Four South Dakota State University student-athletes were presented with the Outstanding Jackrabbit Senior Athlete Award at the annual Senior Banquet Friday night at the Swiftel Center.
Student-athletes receiving the award in the women's division were swimmer Alexandra Hoffman and basketball player Kristin Rotert. Men's winners were track and field standout Ben Jasinski and football player Kyle Minett.
Hoffman competed three seasons for the Jackrabbit swimming and diving team after transferring from the University of Minnesota. During her competitive career at SDSU, Hoffman won more than 50 individual races and set five individual school records in the freestyle and backstroke events. At the 2011 Summit League Championships, the Eureka native finished second individually in the 200-yard backstroke and placed fourth in the 200 freestyle, while also competing on the runner-up 200 freestyle relay team.
Rotert ended her collegiate career by tying the Jackrabbit career record for most three-pointers with 250. During the 2010-11 season, the Salem native led the team in scoring with an average of 13.1 points per game and finished eighth in career scoring with 1,484 points. At the 2011 Summit League Championships, Rotert earned Most Valuable Player recognition in leading the Jackrabbits to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and fifth consecutive postseason appearance at the Division I level.
Jasinski has been a versatile performer for the SDSU track and field team, winning Summit League individual titles in both the indoor and outdoor high jump. He currently holds school records in the indoor high jump (7 feet, 1.25 inches), outdoor high jump (7-0.5) and the indoor heptathlon (5,506). In 2009, the Rapid City native qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships, as well as the USA Track and Field Championships in the triple jump. He finished the 2011 indoor season ranked in the top 50 nationally in both the high jump and heptathlon.
Minett closed his career as the second-leading rusher in Jackrabbit football history with 4,277 yards and scored 54 touchdowns. A native of Ruthton, Minn., Minett became the first SDSU running back to post three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in earning all-Missouri Valley Football Conference recognition three times. He was named to All-America teams in both 2009 and 2010 and was a three-time selection to the ESPN Academic All-America Team.
More than 80 student-athletes were honored at the year-end event, including 13 who were named recipients of the Jackrabbit Impact Award for their contributions to Jackrabbit Athletics. Recipients of the Jackrabbit Impact Award were:
- Joel Blake, baseball;
- Cole Brodie, football
- Sean Burns, men's track and field;
- Ashley Durazo, softball;
- Angela Gebhart, equestrian;
- Rachel Hanigan, women's golf;
- Danni Healy, women's soccer;
- Conrad Kjerstad, football;
- Ryan McKnight, football;
- Clint Sargent, men's basketball;
- Jesse Sawyer, baseball;
- Billy Stitz, baseball;
- Heather Wollman, women's track and field.
Twelve Jackrabbit senior student-athletes were honored for their work in the classroom with the Jackrabbit Scholar-Athlete Award, including Tyler Duffy [football] and Jessica Ludvik [cross country/track and field] who both compiled perfect 4.0 GPAs during their collegiate careers. Other Jackrabbits to receive the Jackrabbit Scholar-Athlete Award, all of whom posted cumulative GPAs of 3.7 or higher, were: Kelsey (Aune) Clausen [cross country/track and field], Angela Gebhart, Alexandra Hoffman, Matt Hylland [football], Ben Jasinski, Conrad Kjerstad, Anne McCann [cross country/track and field], Macie Michelson [women's basketball], Kyle Minett and Dean Priddy [football].
The Jackrabbit women's basketball squad received the Team Scholar Award with a cumulative team GPA of 3.65 through the fall semester.
Receiving the Jackrabbit Courage Award was women's soccer player Elizabeth Nagelhout, whose career was limited by a variety of injuries but still managed to play her senior season while also serving as a mentor on and off the field to her teammates.