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Two Cougars are finalists for UMAC leadership award

A standout pair of Minnesota Morris athletes are among the finalists for the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award. Chosen from a pool of candidates throughout all eight conference members, Diane Blommel of Grey Eagle and Daniel Fragodt of Benson are two of just seven student-athletes named finalists.

The award, which is given to one male and one female student-athlete from UMAC member-institutions, recognizes graduating seniors who demonstrate a healthy balance by achieving excellence in academics, leadership, and service, while participating in intercollegiate athletics.

Blommel and Fragodt are each two-sport athletes for the Cougars, sharing the basketball court in the winter with Blommel stepping to the softball diamond in the spring and Fragodt heading to the tennis court.

Currently Blommel is leading the Cougar softball team with a .514 average, 18 hits, 19 runs scored and 14 RBI. A former All-Conference performer at third base, she led the Cougars to four wins in a two-day stretch. 

This all comes after wrapping up a four-year career on the hardwood, which concluded with back-to-back UMAC titles and trips to the NCAA Tournament.  This past winter, Blommel was the only fourth-year member of a team that went 14-0 in conference play, winning the UMAC's regular season and tournament championships.

Fragodt spent the winter leading the Cougar men's basketball team to a runner-up finish in the regular season, before earning their second straight berth in the UMAC Tournament Championship game. He concluded his senior season with his second All-Conference honor, while also being named to the UMAC All-Defensive Team for the third straight year.

He takes the tennis court this spring, after a junior season where he earned All-Conference honors and advanced to the championship match at No. 2 singles.

Blommel holds a 3.83 GPA in Financial Management, while Fragodt is a 3.59 student double majoring in math and stats. They have each been Dean's List members and Academic All-Conference honorees.  Blommel is a member of the Morris Student Athletic Advisor Committee, while Fragodt has spent time working with intramurals.

They are joined as finalists by Gerg Holzhueter and April Cook of Martin Luther, Toby Peter and Nicole Brandt of St. Scholastica and Rachel Polzin of Northwestern.

The winners of the scholar-athlete leadership award will be announced during the third week of April. Award recipients are honored on their individual campuses and presented with a customized plaque.