D2 CCA Recognizes Lars Benner as Regional Scholar-Athlete of Year

D2 CCA Recognizes Lars Benner as Regional Scholar-Athlete of Year

CLEVELAND - University of Tampa cross country and track student-athlete Lars Benner was named the D2 CCA Regional Scholar Athlete of the Year by the Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2 CCA).

Seniors Marie Coors of Saint Leo University (SSC) and Adam Klie of UC San Diego (CCAA) were named the Division II Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Coors held a perfect 4.0 GPA as an economics major, while Klie maintained an identical 4.0 GPA as a bioengineering: bioinformatics major.

Also named the Sunshine State Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and an Academic All-American, Benner graduated with a 4.00 grade-point average in biochemistry. He was also a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree and four-time SSC Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient. He was also selected to the D2ADA Academic Achievement Team, received the AP Scholar with Distinction honor, earned UT's Science Student of the Year award, and graduated in the top one-percent of his class.
Benner finished first among all Spartans at the Florida State Invite, South Florida Invite, SSC Championship, and NCAA South Regional in 2016. Following an 8,000-meter time of 26:53.98 at the pre-conference meet to start the year, Benner improved his top-time by over a minute to 25:48.25 at the SSC Championship.
The Valrico, Fla., product has volunteered for Meals on Wheels, tutored math, and mentored abused and abandoned children during his time at the University of Tampa. Benner also donated his time teaching basketball and working as a camp counselor. 

Earlier this month, 17 regional scholar-athlete award winners were selected by the D2 CCA. Coors and Klie were named from a field of nine women's regional winners and eight men's regional winners.

"Adam and Marie truly embody the definition of student-athlete and we are excited to honor both of them with this prestigious award," stated D2 CCA President Patrick Britz, commissioner of the South Atlantic Conference. "As always, we had amazing nominees to choose from, but the accomplishments of these two on the basketball court (Adam), golf course (Marie) and in the classroom separated them from the group. We are fortunate to have these remarkable individuals represent NCAA Division II."

A native of Gross-Zimmern, Germany, Coors dominated the Sunshine State Conference women's golf circuit for the past four years. The 2016-17 NCAA Division II women's golf individual nation champion, Coors was a two-time SSC Medalist and two-time SSC Player of the Year honoree. Over the course of her career, Coors has garnered eight All-America selections including College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) All-American of the Year and At-Large Academic All-American of the Year honors. Following her final season as a Lion, Coors was named the conference's Female Athlete of the Year, Female Scholar Athlete of the Year and SSC Woman of the Year. Named the 2017 Women's Golf Association Division II Women's Golfer of the Year, her NCAA title marks the first national championship, individual or team, in Saint Leo women's athletics history.

Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, Klie helped the Tritons to an overall record of 27-6 in his final season, by averaging 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting an impressive 49.4% from the field. An NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship recipient, Klie was selected CoSIDA First Team All-America en route to All-America of the Year honors. He departs the UC San Diego men's basketball program as the Tritons all-time leading scorer with 1,524 points, while topping the all-time categories for rebounds (625), field goals made (1,084) and minutes played (3,510), among others. As a senior, Klie was decorated as the California Collegiate Athletics Association's Tournament MVP, Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Player of the Year. He is just the second Triton in men's basketball program history (DII era) to record 1,000 career points and 500 rebounds.

Joining Coors as the Women's regional winners were:

Sabrina Anderson Sr. Slippery Rock University Atlantic Track & Field Exercise Science 3.91
Bethany Drake Sr. Western Washington University West Track & Field Art 3.87
Mel Herl Sr. Chadron State College South Central Track & Field Sports and Recreation Management 3.82
Kayce Krucki Sr. Wheeling Jesuit University Atlantic Volleyball Athletic Training 3.85
Carly Muscaro Sr. Merrimack College East Track & Field Criminology 3.89
Nicole Ries Sr. Minnesota State University-Mankato Central Softball Mass Media 3.70
Laina Snyder Jr. Ashland University Midwest Basketball Business Management 3.91
Cheyenne Thompson Sr. University of Montevallo Southeast Track & Field Biology 4.00

Men's regional winners in addition to Klie were:

Lars Benner Sr. University of Tampa South Cross Country Biochemistry 4.00
Tim Buff Sr. Le Moyne College East Swimming Finance & Marketing 3.96
Calvin Hawke Sr. Barton College Southeast Baseball Business Administration and Mathematics 3.98
Dan Monteroso Gr. West Liberty University Atlantic Basketball/Football Education 4.00
Gokul Natesan Sr. Colorado School of Mines South Central Basketball Computer Science 3.90
Nate Rodriguez Sr. Maryville University Midwest Wrestling Biochemistry 3.93
Kyle Zimmerman Sr. Northwest Missouri State University Central Football General Management 3.86

About D2 CCA: Initiated in 1992 to promote its member conferences and institutions, D2 CCA has made its mark in providing a united front for NCAA Division II athletics. Created after the break-up of the College Division Commissioners Association, the D2 CCA continues to create lines of communication and opportunities for its member conferences. The D2 CCA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.