GLIAC Announces Fall 2013 Commissioner's Award Recipients

GLIAC Announces Fall 2013 Commissioner's Award Recipients


Click here for a printer-friendly version of the release

BAY CITY, Mich. — The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) announces the recipients of the Fall 2013 Meijer Commissioner’s Awards. The awards, sponsored by Meijer, Incorporated, are presented after the Fall, Winter, and Spring athletic seasons to six female and six male student-athletes that excel both in the classroom and on the fields of play. All grade point averages are based on a 4.0 scale.

    The six female student-athletes to receive the Fall 2013 Meijer Commissioner’s Awards are:  Samantha Johnson of Ferris State University; Jessica Janecke, Courtney Brewis and Tayler Ward of Grand Valley State University; Darina Berkova of Northwood University, and Danielle Taflinger of the University of Findlay.

    The six male student-athletes to receive the Fall 2013 Meijer Commissioner’s Awards are: Jason Vander Laan and ; Justin Zimmer of Ferris State University; Spencer Pageau and Alan Peterson of Grand Valley State University; Mark Miller of Ohio Dominican University; and Chet Privett of Wayne State University.

    “It is with great pleasure that I offer congratulations on behalf of the GLIAC to our 12 award winners,” stated GLIAC Commissioner Dell Robinson. “The accomplishments of the 12 student-athletes is a shining example of the future leaders and individuals who serve as change agents on our campuses. I would like thank Meijer for their continued support that allows the GLIAC to honor our top student-athletes.”

The following are biographies of the Fall 2013 GLIAC Commissioner’s Awards recipients:
    Ferris State University senior cross country runner Samantha Johnson (Troy, Mich.) was chosen as 2013 USTFCCCA Midwest Region “Runner of the Year” and 2013 GLIAC Cross Country “Athlete of the Year.”  She has been an all-conference pick multiple times, and a multiple-time GLIAC All-Academic Team selection. This season, Johnson has won three races including GLIAC and NCAA Midwest Regional titles, while winning the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Invitational. She also qualified for the NCAA Division II Championship. The senior led Ferris State to be ranked as one of the regions top 10 squads throughout her  collegiate career and ranked nationally multiple times. The four-year letterwinner is regarded as one of the nation’s top distance and country performers. Johnson has a 3.53 grade point and is majoring in pharmacy

    Grand Valley State University sophomore cross country runner  Jessica Janecke (Scales Mound, Ill./Wahlert Catholic) won the non-Division I portion of the Spartan Invitational, came in second at the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship, and finished third at the GLIAC Championship this season. She was 2012 USTFCCCA All-American and All-Academic, while in 2012 Janecke was part of the GLIAC Championship team , the Midwest Region Championship team, and the Division II National Championship team. In 2012 Janecke won the Michigan Intercollegiate Championship. Janecke has a 3.81 grade point as a biomedical science major.

      Courtney Brewis (Dearborn, Mich,/Divine Child), a senior cross country runner at Grand Valley State University was an 2013 USTFCCCA  All-Midwest Region award winner, while being first team All-GLIAC.  Brewis finished second in 2013 Spartan Invitational, while finishing fifth overall at the GLIAC Championship. She help lead Grand Valley State to wins in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship, and also the GLIAC Championship. The senior was a 2012 USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region award winner while also being an USTFCCCA All-Academic selection. In her four years, her team is a  four-time GLIAC Champion. Working  toward a degree in physical therapy, Brewis has earned a 3.91 grade point average.

    Grand Valley State University senior soccer defender Tayler Ward   (Grand  Blanc, Mich,/Grand Blanc) has earned the All-GLIAC First team and was a  CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 2013. She has helped Grand Valley State match the longest shutout streak in NCAA Division II history (13 matches). Over her career Ward has appeared in 95 games, which ranks her ninth all-time in GVSU history while attaining a 82-4-10 record and is a part of 73 shut outs during her career. She is the 2010 GLIAC “Freshman of the Year” recipient and is part of the 2012 ALL-GLIAC Second Team.  Ward has maintained a 3.71 grade point average majoring in exercise science.

