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Athletic Dept. Hosts 4th Annual Athletics Banquet

Athletic Dept. Hosts 4th Annual Athletics Banquet

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. ( – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Department of Intercollegiate Athletics held the fourth annual athletics banquet on Tuesday night, presented by Northwestern Mutual and Sodexo.

Photos | Play of the Year clips | SAAC Video

Several student-athletes were recognized for their outstanding achievements, both on the playing field and in the classroom over the last academic year. The department also handed out its major awards while all members of the Class of 2017 received a special award in appreciation of their service to the department.

The Super Six Award winners were honored for the 2015-16 season. The Super Six Award recognizes and honors outstanding student-athletes who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in their sport, in the classroom and in campus and community organizations. These individuals epitomize the ideals of intercollegiate athletics as an educational experience at UW Eau Claire.

Earning Super Six honors for the 2015-16 season were Nathaniel Behnke (wrestling), Lauren Blasczyk (softball), Adam Knochenmus (men's hockey), Lucy Ramquist (cross country/track and field), Jessie Reineck (track and field) and Josh Thorson (cross country/track and field).

Behnke, the Blugold Wrestling all time wins leader, took third place in the nation in 2016.  He was an Academic All-American and helped the Blugolds place 15th overall for GPA in Division III Wrestling - the highest finish ever for UW-Eau Claire. The team captain and three-time national qualifier was named Team MVP three times and twice earned the team's Hardest Worker Award.  Behnke graduated last spring with a degree in Biology and served as an assistant coach with the UWEC Wrestling program this year.

Blasczyk, the two time First Team All-WIAC and Second Team All-Region honoree, led the conference with an overall earned run average of 1.51 and was undefeated in WIAC regular season play two years in a row.  She was second in the conference in overall wins and led the Blugolds to a WIAC championship last year.  Blasczyk is a three-time All American Scholar Athlete and will graduate this month with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Knochenmus earned All-Conference, All-Region and All-American honors last season while setting the school record for goals in a game with five.  He also was the NCAA Division III leader in goals in a season with 22.   The team MVP has been named to the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll three times. Knochenmus will be a senior in the School of Education next year.         

Ramquist, the WIAC Conference Champion and Runner of the Year in Cross Country, placed eighth out of 280 runners at the NCAA Division III meet to earn All-American honors.  She was the Midwest Regional and Blugold Invite Champion defeating nearly 600 runners combined.  In 2015, Lucy was the National All Academic Individual Award winner with a 3.37 GPA and still holds three school records in Track and Field.  Ramquist graduated in December of 2015 with a degree in Biology and is currently in graduate school at UW Stout. 

Reineck earned All-American honors in the 400-meter and 4x400-meter relay and was also the Indoor Conference Champion in both events.  She holds the WIAC record in the Indoor 4x400-meter relay and was an Academic All-American last year.  In addition, Reineck is a member of three Blugold record-holding relay teams and has two NCAA national titles in her career. She also earned the Jeff Oliphant Memorial Scholarship last year and will graduate this month with a degree in Athletic Training.             

Thorson placed second at the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championship, leading his team to the 2015 National Title.  He was the National Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2015 with a GPA of 3.87.  He was First Team All WIAC by finishing second at the WIAC Championship and led his team to the WIAC title.  Thorson was the Indoor National Champion in the 3k and 5k races and led the Blugolds to the Division III Indoor Track and Field National Title. During the outdoor season, he was the runner up in the 5k at the national meet placing his team second in Division III. He was a member of three NCAA national championship teams and currently holds four school records. Thorson graduated last spring with a degree in Graphic Design and is currently in graduate school at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Also receiving recognition were Katrina Raskie and David Menk who earned the Top Senior Scholar-Athlete Awards for having the top GPAs for the senior class.  Raskie graduated in three and a half years with a degree in Psychology with a 4.0 while Menk will graduate in December with a degree in Secondary Education and has a 3.92.

Below are the finalists for the department's senior and special awards with the winner listed in bold.

Top Male Senior Athlete

Presented to the top male student-athlete who had the most outstanding athletic accomplishments of the academic year.

Ben Fisher (Swimming and diving)
Brady Hanson (Golf)
Jack Martinek (Basketball)
Patrick Moore (Hockey)
Nick Petersson (Cross Country)
Zack Sirny (Wrestling)

Top Female Senior Athlete

Presented to the top female student-athlete who had the most outstanding athletic accomplishments of the academic year.

Rachel Heffel (Softball)
Elissa Hermsen (Swimming and Diving)
Erin Olson (Gymnastics)
Katrina Raskie (Volleyball)

Blugold Award

Presented to the student-athlete who best represents what it means to be a Blugold—showing passion and pride for their sport and our university. 

Jocelyn Etten (Soccer)
Ben Fisher (Swimming and Diving)
Claudia Gagnon (Women's Hockey)
Emily Pomykalski (Softball)
Katrina Raskie (Volleyball)
Jared Schneidermann (Men's Basketball)
Zack Sirny (Wrestling)
Will Weyenberg (Men's Tennis)
Lauren Zurowski (Gymnastics)


Comeback of the Year

Presented to the student-athlete who has come back from an injury or illness to make a positive impact on his or her team.

Kiya Bjorge (Gymnastics)
Caroline Henderson (Soccer)
Evie Schaller (Softball)


Play of the YearView Nominees

Sarah Peka (Softball)
Peka strikes out the first batter she faces as a collegiate athlete.

Sammie Lafavie (Soccer)
Lefaive saves a penalty kick when the Blugolds were up 1-0 against UW-Whitewater late in the second half.

Toby Mosley (Wrestling)
Mosley gets a pin against UW-Platteville.

Emily Sullivan (Soccer)
Sullivan gets a game-tying goal against Gustavus with eight seconds left in the game.
Sam Senczyszyn (Swimming and Diving)
Senczyszyn wins the NCAA National Title in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Ryan Ames (Football)
Ames intercepts a UW-La Crosse pass late in the game to seal the win for the Blugolds.

Ryan Graham – Distance Medley Relay (Track & Field)

Graham runs the third leg of the Distance Medley Relay and dislocates his shoulder while taking the baton at the NCAA Championships.  He runs the first 110 meters with his shoulder out of place before putting it back in and completing the race, getting 4th place and earning All-American status.