Chadron State College track and field student-athlete Mel Herl is the 2016-17 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, it was announced Wednesday.
The award, which prior to 2016-17 was bestowed on a male and female from each RMAC member institution, was restructured this year to recognize the top scholar-athletes overall for the academic year.
A committee of RMAC staff members was tasked with selecting the overall award winners. Colorado School of Mines’ men’s basketball player Gokul Natesan was awarded Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Herl maintained a 3.75 graduate GPA as she recently completed her master’s degree in organizational management. Her phenomenal track and field seasons, both indoor and outdoor, included NCAA titles in hammer throw and indoor shot put, All-America nods for her other three events – weight throw, outdoor shot put, and discus throw – as well, and RMAC titles in all five.
The Eaton, Colorado, native also landed on the NCAA Division II all-time performers list ranked second in weight throw (21.98m) and hammer throw (65.27m). She was also fifth in outdoor shot put (16.92m) and sixth in discus throw (57.07m). Her other accolades include RMAC All-Academic First Team, CoSIDA Academic All-District, First Team All-RMAC, and USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week.
Herl departed Tuesday for Sacramento, California, where she competes in the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday and Sunday.
Natesan and Herl will both be forwarded as nominees for the national Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association. In addition, they will be recognized at the 2016-17 RMAC Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet on Friday, July 14 at the Colorado Springs Marriott Hotel.