Gustavus Adolphus College student-athletes Ben Ceder (men’s soccer) and Brad Kruckeberg (football) have been selected to receive postgraduate scholarships from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Ceder and Kruckeberg are among a group of student-athletes across NCAA Divisions I, II and III to receive a $7,500 postgraduate scholarship. Gustavus has had a total of 32 student-athletes receive NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships since football player James Goodwin became the first in 1974.
To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must have an overall grade-point average of 3.200 (on a 4.000 scale) or its equivalent and must have performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which the student-athlete was nominated. The student-athlete also must intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a graduate student.
A native of Oregon, Wis., Ceder started in all 19 of Gustavus’ matches in the 2011 season, recording one assist for one point. The 2010 MIAC All-Conference performer started in 70-of-74 matches over his four-year career, finishing with two goals and two assists within that time.
“I could not think of a more worthy recipient than Ben,” Head Soccer Coach Mike Middleton said of Ceder’s honor. “Ben is truly exceptional. He is perhaps the most remarkable individual I have come across in all my years of coaching. I cannot remember an athlete on one of my teams working as hard as Ben. He is as mentally tough as they come and has excellent technique. If you were playing against him, you know you’d be in for a heck of a game, mind you, it’d be fun. He is ultra-competitive, but is as honest as the day is long.”
The Gustavus men’s soccer team finished third in the MIAC with 21 points following a regular season in which the Gusties went 14-2-3 overall and 6-1-3 in league play. Ceder was a member of a backline that finished the season ranked fifth in NCAA Division III in goals against average (0.44) and ninth in shutout percentage (0.61). Within the MIAC, Gustavus allowed just seven goals for an average of .70 goals per game while turning in four shutouts.
In late November this past year, Ceder was named one of 11 NCAA Division III players to earn a spot on the 2011 Capitol One/College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Men’s Soccer Team. He is also a three-time Academic All-MIAC honoree with a GPA of 3.88 in Biology. Along with his accomplishments on the field and in the classroom, Ben is a volunteer for The Third Floor, an after school program for St. Peter junior high students, and the Special Olympics.
A native of Ellendale, Minn., Kruckeberg joins Ceder as a recipient of the postgraduate scholarship as well as a CoSIDA Academic All-American. A senior biology major with a 3.88 grade point average, the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva product was also named Second Team All-Conference as a defensive back for the second-straight year.
“Brad’s work both in the classroom and on the field have been remarkable,” Head Football Coach Peter Haugen said. “His passion for excellence is contagious and his actions have served as an inspiration to both our players and staff. Being awarded the postgraduate scholarship is an incredible honor and is a reflection of Brad’s hard work and sacrifice. Brad’s character reflects the core values of Gustavus and our football program. We are very proud of Brad and are thankful to his family, coaches, and professors who have both supported and challenged him throughout his career.”
Kruckeberg ranked second on the team in tackles with 48 (26 solo, 22 asst.) and picked off a team-high two passes this season. He also defended six passes and had four break-ups. “Kruck,” as he is referred to by his teammates, was the leader of a Gustavus secondary that ranked second in the league in pass defense allowing 164.0 yards per game.
Kruckeberg has been a key member of defensive backfield the past three seasons. He started 30-straight games beginning with the season-opener his sophomore season, serving as a safety in 2010 and 2011, while playing cornerback in 2009. The senior captain played in 36 games for the Gusties, registering a total of 143 tackles (84 solo, 59 asst.) during his tenure. He intercepted 10 passes over his career, ranking fifth on the all-time list at Gustavus.
Along with his success on the field, Kruckeberg has also excelled in the community. Kruckeberg is a volunteer for the Special Olympics, St. Peter Food Shelf, Relay For Life and the Mayo Clinic Health System. He is also a member of the Tau Psi Omega Fraternity (REDS) and serves as Co-President of the Inter-Greek Senate.
Brad, who is a three-time Academic All-MIAC performer and Gustavus’ representative on the 2011 All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team, will spend a year traveling, volunteering and working while at the same time applying for medical schools across the Midwest.
Ethan Armstrong contributed to this release.