MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – University of Minnesota student-athletes Michael Kroells (wrestling), Lee Stecklein (women’s hockey), Brett Pfarr (wrestling), Justin Karstadt (men’s gymnastics) and Yu Zhou (women’s swimming & diving) have been named to the 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America Division I At-Large Teams, the organization announced on Thursday.
With five honorees named today, Minnesota now boasts a total of nine Academic All-Americans for the 2016-17 academic year. Paige Tapp (volleyball), Rashida Beal (soccer), Carlie Wagner (women’s basketball) and Sara Groenewegen (softball) earned Academic All-America honors earlier this year.
Kroells, Stecklein and Pfarr earned Academic All-America accolades for the second year in a row. Kroells led the way for the Maroon & Gold, repeating as a First Team Academic All-American while Stecklein and Pfarr each added Second Team honors. Karstadt and Zhou each picked up Third Team nods as both Gophers were honored for the first time in their careers.
A native of Belle Plaine, Minn., Kroells is a three-time All-American and a four-time letter winner. As a three-time All-American, the senior is part of a select group of just 26 Gophers in program history to reach the NCAA podium three times. His three consecutive All-America seasons extended Minnesota's heavyweight tradition, a weight class at which Minnesota has now produced an All-American 20 times in the past 25 years. Kroells’ 119 wins are tied for the 17th-most in program history. He has been recognized four times as Academic All-Big Ten and is pursuing his degree in aerospace engineering.
A native of Roseville, Minn., Stecklein has earned her second CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Second Team nod after also collecting second team honors last season. An entrepreneurial management major in Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business, Stecklein is a three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete and WCHA All-Academic Team honoree along with being a three-time AHCA/CCM All-American and All-WCHA First Team selection. She was named Minnesota's female Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient this spring. Stecklein wrapped up her career this season ranked seventh in scoring among all-time Gopher defensemen with 93 career points. The three-time team captain led the Gopher women's hockey team to three national titles during her five-year career with the Maroon & Gold and is continuing her hockey career as a member of the U.S. Women's National Team training for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
A native of Le Sueur, Minn., Pfarr is a two-time All-American for the Gophers as well as a four-time letter winner. As a senior, Pfarr not only reached the Big Ten finals for the second time in his career, he also advanced to the NCAA finals. During his two seasons at 197 pounds, Pfarr went 71-7, including 30-0 in duals, 18-0 in the Big Ten, and 28-7 against ranked opponents. His 120 career wins are 16th-best in program history, and his .845 winning percentage is tied for 14th-best. He's also a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, majoring in agriculture and food business management.
A native of Toronto, Ontario and a member of the Canadian National Team, Karstadt closed out a strong sophomore season as the Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Year. Karstadt earned a trio of top-10 finishes at the Big Ten championships, including a silver medal on pommel horse, to be named to the All-Big Ten First Team for the second-straight year. He competed in the all-around competition at the NCAA Championships. During the regular-season finale, Karstadt scored an 87.050 on all-around to become just the third gymnast in the nation to break 87 points and the only competitor to do so in the Big Ten. A kinesiology major, Karstadt earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in his first season of eligibility.
A native of Wuhan, China, Zhou is a two-time NCAA champion on the 3-meter diving board. The senior has earned seven All-America honors during her three-year career as well as seven Big Ten titles. She has been named the Big Ten Diver of the Year and the Big Ten Diver of the Championships all three years at Minnesota. A communications studies major, Zhou is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, earning the honor every year she has been eligible.
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