SAINT PETER, Minn. – The 2021-22 Academic All-District Men’s and Women’s At-Large Teams, selected by CoSIDA, were released Thursday and four Gustavus student-athletes received recognition. Men’s tennis player Nick Aney (Sr., Rochester), women’s swimmer Ellen Hofstede (Jr., Hopkins), gymnast Brooke Merila (Sr., St. Michael), and women’s hockey player Kayla Vrieze (Sr., Eagan) all earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, recognizing the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances in athletic competition and in the classroom.
Aney, a biochemistry major with a 3.99 GPA, earns his second All-District award after receiving First Team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors last year. Aney, this year’s MIAC Arthur Ashe Award winner, is a two-time All-American after reaching the semifinals of the 2021 NCAA Doubles Championships with partner Alex Budde, and finishing in the top eight at the 2021 ITA Cup after upsetting the No. 1-ranked team in the country in the first round. Aney received the 2021 MIAC Elite 22 Award and was an All-Conference selection. Aney has posted a career singles record of 40-29 and is 57-27 in doubles play. He has helped the Gusties win conference championships in both the regular season and playoff in 2019, 2021, and 2022.
Hofstede, an environmental studies and geography double major with a 3.65 GPA, is a five-time All-American, most recently taking sixth place in the 100 freestyle at the 2022 NCAA Championships. Hofstede earned All-America in the 50 and 100 freestyles in 2021 and was an All-American selection in 2020 after qualifying for the NCAA Championships, which were canceled due to the pandemic. Hofstede has won 14 MIAC All-Conference awards and is a 10-time conference champion. She holds the school record in the 100 freestyle (50.81) and holds four pool records at Gustavus’s Vic Gustafson Pool.
Merila, a nursing major with a 3.97 GPA, earns her second All-District honor after being named Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-America last year. Merila is a two-time NCGA All-American, most recently taking eighth place in the all-around at the 2022 NCGA Championships. She earned All-America at the 2019 NCGA Championships by finishing fourth in the all-around. Merila won the 2022 WIAC Judy Kruckman Women’s Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete Award, was a four-year team captain, and was listed on the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll three times.
Vrieze, a public accounting major with a 3.99 GPA, had a banner year by earning 2022 CCM/AHCA First Team All-America, the 2022 NCAA Elite 90 Award, and the 2022 MIAC Elite 22 Award. Vrieze also earned MIAC All-Conference this season, while helping the Gusties win both the MIAC regular season and playoff titles, along with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships. Vrieze earned the MIAC Elite 22 Award in 2020 as well and is a three-time MIAC Academic All-Conference selection. She’s accumulated 13 goals, 26 assists, 39 points, a +45 rating, and four game-winning goals in her career as a defender. Vrieze has missed only one game out of 91 in her career while the Gusties have posted a 67-15-9 record during that time.
Academic All-District honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot where First, Second, and Third Team Academic All-America honorees will be announced in mid-June.