(St. Peter, Minn. – Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2002) — Gustavus Adolphus College football players Andy Traetow and Ben Spilseth have been selected to the Verizon 2002 College Division Academic All-America football team®. The College Division squad is selected from NCAA Divisions II and III and the NAIA. There are about 450 schools in DII (110), DIII (257) and NAIA (91) — so the 49 players selected on the College Division squad are the elite student-athletes from more than 30,000 players in these divisions.
Traetow, a Jackson, Minnesota native, is a three-time first-team all-conference running back who was selected to the Verizon Academic All-District second team last year. He rushed for 1,230 yards this season and became the first Gustavus player to ever rush for over 1,000 yards in two consecutive seasons. Traetow, who has been named player of the week in the MIAC four times and National Player of the Week two times in his career, holds the school career records for all-purpose yards with 4,901 and kick return yards with 1,270. He maintains a 3.57 grade point average while majoring in elementary education.
Spilseth, a Willmar, Minnesota native, is a three-year starter at linebacker who started seven games this season. He finished the season with 58 tackles (21 solo, 37 assisted) which was fourth best on the team despite missing three games with an ankle injury. Spilseth also compiled nine tackles for loss and three sacks. He maintains a 3.95 grade point average with double majors in biochemistry and chemistry.
This is the fifth consecutive year that Gustavus has had a player selected to the Verizon College Division Academic All-America team which is the second longest streak in the country. The Gusties were represented by Dan Duncan in 1998 and 1999, Brian Bergstrom and Andy Kopperud in 2000, Bergstrom in 2001 and now Traetow and Spilseth in 2002.
The Verizon Academic All-America® Teams are selected by a vote of the 1,800-member College Sports Information Directors of America. To be eligible, an athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.20 on a scale of 4.00. Sports information directors nominate eligible athletes from their schools who are named to district teams prior to being voted upon the national level. CoSIDA has been selecting Academic All-America® Teams since 1952.