Brunson, Wessel earn top awards

Basketball players Merrill Brunson and Jolene Wessel won the UW-Platteville Athlete of the Year Awards, given Sunday, May 7, at the UWP Athletic Honors Banquet.

Other major award winners included Andrea Honshel and Lisa Dietzel sharing the Pat Doyle Female Scholar-Athlete Award; Tim Swenson winning the Male Scholar-Athlete Award; Jen Hawk winning the NCAA Woman of the Year Award; and Jeremiah Logeman winning the Pioneer Student-Athlete Advisory Council Award.

The Athletic Department also gave its Awards of Thanks to Alumni Director Barb Daus and to the Platteville Journal/Mastercraft Press's Dick Brockman. The football and women's basketball teams shared the Platteville Chamber of Commerce Award for Community Service.

This was the second straight year that Brunson earned the school's top athletic honor. Last year, he was the player of the year in the WIAC, the Final Four and then all of NCAA Division III. It was a tough act to follow, but the senior from Richland Center did it. He became Pioneers' all-time leader in three-point shooting and the third all-time leading scorer. He was named a first team all-American by both Basketball Times and He also added two prestigious academic awards to his glowing list of honors. He was the WIAC Scholar-Athlete and a GTE Academic all-district selection.

Wessel capped a career in a way that seemed scripted in Hollywood. With the time ticking down in her final home basketball game, she stole the ball, ran the length of the floor and laid the ball in the basket. Not only would it be her last basket scored in Williams Fieldhouse, it was her 1,000th career point. The senior from Platteville (Belmont High School) is just the sixth woman in Pioneer history to reach such a total. She is a two-time all-conference selection and a member of the Gabe Miller academic honor roll. She is a two-year captain and also a four-year worker in the sports information department. She annually ranked among the team leaders in scoring, steals and assists and is one of the top all-around basketball players in the program's history.

Honshel and Dietzel each have 3.59 grade-point averages and shared the fifth annual Pat Doyle Award, named after UWP's women's faculty athletic representative from 1987 until 1994. After she lost her battle with cancer in 1995, her family dedicated the award in her honor.

Honshel, from Platteville, has been a co-captain for both the cross country and track teams. She holds track records in the distance medley relay and the pole vault. She is in Phi Kappa Phi for being in the top 10 percent of the senior class; in Chi Epsilon for civil engineering honors and Tau Beta Pi for general engineering honors. This spring, Honshel helped organize and did a great deal of work with the student-athlete cleanup day. For Honshel, it really is rocket science. She has been awarded a NASA research space grant for this summer, and will study at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Dietzel was a four-year letterwinner and two-year captain for the women's basketball team. Despite suffering some injuries in her career, she always bounced back and when she wasn't able to play she was a vocal, encouraging leader when she was playing, she was one of the top shooters in the conference, earning WIAC player of the week honors last year after lighting up UW-Stout for 22 points. Dietzel, from Dickeyville (Cuba City High School) is a physical education major who also been a valuable member of our athletic department as a student worker.

NCAA Woman of the Year Winner Hawk placed in the WIAC track championships 13 times in four years, including last weekend, when she won the heptathlon. She is a three-time all-conference performer, has twice qualified for the NCAA national championships in the heptathlon and holds three school records. In addition, she is a four-year cross country letter winner and won the team's sophomore, junior and then senior runner of the year awards. The senior from Sterling, Ill. has earned academic all-America honors in cross country and has been on the dean's list seven times. She is a four-time UWP scholarship recipient and a member of Alpha Lamda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma. She also volunteers at a domestic abuse shelter and in the Platteville School District. She has captained the track and cross country teams in is the co-chair of the Pioneer Student-Athlete Advisory Council

Swenson, the winner of the male scholar athlete award is a physical education from Boscobel. He carries a 3.86 grade-point average and is a member of the dean's and chancellor's list and a member of the Kappa Delta Pi honors society. Three times he placed in the WIAC conference wrestling tournament, finishing as high as third. He is a member of the Pioneer Student-Athlete Advisory Council and a two-time national student-athlete award winner.

His wrestling teammate, Logeman, earned the Pioneer Student-Athlete Advisory Council Award for his dedication and leadership given to his team. He is a senior from Mineral Point.