Distance runner Josh LaBlanc, who completed his track and field and cross country eligibility last spring, has been named the 2010-11 Great West Conference Male Scholar-Athlete. It is the second time in the two-year history of the award a UND student-athlete has been named the male recipient, joining former kicker Brandon Hellevang, who received the inaugural award in 2009-10. Additionally, softball and women's hockey player Casie Hanson was the GWC female recipient in 2009-10.
The award honors the outstanding academic achievement, athletic achievement, attitude and leadership of one male and one female student-athlete.
LaBlanc, a native of International Falls, Minn., graduated with honors with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering after a standout senior season in 2010-11. LaBlanc won the 3,000-meters at the 2011 GWC Indoor Track and Field Championship, setting a conference record in the process.
LaBlanc also set three school records during his senior season, including the longest-standing record in UND track and field history, Arjan Gelling's 43-year-old record time in the 10,000-meters.
LaBlanc was a three-time GWC All-Academic Winter/Spring team selection, a two-time GWC All-Academic Fall team honoree, and a 2009 All-GWC Cross Country team performer. He is currently training for the upcoming U.S. Olympic Marathan Trials.
South Dakota track athlete Alexa Duling was named the 2010-11 GWC Female Scholar-Athlete.
"I want to congratulate Josh and Alexa on being selected the Great West Conference Scholar-Athletes," said GWC Commissioner Ed Grom. "The demand on the student-athletes' time is immense, and all the individuals who were nominated for this award have found the right balance. I am always amazed how these young people continue to shine on and off the athletic field."
To be eligible for the award a student-athlete must be a junior or senior who has completed two sea¬sons of athletic competition in a conference sponsored sport at a member institution and must have a minimum grade point average of 3.2. The student-athlete must display an examplary mental attitude toward his or her peers and academic and athletic mentors, including leadership, maturity, integrity and contributions to the community.
Each institution can nominate one male and one female student-athlete for the award through its faculty athletics representative, and the honorees are determined by a vote of the member institutions.
For more information, visit www.greatwestconference.org.