BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference today announced Bemidji State University’s Rachel Craig and Tony Peterson to its list of 2015 Honor Student-Athlete and scholarship award winners.
As a part of the announcement, the league also named Southwest Minnesota State University’s Whitney Burmeister as its 2015 Willis R. Kelly Scholar-Athlete Award for Academic Excellence and Kowan O’Keefe of Minot State University as the recipient of the 2015 Dr. William Britton Scholar-Athlete Award for Academic Excellence.
Craig, a three-time Academic All-NSIC Team member and two-time BSU Student-Athlete of the Year, has led the BSU volleyball team in blocks during each of her four seasons and finished her career just shy of moving into a tie for tenth place on the program’s all-time block list (280). A 2014 captain, she completed the 2014 season third on the team with 230 kills, while leading the team in hitting percentage (.286) and blocks (99).
Craig, a business administration major, was also awarded the NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award this winter.
Peterson, a two-time Academic All-NSIC selection, started eight-of-nine games at running back for the BSU football team in 2014. He finished the season fourth on the team with 256 rushing yards on 79 carries. He posted a career-high 72 yards on 13 carries, which included a career-long 34-yard scamper, versus Upper Iowa University (Sept. 20). He scored his first career rushing touchdown versus Northern State University (Nov. 15). In addition, he pulled in seven receptions for 26 yards.
Peterson, an exercise science major, is currently wrapping up his junior year.
The 16 NSIC member institutions nominate one male and one female student-athlete for the Britton and Kelly Awards. The nominees must meet the following criteria: a grade point average of 3.20 or better (on a 4.0 scale); evidence of academic excellence beyond the minimum grade point average (scholarship prizes and other academic recognition), evidence of participation in the life of the institution, and evidence of participation in at least two-thirds of the varsity events of the individual’s primary sport. The award is voted on by the NSIC Faculty Athletic Representatives.
The Britton Award was created in 1985 in honor of Dr. William Britton, a longtime faculty representative at Bemidji State. The Kelly Award is named in honor of Willis R. Kelly, an associate professor of physical education at the University of Minnesota, Morris. A member of the NSIC Hall of Fame, Kelly also coordinated the Minnesota-Morris Physical Education Department from 1970-87. She became the first director of women’s intercollegiate athletics at Minnesota-Morris in 1976 and was later promoted to athletic director for the whole department.
The 32 student-athletes nominated for the awards will be honored as NSIC Male and Female Honor Student-Athletes of the Year at their respective institutions. Burmeister and O’Keefe will be recognized and presented with a $2,500 post-graduate scholarship July 15 at the 2015 NSIC Hall of Fame Banquet at the Best Western Premier in Burnsville, Minn.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).