USD student-athletes receive NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Five student-athletes from The University of South Dakota – Katie Freeman, Emilie Kluth, Jill Smolczyk, Colte Haines and Stephanie Gebhart – were awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships during the 2008 academic year.

Freeman, a senior from Urbandale, Iowa, became the first Coyote soccer student-athlete to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Not only was Freeman a standout on the soccer pitch, recording seven goals, six assists and 18 points as a defender for the USD women, she was stellar in the classroom achieving a 3.942 GPA as a pre-medicine and biology major. In November, she was the first USD soccer student-athlete to earn Academic All-America honors and she was a member of the Academic All-NCC team for the third consecutive year. A team captain for the Coyotes in 2007, Freeman was named to the ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-District team for the second straight year.


Kluth, a senior from Columbus, Neb., was an All-American for the second time in her career with a fourth place finish in 1-meter diving at the 2008 NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving National Meet. A two-time honorable mention All-American, Kluth qualified for nationals all four years of her competitive career at The U. As an English major, she achieved a 3.841 GPA in the classroom and served as co-president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee at USD. Smolczyk, meanwhile, was a six-time All-America honoree during a decorated career at USD. In March, she was named the NCAA Division II Women’s Diver of the Year after winning the national championship in 1-meter diving and finishing second on the 3-meter board at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships. A senior from Omaha, Neb., Smolczyk was also the NCC Women’s Diver of the Year after winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter titles at the NCC Championships in February. A psychology major with a 3.833 GPA, Smolczyk was named to ESPN The Magazine’s Women’s Academic All-District VII at Large team in 2007. A winner of four NCC diving titles, Smolczyk also owns five school records.

Haines, who has a 3.88 GPA in mathematics and computer science, was named to ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-America men’s cross country/track & field third team for the second consecutive year. He was an academic all district team choice for the second consecutive season. In May, he was selected to the NCC Academic All-NCC men’s track and field/cross country squad for the third-straight year. Haines, from White Lake, S.D., won the triple jump and was fifth in the long jump as he led the Coyotes to a second-place finish at the 2008 NCC Outdoor Championship.

Gebhart of Elkton, S.D., boasts a 3.53 GPA in psychology and was named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-America women’s cross country/track & field second team for the first time in her career. Earlier this year, she was named to the academic all-district team and the Academic All-NCC women’s track and field/cross country squad. During her career at USD she set a school record by earning 21 All-American honors. As a senior, Gebhart earned six All-American honors, including three as she led the women’s track and field team to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championship. At the outdoor nationals, Gebhart was third in the women’s 400-meter dash. In addition, she led the 4x100-meter relay to a third-place finish and ran the anchor leg as the Coyote 4x400-meter relay took fourth at nationals.

Since 2000, 18 student-athletes from USD have been awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship program was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the NCAA’s most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship or emerging sports. To qualify for the postgraduate scholarship, student-athletes must have maintained an overall grade point average of 3.2 or its equivalent and performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which a student-athlete was nominated. Candidates were screened by seven regional selection committees and award recipients were then selected by the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee.

NCAA institutions with the most postgraduate scholarship recipients since 2001-2002 include: Stanford University (39), Emory University (37), University of Nebraska-Lincoln (20), Gustavus Adolphus College (16), Nebraska Wesleyan University (15), University of Florida (15), University of Missouri at Columbia (14), The University of South Dakota (14), Carleton College (11), Truman State University (11), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (11), North Dakota State University (10), University of Denver (10), Wartburg College (10), Penn State University (9), Seattle Pacific University (9), Trinity University (9), United States Air Force Academy (9), University of California-Davis (9) and University of Georgia (9).