Courtesy: Robert Barclay/CMU
Senior soccer player Bethany Allport (L) and senior football player Brian Bennyhoff (R) were the inaugural recipients of the Pat Podoll Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. They are pictured with the namesake of the award and long-time director of academics Pat Podoll.
Academic Achievement Celebrated at Annual Banquet

WATCH: Academic Banquet Feature

MOUNT PLEASANT – Academic achievement took center stage Monday night as student-athletes and their parents, coaches, athletics staff, and faculty members all gathered in the University Center Rotunda for the 20th Annual Academic Excellence Banquet.

“Tonight further defines what it means to be a Chippewa,” director of athletics Dave Heeke said in an address to the crowd following dinner. “What it means to be a Chippewa is to be a great student-athlete. It helps clarify what makes this a Championship Culture. It's about more than just winning on the field; it's winning in the classroom every day, and it's winning in life.”

More than 100 student-athletes, having earned at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA, were honored throughout the evening for their academic accomplishments. 

The event was planned by student-athlete services and co-sponsored by the Michigan Army National Guard, State Farm and the Chippewa Athletic Fund. Interim director of student-athlete services Benjy Wilber emceed the proceedings.

A complete list of those recognized can be found below.

The winners of several team and individual awards were also announced at the banquet. Seniors Brian Bennyhoff of football and Bethany Allport of women’s soccer were named the first recipients of the newly-created Pat Podoll Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. 

The award, named after long-time athletics department director of academics Pat Podoll, will become an annual award to recognize the graduating senior male and female student-athletes with the highest cumulative GPAs. Only those who have been a member of an athletic team and attended CMU for their entire collegiate career will be eligible for the award.

With a cumulative GPA of 3.7, the highest in the country for the seventh consecutive year, the women’s soccer team was awarded the Outstanding Team GPA award among women’s sports.

The men’s Outstanding Team GPA award went to the baseball team, which cumulatively earned a 2.951 GPA.

The gymnastics team earned the Dick Enberg Team Award based on its commitment to academics and community service. In addition to an outstanding season in which it earned its third consecutive Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament championships, the team maintained a 3.46 GPA and was active in the Mount Pleasant community.

Members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee were also recognized for their efforts throughout the year. SAAC president and cross country/track and field senior Raeanne Lohner spoke to the assembly about the individual nature of success and achievement, using instances from her career as both a student and an athlete as examples. 

President Dr. George E. Ross, faculty athletics representative Dr. Kevin Love and executive associate director of athletics Marcy Weston also addressed the gathering in the Rotunda. Dinner was catered by Classic Fare, and entertainment was provided by Fish 'N' Chips.

Boyden Award Finalists
Ben Bennett, Wrestling
Valerie DeWeerd, Volleyball
Erin Dye, Field Hockey
Dietrich Enns, Baseball
Matt Lutzke, Men's Track & CC
Macy Merchant, Softball
Ryan Radcliff, Football
Madeline Ribant, Women's Track & CC
Stefanie Turner, Soccer

Enberg Award Finalists
Bailey Brandon, Soccer
Donnie Corby, Wrestling
Kara Dornbos, Softball
Lindsey Dulude, Volleyball
Erin Dye, Field Hockey
Dietrich Enns, Baseball
Matt Lutzke, Men's Track & CC
Madeline Ribant, Women's Track & CC
Cody Wilson, Football

Nicholas Beamish, Football
Jordyn Brengosz, Field Hockey
Tiffany Cioppi, Field Hockey
Christian Conley, Football
Emily Cooksey, W. Soccer
Bridget Doughty, W. Track
Lauren Duncan, W. Track & CC
Hallie Enderle, Volleyball
Kylie Fagan, Gymnastics
Emma Fishnick, W. Track
Victoria Garcia, Gymnastics
Laura Gosse, W. Soccer
Diamond Hamilton, W. Track
Ryan Heeke, Baseball
Alicia Hutchison, Field Hockey
Neal Jacobs, Baseball
Marc Jaksa, Baseball
Trevor Karbowski, Baseball
Jesse Kroll, Football
Anderson Lee, M. Track & CC
Breanne Lesnar, W. Track & CC
Matthew Losiniecki, Football
Blake Louscher, Baseball
Halley Love, W. Track
Katelyn Maylee, W. Track & CC
Kaitlyn McIntyre, Volleyball
Davis Nixon, M. Track
Taylor Noonan, Gymnastics
Jacquelynn Overbeek, W. Track & CC
Sean Renzi, Baseball
Maureen Riley, Field Hockey
Monte Scott, M. Track & CC
CarolAnn Sexauer, Softball
Lauren Smith, Softball
Kerby Tamm, W. Basketball
Matthew Trowbridge, Baseball
Kyla Walworth, W. Track

