MADISON, Wis. – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association today (June 13, 2012) announced that seniors Brittany Toor of St. Cloud State University, Montana Vichorek of Bemidji State University, and Brad Eidsness of the University of North Dakota are the recipients of annual WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarships for 2012-13.
"We are both exceedingly pleased and tremendously proud to announce our latest WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners in Brittany Toor, Montana Vichorek and Brad Eidsness," said Commissioner Bruce M. McLeod and Associate Commissioner Sara R. Martin in a joint statement. "Representative of the best of collegiate athletics, these three outstanding student-athletes add another distinguished chapter to the league's long-standing tradition of recognizing and honoring it's players both on and off the ice.
"The WCHA has been blessed to have had Montana, Brittany and Brad competing in the league on the ice at the highest levels the past four seasons as well as making their mark in the classroom and setting the stage for future success. Today we salute their tremendous accomplishments and on behalf of the entire Association, we wish them all the best in their future endeavors."
An advocate of excellence both on and off the ice for student-athletes, the WCHA initially announced the annual men's and women's post-graduate scholarship program in April of 2003, with the initial recipients named after the 2003-04 academic year. The WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarships are grants of $10,000 each that are presented annually to a male and female student-athlete for post-graduate studies. Toor and Vichorek are co-recipients and each will receive a grant of $5,000.
Brittany Toor, SCSU
Toor, a senior forward at St. Cloud State who hails from Hartland, Mich., graduates with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.91 and a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Psychology major and a Biology minor. She was the Huskies' leading scorer in 2011-12, posting career bests with seven goals, nine assists and 16 points while playing in all 36 of her team's games. She also had the club's lone shorthanded goal of the season in a 4-2 victory at Minnesota State on Jan. 13. Over her four-year collegiate career, Toor amassed 36 points (16g, 20a) while competing in a total of 137 games, eighth best all-time at SCSU.
She has earned the distinguished WCHA Scholar-Athlete award three-times, has been a member of the All-WCHA Academic Team three times, and has been a member of the St. Cloud State Dean's List all four years.
"Brittany has been a two-year team captain for St. Cloud State, has been an outstanding student-athlete and a top performer for the Huskies," said head coach Jeff Giesen. "A strong leader both vocally and by example, she has also served the community in a variety of roles and has always been willing to go above the regular demands of our team to reach success.
"Her athletic ability is of the highest level and she has contributed to our team in a variety of capacities. She was voted our team's most valuable player, she was on our top power-play unit and she was also our top penalty-killer.
"As an exceptional student, Brittany has gone above and beyond the requirements of community service for our team. She is of the highest character and someone who is a true student-athlete. Her leadership here has helped establish a culture that will carry on for years to come."
Among her many volunteer activities, Toor was involved in Skate with the Huskies, has participated in the team's Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, has worked at youth hockey clinics and ice cream socials for SCSU season ticket holders, has taught floor hockey in area schools, and has served at the American Girl Doll Skates and Day of Dance for Health. She has also tutored at the Richard Greenhouse and worked at both Planet Hockey and in the pro shop of a local golf course.
Of her future plans, Toor said, "I plan to attend a prestigious graduate school to purse a Doctoral in Physical Therapy. Furthering my education in this field will allow me to continue my success in the medical field and attaining a Doctoral will show medical professionals I have gained the experience, completed the necessary training and acquired the essential information needed to help make a company successful. One of the main reasons I chose this profession for my future career is because I love to help people and the Physical Therapy field will allow me to still come in contact with athletes, allowing me to focus and funnel my passion for sports into my career.
Nominating Toor for the WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship was Bill Hudson, Faculty Athletic Representative at SCSU.
Montana Vichorek, BSU
Vichorek, a senior defenseman and three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete for Bemidji State, served as a hockey team captain in 2011-12 and was the league's third highest-scoring blueliner overall with 31 points (8g, 23a) in 34 games played as the Beavers posted the winningest season in program history with a 17-17-3 record. A native of Moose Lake, Minn. (Cloquet HS), she also earned All-WCHA Third Team honors for the second time in her collegiate career, All-WCHA Academic Team accolades for the third time and was the league's Defensive Player of the Week on Feb. 15. She competed in 143 career games for the Beavers with 77 scoring points on 18 goals and a school record 59 career assists for a defenseman, set team records for most assists in a season and most points by a defenseman in a season, and was a member of the USA under-22 National Team in 2010.
