Putting the ‘student’ in student-athlete

Up north, several area college athletes earned notice for their academics …

University of Minnesota-Duluth senior guard-forward Ella Gilbertson (Lake Zurich High School) earned a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award. NSIC senior student-athletes with a grade-point average of 3.75 or higher are eligible for the award.

Gilbertson, who majors in communication sciences and disorders, started all 29 games for 19-10 Duluth and averaged 10.8 points, 6 rebounds and was second on the team with 31 steals. The all-NSIC second-team selection shot .826% from the foul line, also second among top-rotation players.

Others receiving the NSIC award included Duluth football player Justin Hull (St. Charles East), Concordia-St. Paul baseball player Eric Lundell (Marmion), Minnesota State football player Marshall Foerner (Marmion) and Winona State soccer player Reanne Weil (Prairie Ridge).

At the Big Ten Championships for women’s gymnastics March 23 in East Lansing, Mich., Michigan State junior Gabrielle Stephen (Bartlett) placed fifth in the all-around competition. The three-time all-conference gymnast helped the Spartans win their first Big Ten title.

Also on March 23, in Muncie, Ind., Western Michigan graduate student Payton Murphy (Glenbard North) finished second in all-around at the Mid-American Conference women’s gymnastics meet. A three-time all-MAC gymnast and the 2023 MAC gymnast of the year, Murphy helped the Broncos win the title for the first time since 2013.

On March 26, Northern Illinois University’s baseball team, under first-year head coach Ryan Copeland (Elk Grove), beat Northwestern 17-8. It was the Huskies’ first win over a Big Ten ballclub since 2017 and their first over Northwestern since 2014.

On Feb. 19 we noted Indiana University junior forward Ithan DeLorenzo (Naperville North) was named most valuable player of the Tri-State Collegiate Hockey League.

Bigger things were in store.

On March 15 in St. Louis, a day before his 21st birthday, off a power-play rebound DeLorenzo ripped a slap shot for the game-winning goal in 5-4 overtime victory over Miami (Ohio) to win the title of the American Collegiate Hockey Association Men’s Division II National Championship. The ACHA represents collegiate club hockey programs.

It was the Hoosiers’ first national championship in the club’s 55-year history.

DeLorenzo, the tournament MVP, scored 2 goals in the game. Centering his line, Ross Forman wrote for, is Hinsdale’s Will Gerami, a junior. Their other linemate is freshman Davis Jegers (Stevenson).

A former Hilltopper we’ve written about elsewhere, Gonzaga’s Braden Huff (Glenbard West) made the West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team. The 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman finished with averages of 9.3 points and 3.4 rebounds and tied for the team lead with 24 blocked shots.

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