Snitker Finalist for IIAC Duane Schroeder Scholar Athlete of the Year

Jan 16, 2017

The University of Dubuque's #48 Blaine Snitker (football) is a finalist for the IIAC
Duane Schroeder Scholar Athlete of the Year.


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) announced today the three female and three male finalists for its 2015-16 IIAC Johanna Olson and Duane Schroeder Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards.

Snitker was a Spartan linebacker and 2015 Iowa Conference Defensive MVP, Blaine Snitker, pioneered the Iowa Conference’s number one scoring and total defense en route to the 2015 Iowa Conference title, linebacker Snitker was also named First-Team All-IIAC for the third time, a national finalist for Cliff Harris Award, and semifinalist for William V. Campbell Award.

Despite sitting out the first three games of his senior season, Snitker debuted with a bang in collecting a career-high 21 tackles against Luther in UD’s IIAC opener and earning IIAC Male Athlete of the Week. The Waukon, Iowa native’s picked up 54 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in leading a Spartan defense which held five IIAC opponents under 16 points each and finished undefeated in the IIAC for the first time since 1979.

A First-Team All-West Region selection, Snitker was the first UD defensive player and fourth overall to be named a William V. Campbell finalist given to the nation’s top scholar-athlete, regardless of division, and a Cliff Harris award finalist for the nation’s top small college defensive player. Snitker embodied the meaning of student-athlete after totaling 283 tackles (sixth all-time in UD history), accumulating three-time All-IIAC academic selections, a CoSIDA Academic All-District award, and volunteering at numerous sites around Dubuque.

The finalists for the Johanna Olson IIAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award are former Loras College basketball athlete Kaitlin Phillips, former Luther College swimmer Clare Slagel and former Wartburg College soccer player Lisa Trizzino. Other nominees included former University of Dubuque volleyball player Klaudia Basierak and former Coe College volleyball player Brianna Smith.
The other finalists for the Duane Schroeder IIAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award are former Buena Vista University baseball player Neil Marshall, and former Loras College track and field performer Zach Frey. Three other nominees were put forward by their schools -- former Central College football player Taylor Cox, former Luther College wrestler Drew Van Anrooy and former Wartburg College baseball and football player Robbie Anstoetter.

The finalists were chosen by a committee made up of faculty athletics representatives and sports information directors. The finalists now go before the full group of eight faculty athletics representatives (Nebraska Wesleyan was not eligible to nominate or vote because it was not a member of the Iowa Conference during the 2015-16 school year). This year's Female and Male Scholar-Athlete winners will be announced Tuesday, January 24 at
A short profile of each nominee follows below.
About the IIAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards
The IIAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards were first presented in December 2001 for the 2000-01 academic year. To be eligible for nomination, a student-athlete shall have graduated or exhausted their athletic eligibility during the academic year for which the award is given. The nominee must have demonstrated a high level of accomplishment and achievement in a varsity sport, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale), and show evidence of scholarly achievements, community service involvement and leadership. Both awards were named for former Wartburg and Iowa Conference sports information director Duane Schroeder in May 2002. The women’s award was renamed in December 2013 for former Luther College student-athlete Johanna Olson – the inaugural winner of the women’s award – who lost a courageous battle with cancer in January 2013.
About Johanna Olson
The IIAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award is named in honor of the late Johanna Olson, a former cross country and track & field student-athlete at Luther College who was the inaugural recipient of the award. Olson battled brain cancer for over 15 years before her fight ended on January 3, 2013 at age 33. She was originally diagnosed with a brain tumor as a college freshman in 1997 but went on to win the 2000 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship three years to the day after her initial brain surgery. In addition to the national title in cross country, she won three Iowa Conference Individual Championships and three IIAC Most Valuable Runner awards (1999, 2000, 2001). In track and field, she was the 2001 IIAC Most Valuable Performer, earning All-America honors in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter runs. Olson was also a member of the 2001 distance medley relay team that captured the indoor national title. She was named the United States Track Coaches Association (USTCA) regional and national Athlete of the Year in both cross country and track and field in 2000-01. In 1999, Olson was presented the Honda Awards Inspirational Athlete of the Year after returning from radiation treatments to compete at the national level.
About Duane Schroeder
The IIAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award is named in honor of the late Duane Schroeder, former sports information director at Wartburg College. Schroeder served as Wartburg’s SID for 43 years until his retirement in 2000. Upon his retirement from his sports information duties, he was named SID Emeritus and served as Wartburg’s News Director until 2001. During much of his four decades at Wartburg, Schroeder served as the IIAC’s information director and secretary/treasurer.
Previous IIAC Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Year Duane Schroeder Male Scholar-Athlete Johanna Olson Female Scholar-Athlete
2015-16 Announced January 24, 2017    Announced January 24, 2017
2014-15 Daniel Bonthius, Wartburg, track & field Bailey Wilson, Wartburg, volleyball
2013-14 Kyle Freischlag, Central, tennis Ramey Sieck, Wartburg, volleyball
2012-13 Wyatt Hanus, Dubuque, football Shari Huber, Luther, softball
2011-12 Michael Zweifel, Dubuque, football Kelsey (Kittleson) Millonig, Luther, softball
2010-11 Ryan Schisler, Coe, baseball Jill (Ziskovsky) Halcomb, Central, track & field
2009-10 Tyler Burkle, Coe, wrestling Hannah Baker, Wartburg, track & field
2008-09 Alec Bonander, Luther, wrestling Kelsey Steffens, Wartburg, volleyball/track & field
2007-08 Kyle Duchman, Wartburg, football Kristy Upah, Coe, volleyball
2006-07 Adam Bohach, Luther, cross country/track & field Abby Erion, Loras, track & field
2005-06 Adam Duerfeldt, Central, baseball Katie Pederson, Central, volleyball/track & field
2004-05 Garrett South, Luther, wrestling Amy Ernst, Coe, softball
2003-04 Brent Showalter, Wartburg, track & field Raegan (Schultz) Wagner, Central, volleyball/track & field
2002-03 Jesse Harris, Simpson, basketball Jessica Jensen, Buena Vista, basketball/track & field
2001-02 Dale Biser, Cornell, football/track & field Brianne Schoonover, Wartburg, basketball/track & field
2000-01 Tim Vinyard, Coe, football/baseball Johanna Olson, Luther, cross country/track & field

