Story courtesy of Matt Higgins – Assistant Executive Director of the MIAC
St. Peter, Minn. – Gustavus’ Lindsey Hjelm just completed a senior season defined by greatness and highlighted by numerous awards. She was named the MIAC Sheila Brown Award winner as well as the MIAC Women’s Hockey Player-of-the-Year and a First-Team All-American for her role in the Gusties’ incredible season. Recently, Hjelm capped her MIAC career with one more honor, as she was selected as the conference’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership. Hjelm’s nomination stood out amongst a pool of qualified candidates from the MIAC, as her career at Gustavus embodied the true spirit of the Woman of the Year Award through her accomplishments in all three areas.
“As a student-athlete on the Gustavus campus, I have broadened my perspective on life and the purpose I hold in this world,” Hjelm wrote in her personal statement, which was part of the nomination process. “The realms of service, athletic competition and academia have challenged me to become the best I can be … My aspirations to reach my potential were fostered by athletics, academics and being a servant to others.”
Her career for the Gustie women’s hockey program couldn’t have featured much more success. In her four years, Hjelm led Gustavus to four-straight MIAC regular-season championships and four-straight MIAC Playoff titles. Her team was an amazing 95-16-8 overall and 62-6-4 in conference play. In each of her four seasons, Gustavus reached the NCAA Division III Frozen Four. Hjelm played in all 120 games during her career, and she finished with 110 career points (48 goals, 62 assists).
Hjelm’s two big individual honors in 2012-13 capped off a career full of accolades. She was a four-time All-MIAC selection at both forward and defender, and a two-time All-American selection. As a senior, she became the first MIAC women’s hockey player to win both the Player-of-the-Year and Sheila Brown Awards in the same season, which is a testament to her athletic prowess and well-rounded college career.
Hjelm’s work in the classroom rivaled her accomplishments on the ice. She completed her undergraduate degree this spring, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a 3.79 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. She is a two-time MIAC Academic All-Conference selection (with a third selection likely when the team in announced this summer). She is also a three-time American Hockey Coaches’ Association All-American Scholar, and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District and All-America selection. Hjelm was a mainstay on the Gustavus Dean’s List throughout her four years.
Perhaps the only thing more impressive than Hjelm’s hockey accomplishments and academic profile is her work in both the Gustavus and St. Peter, Minn., communities. On campus, Hjelm was a devoted member of the Beta Beta Beta Biology National Honors Society, a first-year college orientation leader and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
In the community, she was involved with the Science on Saturday program, served as an FCA Youth Huddle leader, and she volunteered for Good Samaritan Activities, the Walk to School Program, Habitat for Humanity and participated in a January Career Exploration program. Hjelm also worked as a Special Olympics coordinator for three years, lending a huge hand to Gustavus’ hosting efforts of the Special Olympics Minnesota Winter Games.
In order to be eligible for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, nominees must have completed their intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2012-13 competitive season and received her undergraduate degree prior to the conclusion of the summer 2013 term, and have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
In August, the top 10 honorees per division will be announced for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. In September, the field of 30 semifinalists will be narrowed to three per division. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II, and III will be honored and the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis in October.
Hjelm was one of five very deserving nominees to emerge from the MIAC, all nominated by their institution for their outstanding collegiate careers in athletics, academics, leadership and service. Hamline’s Becky Culp won the 2013 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field discus championship last month to cap her incredible career with the Pipers. Concordia’s Kaari Jensen swept the MIAC track and field multi-event titles during her outstanding senior year as a Cobber. St. Thomas’ Kaitlain Wachter helped the Tommies capture the MIAC’s first-ever volleyball national championship, and Augsburg softball’s Bri Dorale was one of the leading hitters in both the MIAC and all of Division III this season.