DULUTH, MN – Three-time volleyball All-American, Kate Lange, and track and cross country standout, Cole Toepfer, were bestowed with the University of Minnesota Duluth's Outstanding Male and Female Senior Athlete Awards for 2013-14 at the fourth annual Dinner with Champions banquet on Wed., April 30 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Dani Potter, women's soccer, and Jordan Bauman, football, were recipients of this year's E.L. "Duce" Rasmussen Award as the school's top scholar-athletes
In addition, senior women's basketball center, Hannah Rutten, received the Shjon Podein Community Service Award, which has been presented annually since 2003 to a UMD student-athlete who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the field of play and has made noteworthy humanitarian contributions in the Duluth and University communities.
The evening also included the awarding of the Chancellor's Cup to the women's basketball Bulldogs for maintaining the best collective grade point average during the last two semesters (3.55) of any UMD team.
Lange put an exclamation point on one of the most decorated careers in UMD volleyball history last fall by being selected the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Player of the Year -- only the second Bulldog to ever receive that prestigious honor. A tower of power at the left outside hitter position the past four seasons, she exited the Bulldog program as its all-time kills (2,078) and attacks (4,854) leaders. During her senior season, the Hibbing, Minn., native paced the nation in kills (5.41 per set) and points per set (6.14) while captaining the Bulldogs to a 33-3 overall record, a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament championship and a 12th consecutive berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs (where they were the No. 1 seed). Lange's other 2013 post-season awards included Daktronics National Player of the Year, AVCA All-American first team, Daktronis All-American first team and NSIC Player of the Year. She's also nominee for the Collegiate Women's Sports Award (Division II), which will be handed out this this June.
Toepfer, a fifth-year senior from Eagan, Minn., saved his best running for last as earlier this spring he was chosen the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Central Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. This came after he finished as the top individual point producer at the NSIC Indoor Championships in Bemidji, Minn., where he placed first in the mile, second in the 3,000-meter run and third in the 5,000-meter race. This past March, Toepfer qualified for the NCAA Division II national indoor meet in three different events and wound up competing in two of those -- the mile and distance medley relay. The owner of three school track records, he also distinguished himself as one of UMD's top cross country runners for four years. Toepfer captained both the Bulldogs track and cross country teams as a senior and between the two sports, attained All-NSIC honors on six occasions.
Potter, who maintains a 3.83 cumulative grade point average, will graduate next month with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science. As a senior, she attained National Soccer Coaches Association of American Scholar All-Region honors in addition to earning a spot on the NSIC All-Academic Team for the third season in a row. Potter, a 2013-14 CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 first team pick, was also one of three UMD student-athletes to be bestowed with a NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award this past year. On the pitch, the fourth-year star forward from White Bear Lake, Minn., captained the 2013 Bulldogs to their first-ever NCAA Division II Central Region title and a berth in the Elite Eight while ranking first on the club in assists (8) and second in goals (12), points (32) and shots (62). For her efforts, Potter was rewarded with a selection to both the NSCAA and Daktronics All-Central Region Teams as well as the All-NSIC first team (for a third straight year).
One of the feel-good stories in college football, Bauman returned to the Bulldog lineup in 2013 after taking the entire previous season off while battling Stage II Hodgkins Lymphoma. He went on to see time at defensive end in all 13 games and had a hand in 27 total tackles (12 solos and 15 assists) -- including 3.5 stops for a loss -- for the NSIC North Division champion Bulldogs. The Stratford, Wisconsin, native and three-time NSIC All-Academic Team honoree graduated from UMD this past December with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a 3.71 cumulative grade point average. He was among six Bulldogs to earn a spot on the 2014 National Football Foundation Honor Society List.
Since her arrival on the UMD campus four years ago, Rutten has engaged herself in a multitude of volunteering endeavors, including the highly-successful "Champions Building Champions " program at the Boy and Girls Club of Duluth, Udac's Walk A Mile In Our Shoes Walkathon, Make-A-Wish, the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank "Empty Bowl" fundraiser, Toys for Tots, and UMD's annual Community Clean-up event. The 2013-14 Bulldog team co-captain also served as a coach with Duluth Amateur Youth Basketball Association and in her hometown of New York Mills, Minn., the last four seasons. Rutten, who coordinated UMD's 2013 Tackle Cancer Event in conjunction with the school's Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the Minnesota Football Coaches Association, has given over 40 hours of service to the Lake Superior Community Health Center Dental Clinic this spring, providing oral health care to low-income citizens. She appeared in 85 lifetime games with the basketball Bulldogs (including 30 as a starter) and along the way attained NSIC All-Academic status three times.
Also on Wednesday night at the Dinner with Champions event, Dale and Pat Sundin of Duluth received the Bruce Bennett Service Award (exceptional service and commitment to UMD athletics) while the Marsh Nelson Bulldog Award recognizing leadership and support of the Bulldogs in the community went to Chris Anderson of Hermantown, Minn.