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Bulldogs complete another strong year in the classroom

Sixteen members of the women's hockey team earned WCHA All-Academic distinctions while nine men's hockey student-athletes were named to the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team.

The student-athletes across all University of Minnesota Duluth athletic programs posted a cumulative GPA of 3.35 in 2022-23.

Helping to contribute to that number was the total GPA of all UMD athletes during the spring semester, which came in at 3.39. Tennis ended up with the highest team GPA of all women's squads this spring with a 3.63 mark, while men's track and field had the highest semester GPA of the men's teams at 3.43. The football team also posted a program-best semester GPA of 3.24 this spring. In the fall, volleyball held the highest women's GPA of 3.67 while men's hockey led all men's programs with a team mark of 3.30.

Spring also brought with it plenty more academic accolades. A total of 63 Bulldogs landed on the NSIC Spring All-Academic Team, with 37 of them also earning NSIC Academic Team of Excellence honors. This brings UMD's yearly total to 184 NSIC All-Academic Team and 108 Team of Excellence members. That includes 66 All-Academic honorees in the fall, a record number for that season. In order to qualify for the All-Academic squad, athletes had to maintain a GPA of at least 3.20, complete at least one full year at UMD, hold sophomore status or higher both academically and athletically and be a member of the varsity traveling team of their respective sports. To land a spot on the Team of Excellence, that GPA had to be 3.60.

Back in January, 10 Bulldogs took home NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction honors. This award, named after late NCAA President Dr. Myles Brand, is earned by senior student-athletes that maintain a GPA of at least 3.75, are exhausting their athletic eligibility and are on track to graduate.

But UMD's studious athletes earned praise even beyond the Northern Sun. A total of 33 Bulldogs earned Academic All-District honors from College Sports Communicators (CSC) over the spring, bringing the school's grand total on the year to 47. To earn the moniker, athletes needed to maintain an average GPA of 3.50 and be with their current school both academically and athletically for two years. Eligible nominees also had to be a starter (or important reverse) on their respective teams, playing in at least 50% of that team's contests. Lauren Dixon (softball) and Austin Andrews (men's basketball) took things one step further, landing on the CSC Academic All-America Second Team and Third Team respectively. Dixon, a Chemical Engineering major, secured her spot by way of a 3.98 GPA. Andrews held a GPA of 3.93 while majoring in Civil Engineering B.S.C.E.

Over in the world of hockey, 16 members of the women's hockey team earned WCHA All-Academic distinctions while nine men's hockey student-athletes were named to the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team. Fourteen of those 16 women's honorees also earned Scholar-Athlete distinctions, as did three men's players.

These next two award winners signify the kind of perfect storm UMD experienced this year both academically and athletically. In March, Joshua Strong of the men's basketball team took home the Elite 90 award for the NCAA Division II Men's Championship. These Elite 90 awards are given annually to the player with the highest cumulative GPA of those that have made it to the final site of their respective sport's championships. Strong took home the illustrious honor with a staggering 3.983 GPA. A Bulldog basketball team making its first Elite Eight appearance in program history was able to produce the second Elite 90 award winner in UMD history, the first being Grant Pulver of the men's track and field program in 2017. Speaking of men's track and field… in May, Ted Rogers would take home the NSIC Elite 18 Award. This functions the same way as the Elite 90 Award but at a conference level, being handed out to the player with the highest GPA across the NSIC's 18 postseason tournament sites. In the fall, Morgan Radel of the UMD women's cross country team also earned the NSIC Elite 18 distinction.

The academic acclaim just keeps on coming. The very first day of March saw women's hockey's Emma Soderberg take home the WCHA's Outstanding Student Athlete of the Year Award. An impressive goalie out on the ice put up numbers in the classroom that were just as noteworthy, maintaining a GPA of 3.81/4.00 in Economics after graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BBA in Organizational Management and a minor in Human Resource Management last May. March ended up being some month for UMD, as two weeks later, Brooke Olson from the women's basketball team was crowned the CSC Academic All-America Player of the Year. She became just the second Bulldog to ever earn the title, joining Lindsey Dietz. Across what was an all-timer of a season for her squad, Olson, a graduate student pursuing a bachelor's in biology, managed a GPA of 3.65.

At the end of the day, though, all roads lead back home. And it was at UMD that the inaugural Bulldog Awards show was held in late April. The evening served as an opportunity for student-athletes to come together to celebrate each other's successes both athletically and academically. For its efforts in that latter field, the volleyball team scored the Chancellor's Cup, an award given each year to celebrate the team with the highest cumulative GPA across the last two semesters. A 3.677 mark is what landed the squad the honor. At an individual level, Maesyn Thiesen of the women's basketball team earned the E.L. "Duce" Rasmussen Female Scholar-Athlete Award, while men's hockey's Tanner Laderoute scored the Male Scholar-Athlete incarnation of the award. – UMD Athletics