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Ryan Koch of St. Cloud State Named Division II Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Walnut Creek, CA - - Ryan Koch of St. Cloud State has been named the top male Division II Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association.  Central Missouri State's Kristin Anderson was named the female Scholar-Athlete. The Division II Scholar-Athletes of the Year awards are sponsored by Disney's Wide World of SportsâComplex.

The selection of Anderson and Koch cap a selection process guided by the Division II Commissioners Association.  Last month, 16 regional scholar-athlete award winners were named.  Anderson and Koch were selected from a field of eight men's regional winners and eight women's regional winners. 

Koch becomes the fifth North Central Conference student-athlete to win the national award.  Last year's winners Heather Hamilton of the University of Minnesota Duluth and Aaron Graumann of Augustana (SD) College, were both members of the NCC.  Jill Theeler of North Dakota State and Corte McGuffey of Northern Colorado captured the top awards in 2002 and 2000, respectively.

Anderson becomes the third student-athlete, all females, from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association to garner the national award.  Kate Hamera of Missouri-Rolla was a national award winner in 2004, while Emily Bloss of Emporia State was tabbed the top female scholar-athlete in 2001. 

In 2003, Alice Duesing of Lake Superior State University and Matt Spector of Quincy University were named Division II's top scholar-athletes. During the 2002 voting, Douglas Hargett became the first repeat winner and provided the University of North Alabama with its third recipient in as many years.  In 2000, Rachel Price of the University of North Alabama was named the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. 

We are all very proud of the quality student-athletes that Division II institutions produce annually," explains Jim Naumovich, commissioner of the Great Lakes Valley Conference and president of the Division II Commissioners Association.  "Disney's Wide World of Sports has helped Division II in many ways and we are grateful to Disney Sports Attractions for helping us recognize this outstanding talent."

"Involvement in Division II collegiate athletics is something we have emphasized since Disney's Wide World of Sports® Complex opened in 1997," adds Fred Schoeler, sports account manager for Disney Sports Attractions "The Men's and Women's Tip Off Classic basketball tournaments, which we created along with the Division II Commissioners Association, are two of our top events each fall, while the scholar awards give us the opportunity to annually recognize top student-athletes for their academic and athletic achievements."

Anderson sported a 3.97 undergraduate cumulative grade point average at Central Missouri State while pursuing a marketing degree.  A recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, she is currently pursuing her master's degree.  The Richfield, Ohio native competed in indoor & outdoor track and field and cross country as an undergrad.  Anderson is a two-time national champion, winning the 5,000 meter run at the 2006 NCAA-II Indoor Championships and the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the 2005 NCAA-II Outdoor Championships.  Additionally, she has finished second in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in both 2003 and 2004 while finishing 15th at the cross country national championships, earning All-America status.  Anderson is a three-time CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American and has been named to the dean's list at Central Missouri State every semester.

Koch, a member of both the football and track & field teams, maintained a 4.00 cumulative grade point average during his career at St. Cloud State and received a degree in computer science.  As a member of the football team, Koch tied the single-season record for receptions (73) in 2006 and ranks in the top 10 of numerous career records. The Madison, Wisconsin native was a finalist for the 2005 Draddy Award.  In track & field, Koch was a four-time qualifier and three-time NCAA-II All-American in the decathlon.  He placed second in 2006, fourth in 2005 and sixth in 2004.  Koch was named the 2005 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team Member of the Year, the first college division athlete to earn the honor as a junior.  He has racked up three CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine honors in track and field and two in football.  His numerous community activities include Campus Crusade for Christ, Kids Against Hunger, Athletes in Action Campus Leader, volunteer leader for high school confirmation program and lector/reader at Newman Center on the St. Cloud State campus.

Women's regional winners along with Anderson were: Rebecca Brezovec (Wingate); Lindsey Dietz (Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth); Amanda Newton (Drury); Katrina Holmberg (California State Polytechnic, Pomona); Alyse Hasty (Delta State); Jenny Mongeau (Assumption); and Brenna Clark (Pfeiffer).

Joining Koch as men's regional winners were:  Hector Rincon (Presbyterian); Josh Lamberson (Northwest Missouri State); Nick Frederickson (Quincy); Tony Binetti (Seattle Pacific); Cory Cangelosi (Univ. of Central Arkansas); Bryan Duplissie (Franklin Pierce); and Lloyd Price (California, Pa.).

In addition to the national and regional winners, the Division II Commissioners Association designated the following student-athletes as members of the Commissioners Honor Roll for academic and athletic achievement: John Paul Blankenship (Concord); Erin Brosz (Univ. of Nebraska-Kearney); James Callins (East Central); Heather Chantiles (Shippensburg); Kyle Clancy (Dominican); Alicia Cummings (Tarleton State); Matt Davey (UC-San Diego); Brock Godwin (Barton); Taryn Haas (West Virginia State); Lindsey Heye (St. Edward's); Jenny Irwin (Ferris State); Kathryn Kramer (Winona State); Tracy LaCroix (Benedict College); Jermaine LaFate (Virginia State); Donna Lohrey (Molloy); Ross McMillan (Morehouse); Tim Morgan (St. Thomas Aquinas); Lindy Mullen (Central Washington); Lee Nejberger (UNC Pembroke); Sebastian Niedermayer (Eckerd); Adam Roach (Saginaw Valley State); Emily Roth (Univ. of the Sciences); Jesus Solis (Adams State); Dusty Smith (Wayne State); Katie Stokes (UNC Pembroke); Greta Trotman (Barry); Jonathan Wiley (Montana State-Billings).

Spread over 220 acres at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fl., Disney's Wide World of Sports® Complex is the No. 1 sports venue for amateur and professional sports in the country. The state-of-the-art complex hosts more than 170 events in more than 30 sports each year, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp, Atlanta Braves spring training, the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Championships, the Pop Warner Super Bowl and numerous national collegiate tournaments.