     Northwood University senior women’s tennis player Darina Berkova (Ceske  Budejovic, Czech Republic) posted a 23-5 overall record in 2013 from  the top singles and doubles positions, which included a 13-0 mark at number one singles. Berkova did not drop a set in singles in all of 2013, winning all 26 contests. She was named 2013 GLIAC “Player of the Year” along with First Team All-GLIAC. The Northwood senior  was also GLIAC “Player of the Year” in 2009, and is a three-time GLIAC All-Academic Excellence honoree, and four-time First Team All-GLIAC honoree. For her career Berkova has won four GLIAC Team Championships and GLIAC Tournament Championships, while amassing a 133-24 individual record, and 32-0 in her career in GLIAC singles play.  Berkova posted a 3.61 grade point average in  international business.

    University of Findlay senior volleyball middle blocker Danielle Taflinger (Lima, Ohio/Central  Catholic) earned first team All-GLIAC and All-Region in 2013. She led the conference in hitting percentage (.344). She was 2012 first team All-GLIAC and first Team All-Region, while also being name honorable mention All-American. Taflinger is a two-time Academic All-Excellence, and a one time Academic All-GLIAC. Taflinger has an overall grade point average of 3.75 and is majoring in education.

     Ferris State University redshirt sophomore quarterback Jason Vander Laan (Frankfort, Ill./Chicago Christian) was a 2013 Harlon Hill Division II Player of  the year finalist, and broke the NCAA Division II All-Time single season record for rushing yards by a  quarterback with 1,607 yards. He also led the Bulldogs to eight conference wins in 2013 for the first time since 1996, while also being ranked in the regions top 10 in the final polls. Vander Laan earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention in 2012 and is a two time  GLIAC All-Academic Honoree, while being All-Academic in 2013. Vander Laan is majoring in applied science holding a 3.76 grade point average.

    Justin Zimmer (Greenville, Mich.), a sophomore defensive end from Ferris State University,  helped lead his team to an 8-3 overall record, 8-2 record in league play. A 2013 Capital One Academic  All-District IV First Team led the  team on and off the field, earning  NCAA Division II National Player of the Week in week three. He help lead the conference in rushing  defense, while starting all 11 games in 2013. A GLIAC All-Academic Excellence honoree, Zimmer is currently holding a 3.87 grade point average and majoring in business management marketing.

     Grand Valley State University sophomore cross country runner Spencer Pageau (Jackson, Mich./Lumen Christi) was First Team All-GLIAC in 2013, along  with helping the Lakers become NCAA Division II Midwest Region and GLIAC Champions, while  finishing seventh at the GLIAC championship. A 2012 USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region and  All-Academic  Honoree, Pageau also helped the Lakers to a 2012 Championship Pageau has maintained a 3.91 grade point average and majoring in biomedical sciences/pre-med.

    Grand Valley State University junior  cross country runner Alan Peterson (Ironwood, Mich. /Luther Wright),  finished second at the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship, and fourth at the GLIAC Championship. He garnered USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region and First Team All-GLIAC awards in 2013, while helping lead the Lakers to the NCAA Division II Midwest Region and GLIAC Championships. In 2012 He was USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region and All-Academic honoree along with being a 2011 GLIAC All-Academic honoree. Peterson posted a 3.70 grade point average in exercise science.

     Mark Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder), a junior quarterback from Ohio Dominican University, helped lead the Panthers to 10-0 GLIAC record. The team captain led  the Ohio Dominican to their first GLIAC Championship, a top 10 ranking, and thier  first Division II playoff bid. Miller, a three-time GLIAC Academic Excellence honoree has been on the Dean’s list every semester at Ohio Dominican. He is active in the football team’s  community outreach programs, along with visiting the local VA Hospital. He also participates in reading to school students through the Second & Seven Foundation, all while accumulating over 100 hours of community service.   Miller is a early childhood education major and boasts a 3.76 grade point average.

    Wayne State University senior fullback Chet Privett (Sterling  Heights, Mich./Warren De La Salle) was a semifinalist for the 2013 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award  as well as the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the best football scholar- athletes in the nation. The senior fullback was named to Don Hansen’s Super Region Three Second Team, while also being named to the All-GLIAC Honorable Mention team. He has also been named to is fourth GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team, and is working towards a degree in health science and physical therapy, Privette has maintained a 3.67 grade point average.