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D2 CCA Names the 2014-15 Scholar Athletes of the Year

Taylor Skala of Rockhurst University (GLVC) and Jason Vander Laan of Ferris State University (GLIAC) have been named the Division II Scholar-Athletes of the Year by the Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2 CCA). Skala owns a 3.87 GPA as a cell and molecular biology major, while Vander Laan holds a 3.77 GPA as an applied math/actuarial science major.

Earlier this month, 17 regional scholar-athlete award winners were selected by the D2 CCA. Skala and Vander Laan were named from a field of eight women’s regional winners and nine men’s regional winners.

“We are excited to announce Taylor and Jason as Division II Scholar-Athletes of the Year,” said D2 CCA President Dave Brunk, commissioner of the Peach Belt Conference. “They are exemplary student-athletes and embody all that Division II stands for. Both Taylor and Jason are very deserving of this honor.”

Skala started in all 19 games for the Rockhurst women’s soccer team, leading the GLVC in points, points per game, goals, goals per game and game-winning goals. She was a GLVC All-Conference first team honoree and GLVC Offensive Player of the Year. A two-sport athlete, Skala also played basketball for Rockhurst. In basketball, she was named to the GLVC All-Defensive team and was Academic All-GLVC. Outside of athletics, Skala was awarded the Chancellor’s Academic Scholarship, was a member of the Tri Beta Biological Honor Society and served as vice president of the Chi Alpha Sigma Athletic Honor Society.

Vander Laan, a member of the Ferris State football team, rushed for 1,466 yards with 20 touchdowns while completing 183 of 275 passes last season. He ranked as the nation’s top rushing quarterback at all levels and was top ranked in the country in passing efficiency, helping Ferris State to the GLIAC Championship after a perfect 10-0 record in the regular season. He became the first Ferris State player to receive the Harlon Hill Trophy as NCAA Division II’s top football player. The two-time team captain is active in Ferris State’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is highly involved in community service. Last fall, Vander Laan became the school’s all-time leader in total offense and career rushing yards.

Joining Skala as the Women’s Regional Winners were:

Kristin Day – Clarion University – Diving – Chemistry (4.0)

Taylor Falvey – Philadelphia University – Cross Country/ Track & Field – Health Sciences (3.95)

Linda Fritschken – Barry University – Tennis – Public Relations (3.98)

Breanna Hemming – Metropolitan State University of Denver – Cross Country/Track & Field – Human Development (4.0)

Shanteona Keys – Georgia College – Basketball – Mass Communication (4.0)

Suzanna Ohlsen – Seattle Pacific University – Basketball – Bio-Chemistry (4.0)

Arielle Saunders – Harding University – Basketball – Psychology (4.0)

 

Men’s Regional Winners in addition to Vander Laan were:

Aaron Dinzeo – California University (PA) – Cross Country – Anthropology (3.89)

Justin Ellerbee – Cal Poly Pomona – Track & Field – Aerospace Engineering (3.76)

Nico Gercke – Barry University – Soccer – Business Administration (4.0)

Curran Kneebone – Philadelphia University – Cross Country – Mechanical Engineering (3.98) (tie)

Scott Litts – Dowling College – Cross Country – English (3.95) (tie)

Mitch McCarron – Metropolitan State University of Denver – Basketball – Sports Industry Operations (3.86)

Kowan O’Keefe – Minot State University – Golf – Chemistry and Mathematics (3.95)

Lukas Winklemann – Tusculum College – Tennis – Pre-Medicine (3.96)