Release Courtesy of Matt Higgins – MIAC Assistant Executive Director
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced the winners of a new prestigious conference award Monday. The University of St. Thomas’ Joe Morris and Gustavus Adolphus College’s Carolyn Draayer were honored for their combined athletic and academic achievement with the MIAC Elite 22 Award in men’s and women’s hockey, respectively.
The MIAC Elite 22 Award recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the conference championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. Modeled after the NCAA Elite 89 Award, the MIAC Elite 22 Award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average (GPA) in each sport who meet similarly high, sport-specific athletic requirements.
The MIAC Elite 22 Award in all sports with MIAC team postseason tournaments is presented to the individual with the highest GPA on the active roster at the MIAC Playoff championship contest. The winner must be a sophomore, junior or senior and in at least his or her second season of competition with their current team. Both Morris and Draayer competed in the MIAC Hockey Playoff championship games Saturday, and had the highest GPA of all players on the active rosters.
Draayer received the MIAC Women’s Hockey Elite 22 Award thanks to her team’s trip to Saturday’s championship game and her near-perfect 3.98 GPA. The Gustie junior is majoring in Communication Studies, and the Deephaven, Minn., native is a graduate of Minnetonka High School. This season, Draayer had 14 points on eight goals and six assists, and off the ice she produced a pair of promotional videos for the MIAC and was a subject of a MIAC Friday Feature.
Morris and Draayer were honored Saturday during an awards ceremony following each MIAC Playoff championship game, and a plaque will be provided to each to commemorate their MIAC Elite 22 Award. They are also recognized on the MIAC Elite 22 Award web site, which will archive each of the 22 winners throughout the 2013-14 season. Thus far in 2013-14, Morris is the sixth Elite 22 honoree to hail from St. Thomas, while Draayer is the second Gustavus winner.
The MIAC Elite 22 Award was modeled after the NCAA Elite 89 Award, which honors the student-athlete with the highest GPA at the championship site for each of the NCAA’s 89 sponsored-sports across Divisions I, II and III. The award emerged from the MIAC’s strategic plan, and was unanimously approved by the conference’s governance structure in May.