"Montana has been the most outstanding defender in my six years at BSU," said head coach Steve Sertich. "I also believe she has been the top defender in school history. She is extremely gifted in all skill areas – skating, passing, shooting and hockey IQ. She is a leader on the ice in a quiet, humble manner and being voted a captain by her teammates is a testament to her character and the respect her teammates have for her. She has also been an outstanding role model off the ice. She graduates with honors, has been a three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete and plans to attend graduate school to become a pharmacist."
In the classroom, Vichorek compiled a 3.55 (4.0) undergraduate GPA, attaining a Bachelor of Science degree on a Chemistry major and Biology minor and was three times named to the school's Dean's List. Among her leadership activities were a presentation on the importance of balancing academics and athletics to a youth hockey team, serving as a teacher's assistant for a biochemistry lab and serving as a biochemistry group leader. Her community service included volunteering at area nursing homes, reading to elementary school children, the Special Olympics, serving as a fundraiser and volunteer with Relay for Life and participating in Walk for Women to raise scholarships for BSU and she has also worked as a camp counselor and a coach at youth hockey camps.
"The graduate program I wish to follow is the Pharm. D. program, which is designed for students wishing to obtain a doctor of pharmacy degree," said Vichorek. "It is a challenging but fulfilling four-year program and having volunteered and worked at a local retail and hospital pharmacy has created a desire for me to pursue a career in pharmacy. It is interesting to see how drugs interact in the body and helping people is important to me. I can make a difference in people's lives."
Nominating Vichorek for the WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship was Doug Leif, Faculty Athletic Representative at BSU.
Brad Eidsness, UND
Eidsness, a senior goaltender at North Dakota who hails from Chestermere, Alberta, competed in 104 collegiate games and 5,871 minutes between the pipes while compiling an impressive 58-27-10 record, a 2.41 goals-against average, a .906 saves percentage and five shutouts. In his final campaign in 2011-12, he was 8-3-1 with a 2.17 GAA and .919 SV%. His 58 career victories rank third all-time at UND and he is fourth all-time in career games played by a goaltender, fifth in career goals-against average, sixth in career saves percentage and tied for fifth in shutouts. He was a member of North Dakota's WCHA regular season championship teams in both 2008-09 and 2010-11 and of UND's record three consecutive WCHA Final Five championship clubs in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, earning all-tournament team honors as a junior.
Over his four seasons, Eidsness has earned numerous honors, including the prestigious WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year Award as a senior. (The WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year Award is determined from nominations made by the member institutions and the nominee must be a senior student-athlete, must consistently display outstanding sportsmanship on and off the ice, must be a good student making satisfactory progress toward a degree; and must be a good hockey player who has performed consistently as a regular member of the team.) He is also a three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete, a three-time member of the All-WCHA Academic Team, was a 2011-12 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award nominee, was a 2011 NCAA Elite 88 Award recipient, was UND's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2011-12, earned All-WCHA Second Team honors in 2009-10, both All-WCHA Third Team and All-WCHA Rookie Team honors in 2008-09, and was UND's Rookie Athlete of the Year (male) in 2008-09.
Over the course of his four years at UND, he not only stayed on track with progress towards a degree but also completed both a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Master of Business Administration degree. Eidsness graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.779 cumulative GPA in undergraduate work and has a 3.625 cumulative GPA in graduate school. His leadership activities included the UND Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) from 2008-12 and the UND Master of Business Administration Student Association (MBASA).
"Brad is an outstanding young man who has become a leader, not only on his team but also across our campus," said head coach Dave Hakstol. "His athletic performance and abilities are second to none and his dedication to his sport, his team, and his academics is that of a unique and first class character.
