GLIAC Announces Fall 2009 Commissioner's Award Recipients

GLIAC Announces Fall 2009 Commissioner's Award Recipients

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BAY CITY, Mich. -- The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) announced the recipients of the Fall 2009 GLIAC Commissioner’s Awards. The awards, sponsored by Meijer, Incorporated, will be presented after the Fall,Winter, and Spring athletic seasons to six male and six female student-athletes that excel both in the classroom and on the fields of play.

The six female student-athletes to receive the Fall 2009 GLIAC Commissioner’s Awards are: Tina Muir of Ferris State University; Rebeccah Rapin and Natalja Stanski of Grand Valley State University; Sydney Dow of Hillsdale College; Cassie Osiecki of Northern Michigan University; and Kait Harris of Saginaw Valley State University.

The six male student-athletes to receive the Fall 2009 GLIAC Commissioner’s Awards are: Nick Bellanco of Ashland University; Bill Kanitz of Hillsdale College; Alex Gilde and Danny Richard of Grand Valley State University; John van der Lann of Michigan Technological University; and Cortland Seaver of Saginaw Valley State University.

“These 12 student-athletes that represent, their institution, conference, and their respective communities truly embody the term student-athlete, stated GLIAC Comissioner Dell Robinson. “Their pursuit of excellence on and off field serve as a monumental testament of the talented young leaders we have in this conference. I will look to them to be the leaders of the future. The GLIAC greatly appreciates the support of Meijer for their sponsorship of the 2009 Commissioner’s Award. The award and continued support by Meijer is evidence of our pursuit of academic excellence.”

The following are biographies of the Fall 2009 GLIAC Commissioner’s Awards recipients:

Junior standout Tina Muir (St. Albans, U.K.), a member of the Ferris State women’s cross country team, capped off a stellar season by being named to the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II All-America Team for the second consecutive campaign. She finished 12-place in the 2009 NCAA-II National Championships. Muir, who was this year’s NCAA-II Midwest Regional “Athlete of the Year” and GLIAC “Runner of the Year” won all five of the six races she competed in this season. She is majoring in recreation leadership and management and holds a 3.77 grade point average.



Junior middle blocker Rebeccah Rapin (Saginaw, Mich./Nouvel Catholic Central) led Grand Valley State volleyball team in kills (327), hitting percentage (.275), total blocks (115), and solo blocks (22) during the 2009 season. She earned First Team All-GLIAC honors for the second straight season and is the 14th GVSU player to be named First Team All-GLIAC twice during her career. Rapin was also named to the AVCA All-Midwest Region Team and earned AVCA honorable mention All-American laurels. She is a marketing major, with a minor in advertising and public relations and owns a 3.897 grade point average. Rapin ranks seventh all-time in Laker history in block assists (323), ninth in total blocks (385), and ninth in hitting percentage (.307), while totaling 984 kills in her three-year career.


Grand Valley State women’s soccer senior defender Natalja Stanski (Tecumseh, Ont.) was a part of an impressive Laker backline that allowed only 12 goals all season and recorded 16 shutout wins en route to the program’s first Division II Championship. She was named ESPN The Magzine Academic “All-American of the Year,” Second Team All-GLIAC, First Team All-Midwest Region, Daktronics, Inc. All-America First Team, and was honored with the Elite 88 award for her outstanding academic and athletic achievements. Stanski earned 2008 GLIAC “Defensive Player of the Year” laurels and was also a GLIAC Commissioner’s Award honoree last year. The biomedical science major with a 4.00 grade point average posted an 84-4-6 record (.926) at GVSU, becoming the most successful senior class in the program’s history.


The 2009 GLIAC “Libero of the Year,” junior Sydney Dow (Jonesville, Mich.) was a starter and captain on Hillsdale College’s first-ever GLIAC volleyball tournament championship team in 2009. Dow led the GLIAC in total digs this season with 560, and was named First-Team All-Region by the AVCA. She was a Second-Team All-GLIAC pick and was Second-Team All-Region according to Daktronics. Dow carries a 3.5 overall grade point average and has been named Academic All-GLIAC twice. She currently serves as Vice President of the Hillsdale College’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).



Cassie Osiecki (Hampshire, Ill.) led the 2009 Northern Michigan University volleyball team with 475 digs as libero. Her digs for the past season ranked her seventh in the GLIAC. She leaves NMU as the all-time leader in digs with 1,856. She was a Second-Team selection to the 2009 All-GLIAC Volleyball Team. The senior from Hampshire, Ill. is a three-time selection to the GLIAC All-Academic Team. Osiecki currently has a 3.52 grade-point average in sports science.




