely deserving of this award.  Kiera is planning on attending law school after she graduates from the University of Minnesota in the spring."  


Paul Montague, a junior on the Men's Gymnastics team, is the Male Student-Athlete of the Month for September. Paul, an Agricultural and Food Business Management major, is a leader in the classroom and the gym. A captain for this season, Paul leads by example. Academic counselor Carla Morton said, "Paul is great to work with. It has been fun to see him progress as a student, as he dives in to his major. He works hard, has a positive attitude, and is always coming by to check in. He is a great representative of what is means to be a student-athlete!"

Head Coach Mike Burns was excited about Paul's nomination. "It's been a real pleasure to watch the continued development of Paul Montague as a gymnast, a student, and as a young man. How lucky am I to work with people like Paul on a daily basis!"

Paul Montague