Kaitlin Phillips * Basketball * Loras College * Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock
Phillips was three-year captain of the women's basketball team at Loras, earning first team all-conference three times during her standout career. Phillips stands 9th all-time at Loras in scoring (1,062 points) and became the ninth member of the school's 1,000-point club. She also finished fourth all-time at Loras in assists (303) and 10th all-time in 3-pointers made (78). Among her scholarly achievements and awards was being the only Division III rep of the 10-member All-State WBCA Good Works Team Member. She was on the Academic Dean’s Top 20 GPA’s list for the senior class at Loras. Phillips also was a Valder Social Justice Scholar Recipient (2015); as such, she was recognized for her work with Interfaith Worker Justice and the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition for a summer. She attended events related to the environment, living wages, education equality, racial equality, mass incarceration reform, and campaign finance reform.
Head Coach Justin Heinzen: "In my twelve years of college coaching, I have never been around someone more compelled by a calling to serve. Amidst an incredible academic and athletic balance, she consistently sought out others."

Clare Slagel * Swimming and Diving * Luther College * Dubuque, Iowa/Hempstead
Slagel was a two-time national champion, winning the NCAA D-III title in the 100 backstroke in 2015 and 200 back in 2014. She is the only Iowa Conference athlete ever to win a swimming national championship. She was voted four times the Women's Swimmer of the Year at the Liberal Arts Championships, which is the most important end-of-year meet on the schedule. Slagel was a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American and a three-time national CoSIDA Academic All-American. She holds five school records, four Liberal Arts Championship records and four Iowa Conference records. Her career aspirations in veterinary medicine, Slagel has been involved in several research projects at Luther and at the University of Iowa. Her voluntary community service activities included "Green Dubuque," where she recorded air quality readings in the Dubuque area, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, where she helped care for the animals and with the setup and maintenance of exhibits, and the Decorah Food Pantry.
Former Interim Head Coach Bethany Nicoll: "The word that best describes Clare in my eyes is humble. She lives her life without an expectation of recognition."

Lisa Trizzino * Soccer * Wartburg College * Bettendorf, Iowa/Bettendorf
Trizzino was on the all-conference team all four years of her career. After second-team nods in 2012, 2013 and 2014, she made the jump to the first team as a senior. National honors came her way as well with CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2014 and 2015, and third team national Academic All-American in 2015 as well. Trizzino was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America first team all-region pick in 2015 and was an NSCAA second team Scholar All-American in 2015. The Summa Cum Laude graduate was among the top 40 students at Wartburg College for GPA. Trizzino's community service included being a volunteer at Iowa Cancer Specialists, and volunteering as a Patient Rounding Tech at Waverly Health Center and at Genesis Medical Center. She also participated in Wartburg's annual Unified Sports Day, where the campus welcomed Special Olympians to campus for activities and friendship.
Head Coach Tiffany Pins: "I always could count on [her] to lead by example and conduct herself in the highest manner. [Her] leadership was always service-oriented and she made a point to put the needs of the program first."

Brianna Smith * Volleyball * Coe College * Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale

  • All-Iowa Conference team in 2015 and honorable mention in 2014. AVCA honorable mention all-region in 2015.
  • Awarded Coe College's Most Outstanding Senior award in 2015; interned at local hospitals in 2015 with physician's assistants and doctors.
  • Mentored and engaged in activities with youth in the Cedar Rapids community in "Kohawk Kids" program.
  • Head Coach DeAnn Woodin: "Since the first day she walked on campus, Bri made an enormously positive impact on so many people (students and staff), without attempting to impress anyone but simply just by being herself."