Jennifer Coates, Volleyball*
Nichole DiGuilio, W. Basketball*
Bea Gassman, W. Soccer*
Alexis Gersbach, Field Hockey*
Karly Hansen, Softball*
Emily Heinz, Gymnastics*
Victoria Kinniard, W. Soccer*
Michael Kinville, Football*
Kristen Kuhlman, Softball*
Grace Labrecque, W. Soccer*
Simone Lazar, Field Hockey*
Patrick Mackenzie, Baseball*
Kelly Maxwell, Volleyball
Bailey McKeon, Field Hockey*
Cory Noeker, M. Track*
Estee Outcalt, W. Soccer*
Ross Parsons, M. Track*
Tanner Pesonen, M. Track & CC*
Brittany Petzold, Gymnastics*
Ellen Riley, Field Hockey*
Kelsey Ritter, W.Track*
Nicole Samuel, W. Soccer*
Kaely Schlosser, W. Soccer*
Kyle Smith, Football/M.Track*
Zachary Spreitzer, M. Track & CC
Samantha Stein, W. Track*
Chelsea Sundberg, Softball*
Skylar Vannatta, Field Hockey*
Kylie Welch, W. Basketball*
Raechel Zahrn, Softball*
Thomas Lally, Baseball

Chi Alpha Sigma Class of 2011
Bailey Brandon, W. Soccer**
Samantha Brenz, W. Soccer**
Kayla Brindley, W. Track**
Brittany Burga, Field Hockey
Valerie DeWeerd, Volleyball*
Kari Dieffenderfer, Gymnastics**
Kara Dornbos, Softball**
Lindsey Dulude, Volleyball**
Erin Dye, Field Hockey**
Emily Girasole, Field Hockey**
Autumn Hawkins, W. Soccer**
Summer Knoop, Softball**
Emily Lafontaine, Gymnastics**
Jordan McConnell, Football
Jacquelyn McEnhill, W. Track & CC**
Meaghan McWhorter, Gymnastics*
Ashley Mejilla, W. Soccer**
Macy Merchant, Softball**
Kathryn Slaughter, W. Soccer**
Stefanie Turner, W. Soccer**
Laura Twidle, W. Soccer**
AJ Westendorp, Football**
Cody Wilson, Football**
Stephanie Hurley, W. Track
Ryan Radcliff, Football*
Brandon Fricke, Football*
Ryan Longstreth, Baseball*

Chelsi Abbott, W. Soccer***
Bethany Allport, W. Soccer***
Holly Anderson, W. Track & CC**
Kelsey Beatty, W. Track***
Brian Bennyhoff, Football***
Samantha Brawley, Volleyball***
Molly Coldren, Softball**
Brogan Darwin, Softball***
Brandon Fricke, Football*
Veronica Garcia, W. Track & CC***
Andrew Grillo, M .Track**
Kyle Henris, Baseball
Rachael Hensel, Softball***
Curtis Huge, Football
Stephanie Hurley, W. Track
Paulina Lee, Field Hockey***
Raeanne Lohner, W. Track & CC****
Ryan Longstreth, Baseball*
Catherine Ludwig, Volleyball***
Anastasia Netto, Field Hockey***
Michael Petrucci, Football****
Ryan Radcliff, Football*
Madeline Ribant, W. Track & CC***
Samuel Russell, Baseball****
Kristin Teubner, Gymnastics***
Liesel Toth, W. Soccer***

*previous academic excellence honor