CEHS students earn top NU athletic honors

Photo of Jessie DeZiel and John Welk

CEHS students earn top NU athletic honors

13 Apr 2015    By Courtesy: NU Media Relations

Two CEHS students, Jessie DeZiel and John Welk,  have been recognized by the University of Nebraska Athletic Department with two of its most coveted awards--the Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year. Nebraska's outstanding student-athletes were recognized April 12 at the Lied Center during a 25th anniversary event honoring NU Athletics' highest academic, athletic and community achievers.

Welk, a two-time All-American as part of NU’s 4x100-meter relay team for Coach Gary Pepin’s men’s track and field squad, is also a two-time NCAA Elite 89 award winner. The senior nutrition science major from Bismarck, N.D., held the top grade-point average of any male student-athlete at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in both 2013 and 2014. Welk is also a two-time academic All-Big Ten selection.

Welk is the fifth consecutive Nebraska Male Student-Athlete of the Year from the Husker track and field squad, following Nicholas Gordon (2011), Tyler Hitchler (2012), Bjorn Barrefors (2013) and Seth Wiedel (2014). Overall the men’s track and field program has claimed six Male Student-Athlete-of-the-Year awards, including Aaron Plas (2006), since the award’s inception at Nebraska in 1991. Seven NU women’s track and field student-athletes also have captured the award, giving Coach Pepin’s program 13 of the 50 all-time awards.

DeZiel, a senior from Rogers, Minn., is a seven-time All-American entering next week’s NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships. A 2015 AAI Award nominee, DeZiel is also a three-time NCAA Regional vault champion. A three-time academic All-Big Ten selection as a nutrition and health sciences major, DeZiel became the sixth Husker women’s gymnast to win Nebraska’s Female Student-Athlete-of-the-Year award. She joins Nicole Duval (1995), Shelly Bartlett (1997), Richelle Simpson (2005), Stephanie Carter (2007) and Emily Wong (2014) among the elite women’s gymnasts in the history of Coach Dan Kendig’s program to win the highest honor presented by Nebraska to its student-athletes.

DeZiel and Welk also will win the conference’s most exclusive award as recipients of the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2015. The award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” Big Ten schools currently feature more than 9,000 student-athletes, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.

Other Nutrition and Health Science students recognized at the 25th annual Huskers’ Awards banquet include: Amanda Lauer, Jennifer Lauer and Ian Ousley.

College of Education and Human Sciences
Nutrition and Health Sciences