Klaudia Basierak * Volleyball * University of Dubuque * Hainesville, Ill./Grayslake

  • All-Iowa Conference team all four years; Iowa Conference Freshman of the Year in 2012.
  • Member of Alpha Chi, a national academic honor society available to juniors and seniors who maintain a cumulative 3.75 grade point average.
  • Organized members of volleyball team past two years for UD’s annual Park Clean-a-Thon fundraiser.
  • Head Coach April Elsbernd: "Klaudia held her teammates to a high standard, but she was a compassionate leader that never blamed her team."

Neil Marshall * Baseball * Buena Vista University * Alta, Iowa/Alta-Aurelia
Marshall was twice a first team all-conference outfielder and was the conference's Position Player of the Year as a senior. That senior year was a memorable one as Marshall led the Iowa Conference during league games in slugging percentage (.835), on-base percentage (. 524), runs (39), doubles (18), total bases (86) and plate appearances (127). The total of 18 doubles also established a new conference record. Marshall graduated Magna Cum Laude from Buena Vista. His community service included the management of summer recreation programs in his hometown of Alta. He participated in the annual Youth Soccer Set-up Day, one of Alta‘s annual volunteer projects.
Head Coach Steve Eddie: "... [T]he most difficult part coaching Neil Marshall was to see him after the final out of his senior season and to see him graduate. He was a great example for my two middle school aged boys."

Blaine Snitker * Football * University of Dubuque * Waukon, Iowa/Waukon
Snitker was a first team all-conference football player for three years and was voted its Defensive MVP as a senior. He also was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is better known as the "Division III Heisman," after his senior season. This is even more impressive when considering the year was cut short because of injuries (played in only eight of 11 games). Snitker was the recipient of seven scholarships and/or grants during his college career. He was voted "Male Student of the Month" at UD in November 2015. Among his volunteer activities were working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dubuque, the Dubuque Rescue Mission, and the after-school program in the Waukon Community School District.
Head Coach Stan Zweifel: "One thing, which stands out the most in my mind, is Blaine’s quality of character, which he displays on the field, in the classroom and around campus."

Zach Frey * Track & Field * Loras College * Cascade, Iowa/Cascade
Frey holds Iowa Conference records in the indoor and outdoor 800-meter runs. He was on the indoor and outdoor 4x400 relay teams that also notched league records. He was an eight-time Iowa Conference champion and a five-time national qualifier between his indoor and outdoor performances. Twice he earned All-America status as a result of his finishes at NCAA championships meets. He also earned the prestigious "Elite 90" award, which goes to the national qualifier with the highest grade-point average. He was recognized with that honor at the 2016 NCAA indoor championships. In the community, Frey raised money, set up, and organized a Halloween night for the Boys & Girls Club of America in Dubuque. He also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.
Head Coach Matt Jones: "As a staff we talk a lot about landing a 'once in a decade' recruit. We refer to these athletes as "once in a decade" because their success will have a lasting effect on our program even after they graduate. I was fortunate enough to be able to coach one of those athletes [in Zach Frey]."

Taylor Cox * Football * Central College * Pella, Iowa/Pella

  • Made second team all-conference as a senior as a return specialist; team co-captain as a senior.
  • NCAA Postgraduate Scholar; one of only 29 fall-sports male athletes across all divisions to earn the award.
  • Obstetrics volunteer at Pella Regional Hospital; involved in sustainability housing project on campus and in the community.
  • Head Coach Jeff McMartin: "Taylor possesses an optimistic look on life and is truly a 'people person.' Anyone who spends time with him leaves feeling a positive connection."

Drew Van Anrooy * Wrestling * Luther College * Roseburg, Ore./Roseburg

  • Undefeated (25-0) as a senior and the NCAA champion at 141 pounds; career record of 50-3.
  • Three-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American; two-time national CoSIDA Academic All-American.
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Ropes Course volunteer; volunteer in elementary school reading program.
  • Head Coach Dave Mitchell: "Drew's willingness to volunteer in the community while competing and studying at a high level only added to the number of people in the greater Decorah community who became his fans."

Robbie Anstoetter * Baseball/Football * Wartburg College * Farley, Iowa/Beckman Catholic

  • Two-time all-conference in football; two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American (1st team in 2015, 2nd in 2014).
  • Key reserve for Wartburg baseball team in 2015 and 2016.
  • Unified Sports Day Team leader (Special Olympics event); "Community Builders" leader at Waverly-Shell Rock Middle School.
  • Head Coach Rick Willis: "He always represented our program and school with dignity and class. He is the most consistently exceptional student-athlete I have ever coached."