"He is a very talented young man, with his strongest qualities involving his work ethic, focus and drive to achieve success in all areas of his life. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of this young man's life … to watch as he has evolved as a man by growing through both daunting adversity and great success. He is committed to doing his best and doing it the right way, with honor. He has been an incredible leader for our team and a teammate that other players think very highly of."
In addition to his stellar work on the ice and in the classroom, Eidsness has also been active on campus as a team representative to SAAC and has been routinely involved in community service. His contributions include the Sioux Kids Club events, the Northland Rescue Mission – Pucks for Plates, annual food drives, the National Honor Society, fan fests, and speaking engagements at a number of different area events.
"Brad has applied for admission to law schools at both the University of Calgary and the University of Victoria and hopes to combine his love of hockey with his business acumen," said UND Faculty Athletic Representative Sue Jeno, who nominated him for the WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship. "The life lessons learned from participation in collegiate sports have provided him with the ability to work effectively with different types of people, to get along well with people from many varied backgrounds and beliefs, and to recognize when attention needs to be given to different individuals and to relationships. He has also learned that adversity can be as valuable as success in maintaining focus on a goal."
The original announcement of the WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship program, in 2003, was made jointly by P.J. Hill, then Chair of the Association and Faculty Representative from the University of Alaska Anchorage and WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod. In announcing the post-graduate scholarship program, Hill said, "This represents another positive step forward for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in the area and recognition of academic achievement. We are extremely proud of the excellent reputation our member institutions have in both athletics and academics, and this new post-graduate scholarship program will only enhance that."
The first winners of the men's and women's WCHA's Post-Graduate Scholarship in 2003-04 were Mike Colgan of Colorado College and Michelle McAteer of the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Following is an outline of the WCHA's post-graduate scholarship program: Criteria: 1. the nominee must graduate by the end of the academic year (or by the end of the summer) and must have earned at least a 3.0 grade-point average. 2. the nominee must have competed in the WCHA for at least three years.
Nominating Process: A student-athlete must be nominated by the Faculty Athletics Representative. Nominations are due April 15th.
Selection Process: Scholarship recipients and alternates will be selected by a vote of an Association Committee composed of five Faculty Athletics Representatives. The Association selection committee(s) will review and make the final selections. The committee(s) may select one male and one female winner annually to receive the WCHA post-graduate scholarship, as well as an alternate for each scholarship. Selections will be made by the committee by May 15th.
Process Following Nomination and Selection: Following notification, the award winners have until July 1 to accept, in writing, the scholarship. Announcements will be made at the kick-off event at the student-athlete recipient's home venue the following fall.
The winners must enroll in graduate school within five years of graduation. Designated full-time enrollment (post-graduate degree hours) shall be required and verification from the program director must be presented to the Conference office before the award shall be presented. The scholarship money will be sent directly to the post-graduate institution.
Men's – Mike Colgan, Colorado College
Women's – Michelle McAteer, University of Minnesota Duluth
Men's – Reid Goolsby, Colorado College
Women's – Emma Laaksonen, Ohio State University
Men's – Jake Brandt, University of North Dakota
Women's – Kelsey Bills, University of Minnesota
Men's – Ted O'Leary, University of Denver
Women's – Meghan Mutrie, University of North Dakota
Men's – Nate Raduns, St. Cloud State University
Women's – Denelle Maguet, St. Cloud State University
Men's – Andrew Thomas, University of Denver
Women's – Laura Fast, St. Cloud State University
Men's – Jake Gannon, Colorado College
Women's – Myriam Trepanier, University of Minnesota Duluth
Men's – Eli Vlaisavljevich, Michigan Technological University
Women's – Caitlin Hogan, St. Cloud State University
Men's – Kyle Schmidt, University of Minnesota Duluth
Women's (co) – Kelli Blankenship, University of Minnesota and Courtney Josefson, St. Cloud State University
Men's – Brad Eidsness, University of North Dakota
Women's (co) – Brittany Toor, St. Cloud State University and Montana Vichorek, Bemidji State University
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