GLIAC – The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) announced the recipients of the Fall 2020 GLIAC Commissioner’s Awards on Wednesday (July 21). The awards 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 recipients are: Laura De Marchi (MTU), Katie O’Connell (FSU), Taryn Meiste (FSU), Tori Baker (AU), Sydney O’Donnell (GVSU), Cecilia Steinwascher (GVSU)
The six male honorees are: Kieran Paterson (AU), Austin Brenner (AU), Alex Bock (FSU), Robbie Baker (SVSU), Landin Mitchell (WSU), Lane Potter (WSU)
Laura De Marchi | Michigan Tech
Laura De Marchi – De Marchi has received the GLIAC Commissioner’s Award for the second straight year. She led NCAA Division II with 12.72 assists per set while being named the GLIAC Player of the Year, GLIAC Setter of the Year, and to the All-GLIAC First Team. The senior setter from Milan, Italy also earned CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team honors while breaking the school record for career assists (4,313) and career assists per set (11.8). She also recorded her 1,000th dig. De Marchi helped the Huskies earn a GLIAC Regular Season Title for the second time in school history and a top 25 ranking for the spring 2021 season. She holds a 3.77 GPA in biomedical engineering.
Katie O’Connell | Ferris State
A two-time All-American on the floor, Ferris State University's Katie O'Connell played in 14 matches this year and compiled a squad-high 182 kills with 223 digs to go with 27 total blocks and 10 aces. She averaged 3.57 kills and 4.37 digs per set for the Bulldogs, ranking among the league leaders in both categories. This season, O'Connell received All-GLIAC First Team recognition and was also named to the GLIAC All-Tournament Team as the Bulldogs reached the league semifinals. FSU finished the spring campaign with an 11-5 overall record. O'Connell garnered American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Academic All-America First Team laurels this spring.
Taryn Meiste | Ferris State
The GLIAC Women's Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year, Meiste had an impressive season for the Bulldogs, leading FSU to the school's first-ever GLIAC Regular-Season Championship and the right to host the GLIAC Semifinals for the first time in program history. Meiste finished the year with a 7-1 overall record in goal and allowed only two goals on the year for a 0.22 goals against average with 21 saves. She pitched seven shutouts, which was the second-most in program history despite the shortened season, and owned a shutout streak of more than 500 minutes, which was the third-longest mark all-time at FSU. Meiste's play led the Bulldogs to a number 11 national ranking and a final 8-1-1 overall record this year. The Bulldogs allowed only two goals on the year.
Tori Baker | Ashland
Baker, a 2020-21 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) second-team Academic All-America, has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.90 as an accounting major. A junior center back during the spring 2021 campaign, she was the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Year, led a back line which allowed just seven goals in 11 games, and is a three-time All-GLIAC choice.
Sydney O’Donnell | Grand Valley St.
O’Donnell helped lead the Lakers to capture the 14th consecutive GLIAC tournament championship. The senior defender earned back-to-back first team All-GLIAC honors after scoring two goals and four assists for eight points in the shortened season. A nursing major, O’Donnell holds a 4.0 GPA and owns two GLIAC All-Academic Excellence honors. O’Donnell had a stellar junior season helping the Lakers to a record sixth National Championship, while being named a D2CCA first team All-American and United Soccer Coaches Scholar third team All-American.
Cecilia Steinwascher | Grand Valley St.
Senior defender Cecilia Steinwascher has earned her second consecutive GLIAC Commissioner’s Award. Steinwascher helped lead the Lakers to a 14th consecutive GLIAC tournament championship and was named first team All-GLIAC for the third straight year. As a junior, Steinwascher helped lead the Lakers to a sixth National Championship and was a unanimous first team All-American and All-Region selection (D2CCA, United Soccer Coaches). Steinwascher holds an impressive 4.0 cumulative GPA in physical education and was named the United Soccer Coaches Scholar Athlete of the Year as a junior.
Paterson is the Eagle men’s soccer program’s first CoSIDA Academic All-American, landing on the third team in 2020-21. He sports a 3.76 cumulative GPA as both a Dietetics and Exercise Science major. In the 2021 spring season, Paterson led the Eagles to the GLIAC Tournament championship, scoring five of his seven goals on the season in the postseason. He added two assists for 16 points in the shortened 10-game campaign.
Brenner is an Intervention Specialist – Moderate-Intensive K-12 major, and has a 3.79 cumulative GPA. A two-year starter for the Eagles as a quarterback/punter, he was the 2018 GLIAC Freshman of the Year, is a two-time All-GLIAC selection, is No. 10 in program history in passing yards (3,346), is No. 2 in program history in punting average (41.4) and has a record of 12-6 as a starting QB. Brenner was a 2020-21 CoSIDA Academic All-District pick.
A three-time GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team honoree, Ferris State University's Alex Bock has helped the Bulldogs to back-to-back conference championships. A team leader for his work on and off the field, Bock has been a standout on special teams and a key reserve in the defensive backfield for one of the nation's top collegiate programs, which did not compete last fall due to COVID-19. He's a three-time D2 Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Award recipient and has been highly active the program's community service initiatives. Bock was a member of the Bulldogs' 2018 squad that reached the D2 National Championship Game and has previously worked for FSU Athletics as a marketing and sales associate in the summer months. Over the past two seasons of action in 2018 and 2019, he's helped lead the Bulldogs to a 27-2 overall record.
Robbie Baker led the outstanding defense of the Saginaw Valley State University men’s soccer team as the Cardinals shut down the conference for a perfect regular-season record and the GLIAC Championship. He added one goal on offense and helped limit the SVSU opponents to just seven total goals in 2021. He was named All-GLIAC First Team and the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Year. Last month Baker was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team.
Landin Mitchell is native of Goodrich, Mich. and returns to the football program for his fifth year after a very successful 2019 season. This past year, he was named to the GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team for the second consecutive year and will earn D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award recognition for the third straight year. In 2019, Mitchell was voted to the All-GLIAC First Team and was selected to the Don Hansen All-Super Region Three Second Team. He started all 11 games at left tackle and helped WSU rank second in the GLIAC in rushing yards per game (207.9), rushing TD (22), fewest sacks allowed per game (1.18) and time of possession (32:40). Mitchell selected WSU's Offensive Player of the Week for both the Truman State and Davenport games. He is a Kinesiology major with a 3.62 GPA and was named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll (term GPA 3.5+) four times and the Coach's Honor Roll (term GPA 3.0-3.49) on two occasions.
Lane Potter, a Hudsonville, Mich. native and will be a graduate student in 2021. Despite not playing any games in 2020, he was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team and was named to the GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team for the third consecutive year. Potter graduated in December 2020 (3.5 years) with a degree in Global Supply Chain Management. He has been a mainstay on the offensive line for the Green & Gold, starting all 33 games (11 at RT in 2017; 11 at RG in 2018, 11 at LG in 2019) in collegiate career. In 2019 Potter was voted to the All-GLIAC Second Team and helped WSU rank second in the GLIAC in rushing yards per game (207.9), rushing TD (22), fewest sacks allowed (1.18) and time of possession (32:40). He was the 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year. Potter collected the GLIAC Pat Riepma Postgraduate Scholarship in 2020. He maintained a 3,82 GPA through his undergraduate career and currently carries a 3.60 GPA in the MBA program. Potter was named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll (term GPA 3.5+) all eight semesters at WSU with one 4.00 term. He will be a three-time recipient of the D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award and was WSU's 2020 nominee for the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy.