Lincoln - The Nebraska Athletic Department held its 18th annual Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet on Sunday evening at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Nearly 200 student-athletes were honored as Medallion recipients for their academic achievement during the last year, with 60 earning highest honors and 45 more capturing high honors.
The banquet is a result of the generous contribution made by Dick and Dale Herman, and is sponsored by the University of Nebraska Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne shared brief remarks with the crowd, and those in attendance also enjoyed an academic excellence video.
The student-athlete-of-the-year awards were presented by Osborne, with senior Sarah Paven (volleyball) picking up the women’s award, while senior Stephen Tétrault (gymnastics) earned the men’s honor. Pavan is the fifth Husker volleyball player to be named Female Student-Athlete of the Year, and the first since Laura Pilakowski in 2003. Tétrault is the fourth member of the men’s gymnastics team to be named Male Student-Athlete of the Year, joining Jim Koziol (1999), Ted Harris (1997) and Jason Christie (1996).
Pavan, who will graduate next month with a degree in biochemistry, put together one of the most decorated careers in school history. A three-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American, she was named the Volleyball Academic All-American of the Year in both 2006 and 2007 and was the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the Year for all sports at the Division I level during the 2006-07 academic year. A 4.0 student in biochemistry, she was selected as an NCAA Today’s Top Eight winner and was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.
On the court, Pavan is one of only four volleyball players in NCAA history to be a four-time first-team AVCA All-American. Pavan was a three-time Big 12 Player of the Year and was selected as the AVCA National Player of the Year in 2006, as she helped the Huskers win their third NCAA title. For her efforts, she became the first University of Nebraska student-athlete to receive the Honda-Broderick Cup, recognizing her athletic and academic accomplishments.
Tétrault’s affiliation with Nebraska dates back nearly 14 years, when he began competing for the Nebraska School of Gymnastics under Husker Assistant Coach Chuck Chmelka. Upon joining the Nebraska team in 2004, Tétrault made a commitment both academically and athletically to the gymnastics program. In the classroom, he has garnered numerous awards. He is a three-time College Gymnastics Association First-Team All-America Scholar-Athlete and has earned Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Academic All-Conference awards in 2006 and 2007. Tétrault has also made the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll six times in his career. Last season, he became one of only 11 men’s gymnasts to earn a prestigious CoSIDA Academic All-America award.
As a competitor, Tétrault is one of the top all-arounders to compete for Nebraska. In his freshman year, Tétrault placed fifth on vault at the NCAA Championships to earn his first All-America honor. He then notched two more All-America honors during his junior season on both pommel horse and in the all-around. Tétrault is expected to complete his bachelor's degree in mathematics in May of 2007. After graduation, Tétrault plans to attend medical school.
Also presented Sunday were the 14th annual Herman Awards, named after the Dick and Dale Herman families, for the highest team grade-point average. The awards went to the men’s tennis team for the sixth time and the women’s cross country team for the seventh time.
The NU men’s tennis squad posted a 3.123 team GPA, marking the first time the tennis team had won the Herman Award since winning it in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001. The women’s cross country team has collected the women’s Herman Award more times then any other women’s team at Nebraska, even though they haven’t earned the honor since 2002. Jay Dirksen’s team posted an impressive 3.711 cumulative grade-point average this year.
Sunday also marked the fifth annual presentation of the Life Skills Award, which honors the team that demonstrated the strongest commitment to all phases of the life skills program over the past year, including outreach, education and leadership. The volleyball team earned the award for the second straight year. Ten teams earned Gold Level status this year, including the women's basketball, baseball, women's gymnastics, wrestling, softball, women's tennis, men's gymnastics, football and women's golf teams.