Three from MIAC receive NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships

Three from MIAC receive NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships
St. Paul, Minn. -- Concordia football student-athlete Levi DeVries, St. Thomas volleyball student-athlete Katie McCaffrey, and St. Thomas cross country student-athlete Katie Theisen have been awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships for the fall of 2008.

The NCAA postgraduate scholarship program awarded 58 educational grants to NCAA student-athletes. The recipients (29 men and 29 women), who represent fall sports, will receive one-time, nonrenewable grants of $7,500. The NCAA will name postgraduate scholars for winter and spring sports later this year.

The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition. The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women.

Concordia College senior defensive back Levi DeVries (Bejou, Minn./Mahnomen) was also named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American First Team this season. He became only the eighth athlete in Concordia history to achieve Academic All-American First Team honors. He was also a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy. The Draddy Trophy is one of the top honors in college football as it takes into consideration a player's on field accomplishments as well as their success in the classroom and community activities. Devries was also named to the MIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention Team. Devries is a Physics and Mathematics double major who carries a 3.97 grade point average. On the field he was a four-year starter and one of the four co-captains this season. Devries is a three-time MIAC All-Academic honoree and has been a member of the Dean's List every semester at Concordia. He was also inducted into the Sigma Pi Sigma honor society for Physics and received the Randy Kurt Bartholomaus Scholarship. DeVries played in every game during his four-year career. He finished by playing in 42 games for the Cobbers. He was moved from running back to defensive back in his sophomore season and over the last three seasons DeVries amassed 87 total tackles. He had 61 solo tackles and 26 assisted tackles during that time. DeVries also contributed 17 pass break-ups and three interceptions in his career.

University of St. Thomas senior middle blocker Katie McCaffrey (Fort Collins, Colo.) was named to the 2008 CoSIDA ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America first team for the College Division (Division II and III and NAIA). McCaffrey and Juniata's Amber Thomas were the lone players to make first-team AVCA All-America and CoSIDA Academic All-America. McCaffrey is the third Tommie volleyball Academic All-America honoree and first since Penny Thompson was a repeat honoree in 1991 and 1992. UST has now had 59 CoSIDA All-Americans, including 40 in the last nine years. McCaffrey, who had a 3.87 gpa in Mathematics, surpassed 1,200 kills and 500 blocks on her career while hitting .340. The 2008 MIAC Player of the Year, she helped the Tommies go 28-0 vs. conference foes the last two seasons and post a four-year record of 115-22. This year she hit .355 and averaged 3.96 kills a set and 12.9 blocks a set. She had 63 kills and 37 blocks in three postseason matches, including 31 kills in a five-set loss to UW-La Crosse.

University of St. Thomas senior Katie Theisen (Elko, Minn./New Prague) repeated as an All-American last November with a 13th-place individual finish in a field of 279 finishers at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in Hanover, Ind. Theisen clocked 21:24 for 6,000 meters and led the Tommies to 14th place out of 32 teams. It was UST's fourth consecutive top-25 NCAA team finish. Theisen placed 71st, 36th, 20th and 13th in her four national cross country races, with top 35 earning All-American status. Last June, Theisen was voted second-team Academic All-America for College Division track and field and cross country. She was among 45 student-athletes honored on the elite team, sponsored by ESPN the Magazine and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Katie Theisen was one of five MIAC students to be honored with a coveted Goldwater Scholarship for 2008-2009. Theisen, who has a 4.00 grade-point average in Biology, is among an elite group of 321 students nationally honored from a pool of more than 1,000 nominated by faculty members. On her MIAC career in seven indoor and outdoor meets thus far, Theisen has 27 top-five placings including seven relay victories and four individual titles. She's helped the Tommies win 10 of a possible 11 MIAC team titles thus far in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. She's also been a four-time cross country All-MIAC honoree as she's taken 13th, third, second and fourth at the conference meet.

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated. An equitable approach is employed in reviewing each applicant's nomination form to provide opportunity to all student-athlete nominees to receive the postgraduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race. In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.