Gustavus Adolphus junior goaltender Marah Sobczak (Lake Elmo, Minn.) was named the winner of the 2012 Elite 89 Award at the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship banquet held Thursday night in Rochester, New York. The Elite 89 Award honors the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average participating at the finals site of each NCAA Championship.
The initiative is the result of former NCAA President Myles Brand’s desire to recognize student-athlete success on the association’s highest athletic stages. Established in the 2009-10 academic year, the Elite 89 Award recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers.
Excelling in one of the nation’s top physics departments, Sobczak has achieved a grade point average of 3.858 in her three years at Gustavus.
“Marah is a focused individual who is passionate about her studies. She does not learn material just to pass a test, she learns so that she can truly understand,” said her academic advisor Professor Paul Saulnier. “The physics department at Gustavus is very proud of her and we would like to extend our congratulations to her for this award.”
The Gustavus Physics Department typically graduates between 12 and 18 majors each year, which places Gustavus in the top 15 undergraduate institutions in the United States for the number of physics graduates per year. Around 75-percent of Gustavus physics alumni go on to graduate school in physics or engineering.
On the ice, Sobczak has proven to be a viable backup to Danielle Justice between the pipes this season. The junior has started in seven games and is 6-2-0 overall in 473:21 minutes. Sobczak and carries a .872 save percentage and a 2.03 goals against average, while recording two shutouts.
The Gustavus women’s hockey team has taken ownership of the Elite 89 Award in women’s hockey since its origin. Since hosting the NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey Championship in St. Peter in 2010, a Gustavus student-athlete has taken home the distinction three-straight years. Nara HIgano won the award in 2009, while Sarah Yungner was last year’s recipient.