AUSTIN, Texas – The 2022 CoSIDA Academics All-America Women’s At-Large Teams were announced Wednesday and Gustavus gymnast Brooke Merila (Sr., St . Michael) plus hockey player Kayla Vrieze (Sr., Eagan) were selected First and Second Team Academic All-America, respectively. Academic All-America Teams recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.
Merila, a nursing major with a 3. 97 GPA, earns her second Academic All-America honor after being named Third Team last year. Merila is a two-time NCGA All-American, most recently taking eighth place in the all-around at the 2022 NCGA Championships. She earned All-America at the 2019 NCGA Championships by finishing fourth in the all-around. Merila won the 2022 WIAC Judy Kruckman Women’s Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete Award, was a four-year team captain, and was listed on the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll three times. Merila earns the gymnastics program’s seventh CoSIDA Academic All-America honor. After earning Third Team honors last season, Merila joins an elite group of 29 Gustavus student-athletes to earn multiple Academic All-America honors.
Vrieze, a public accounting major with a 3. 99 GPA, had a banner year by earning 2022 CCM/AHCA First Team All-America, the 2022 NCAA Elite 90 Award, and the 2022 MIAC Elite 22 Award. Vrieze also earned MIAC All-Conference this season, while helping the Gusties win both the MIAC regular season plus playoff titles, along with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships. Vrieze earned the MIAC Elite 22 Award in 2020 as well and is a three-time MIAC Academic All-Conference selection. She’s accumulated 13 goals, 26 assists, 39 points, a +45 rating, and four game-winning goals in her career as a defender. Vrieze has missed only one game out of 91 in her career while the Gusties have posted the 67-15-9 record during that time. Vrieze, a team captain, earns the women’s hockey program’s eighth CoSIDA Academic All-America honor and first since Carolyn Draayer garnered consecutive selections in 2014 and 2015.
Merila and Vrieze bring Gustavus’s CoSIDA Academic All-America all-time count in order to 127, which ranks first in the MIAC (54 more than the next institution), 12th in NCAA Division III, and 36th among all NCAA divisions. Merila is one of two gymnasts on the 16-member First Team, which also includes student-athletes who compete in golf, swimming, lacrosse, tennis, bowling, field hockey, and skiing. Vrieze is one of three ice hockey players on the 15-member Second Team. There are also 15 members on the Third Team. Gustavus now has 41 Women’s At-Large Academic All-Americans, which ranks sixth among all NCAA divisions.
To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3. 30 on a scale of 4. 00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.
Most Division 3 Academic All-America Honorees
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology 358
- Washington University 207
- Emory University 192
- Johns Hopkins University 187
- Nebraska Wesleyan University 187
- Augustana College 177
- Carnegie-Mellon University 169
- Calvin College 144
- Illinois Wesleyan University 142
- Rose Hulman Institute of Technology 140
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Company 130
- Gustavus Adolphus College 127