Kait Harris (Essexville, Mich./Garber), a senior setter on the SVSU volleyball team, had an outstanding season for the Cardinals. Harris capped-off her career with the second-straight season in which she had over 1,000 assists, posting 1,146 in the 2009 campaign. She also had 103 kills for SVSU while hitting at a .313 clip from the setter position. On the defensive end, she added 880 digs. Harris was named to the All-GLIAC First Team for the second-straight year, as well as being named the 2009 GLIAC Volleyball “Player of the Year” by the league’s coaches. She was named to the AVCA Midwest All-Region Team, as well as being named to the AVCA All-American Honorable Mention Team. Harris is an art major with a 3.610 grade point average.



This marks the second time Ashland University senior wide receiver Nick Bellanco (Wooster, OH) has received a Commissioner’s Award. In 2009, Bellanco earned Second-Team All-GLIAC honors for the second consecutive year. He caught 42 passes for 757 yards and seven touchdowns. Bellanco ends his career tied for second in career touchdown receptions (17) at Ashland. He is third in school history in career receiving yards (1,975) and fourth in career receptions (123). The owner of a 3.90 grade point average as a biochemistry/mathematics major, Bellanco was named Second-Team Academic All-America by ESPN The Magazine and received the GLIAC’s McAvoy Award this season. He has been named to the All-GLIAC Academic Football Team three times.



A three-year starter at H-back for Hillsdale’s football team, senior Bill Kanitz (Cadillac, Mich.) excelled as a pass-catcher and short-yardage runner for the Chargers. He finished his career with 16 touchdown runs, placing him among the top 10 in Hillsdale College football history in that category. A three-time GLIAC All-Academic selection, Kanitz also scored the game-winning touchdown in Hillsdale’s 27-24 win over Grand Valley State on Oct. 10. He scored two more touchdowns in the Chargers’ 27-24 overtime playoff win over Minnesota State-Mankato on Nov. 14. Kanitz was honored Dec. 14 by the Michigan Chapter of the National Football Foundation as its Scholar-Athlete of 2009. He is a biochemistry major with a 3.63 grade point average.


Alex Gilde (McBain, Mich.), senior defensive lineman for Grand Valley State’s football team, totaled 29 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks, while blocking two kicks, forcing a fumble, and recovering a fumble for the Lakers. He blocked five kicks during his career and tallied 73 total tackles, while being named a First Team All-GLIAC selection, Second Team ESPN The Magazine All-American, and honered with the Elite 88 award for his oustanding academic and athletic achievements. Gilde owns a 3.937 grade point average as a biomedical science major with a chemistry minor. He has been a member of the Dean’s List all seven semesters at GVSU, a three-time member of the Academic All-GLIAC Team, a 2008 GLIAC Commissioner’s Award honoree, and is one of only six Grand Valley State students admitted into the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.


Senior defensive lineman Danny Richard (West Bloomfield, Mich.) notched 60 total tackles, including 19.5 tackles for loss, and 13.0 quarterback sacks this season for the GVSU’s football team. Named the GLIAC “Defensive Lineman of the Year,” he was a First Team All-GLIAC selection for the second straight season, while leading the conference in sacks and tackles for loss. Richard earned Daktronics Super Region 3 First Team Defense honors this season and he ranks third all-time in GVSU history with 30.0 quarterback sacks. The statistics major owns a 3.533 grade point average and has been tabbed as a three-time Academic All-GLIAC selection.



John van der Laan (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian), senior linebacker, wrapped up a strong football career at Michigan Tech by tallying 51 tackles including two for loss. The senior started 32 straight games at inside linebacker for the Huskies and posted 212 tackles over his four-year career. Van der Laan, who was a 2009 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention and four-time Academic All-GLIAC selection, owns a cumulative grade point average of 3.97 in electrical engineering.




Cortland Seaver (Freeland, Mich.), a member of the Saginaw Valley State men’s cross country team, closed-out his career with a great senior season. He earned Second-Team All-GLIAC honors with an eighth-place finish at the 2009 GLIAC Men’s Cross Country Championships, helping the Cardinals to a runner-up finish. Seaver helped SVSU to a second-place finish at the 2009 Midwest Regional meet as well, finishing eighth overall. A three-time selection to the GLIAC All-Academic team, Seaver holds a 3.739 while majoring in pre-medicine.