MADISON, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Nikki Kothenbeutel (Sr.-Sauk Rapids, Minn./Sauk Rapids-Rice) has been selected the recipient of the 2014 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Women's Ice Hockey Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete Award.
A senior from Sauk Rapids, Minn. (Sauk Rapids-Rice), Kothenbeutel sustains a 3.98 grade point average and is majoring in communication sciences and disorders. She is a three-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll and was named to the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic squad in 2012 and 2013. Kothenbeutel was the recipient of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association Scholarship in 2013, and been named to UW-Eau Claire's Dean's List numerous semesters.
A team captain this year, she was recognized on the WIAC All-Sportsmanship Team and led the squad with 11 points and six goals. During the 2012-13 campaign, Kothenbeutel served as assistant captain and won the Team Blugold Award.
Kothenbeutel is a member of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association. She has volunteered for Miracle League, UW-Eau Claire's Mini Mite Hockey Program and an elementary school After School Program.
Also nominated for this year's scholar-athlete award were: UW-River Falls' Ashley Kuechle (Sr., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan); UW-Stevens Point's Cassandra Salmen (Sr., Stillwater, Minn.); and UW-Superior's Kelsey Firkus (Sr., Chilliwack, British Columbia/Chilliwack Senior Secondary).
The WIAC Scholar-Athlete Award is named after Judy Kruckman who served as Assistant Commissioner for the WIAC from 1996-98. Prior to this appointment, she was Commissioner of the Wisconsin Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WWIAC) from October, 1984 - September, 1996. Kruckman was the women's athletics director at UW-Eau Claire from 1974-84, and one of the original representatives to the WWIAC when it formed in 1971.
In order to be nominated for the scholar-athlete award, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.50 grade point average. In addition, she must be in her last year of competition, or on schedule to graduate this academic year, and have competed for a minimum of two years.