Each school selected its top male and female student-athlete on the basis of academic performance, athletic ability and performance and leadership in campus and community activities. In addition, each student-athlete must have graduated this spring or be within 12 credit hours of graduation.
The select group will be honored at the NCC Honor Awards Dinner May 22 in Sioux Falls, and are finalists for the league's Stan Marshall Award, which will be announced at the dinner.
The honored male student-athletes include Patrick Allibone, Nebraska-Omaha; Scott Fiksdal, Minnesota State; Danny Gagner, North Dakota; Ryan King, Augustana; Ryan Koch, St. Cloud State; Nate Taran, Minnesota Duluth; and Trofholz.
The honored female student-athletes include Arin Andrews, Minnesota State; Lindsey Dietz, Minnesota Duluth; Sascha Hansen, St. Cloud State; Angie Hummel, Augustana; Kassy Laber, South Dakota; Veronica Sackett, North Dakota; and JJ Smith, Nebraska-Omaha.
Laber, a senior from Parkston, is an eight-time All-American and one of the nation's top middle distance runners. She was one of eight student-athletes in NCAA Division II to earn regional honors and was a candidate for the Division II Female Athlete of the Year during the 2006 indoor season.
An Academic All-American, she owns a 3.65 grade point average in business management and has been named to the dean's list in the School of Business every semester since 2002.
Deeply involved in community service, Laber has worked with Relay for Life, Special Olympics, Hershey Track and Field meet, among other things. Laber hand-knitted squares that were assembled into blankets for needy across America. She has been actively involved in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee since 2002, including planning and participating in the youth field days.
Laber has spent time with Vermillion Assisted Living, including organizing recreational activities for residents. She has served as an academic advisor to USD freshmen. Laber was involved in 2006 with the Welcome Table, including coordinating and planning the banquet, serving for the needy in Vermillion. Laber was the senior national Make it Yourself with Wool Ambassador in 2004.
Trofholz, a senior from Schuyler, NE, became the first men's basketball student-athlete in school and North Central Conference history to be named National Player of the Year, as selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches this spring. He earned his second-straight All-American honor from the NABC.
Trofholz, who was the Division II Bulletin's Preseason Player of the Year and a preseason All-American by Street & Smith's Magazine, also earned National Player of the Year honors by Division II Bulletin. He was selected to four All-American squads (D-II Bulletin, NABC, Daktronics, Inc., and Basketball Times) in 2005-06.
Trofholz, the 2005 Daktronics, Inc., North Central Regional Player of the Year, is the fourth player at USD to be tabbed All-American in men's basketball and is the ninth player in North Central Conference history and just the second Coyote to earn back-to-back All-American honors. For the second straight season, he was named the MVP of the North Central Conference, becoming the second Coyote to be named back-to-back MVP. He was a two-time ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America District VII and Academic All-NCC honoree as he holds a 3.5 GPA in health, physical education and recreation.
This season, he led the North Central Conference in scoring at 21.7 points, rebounding at 9.8 boards per game and field goal shooting percentage at 58.3 percent (247-of-424). Trofholz is the first student-athlete in school history to accumulate 1,900 points (1,931; third) and 900 rebounds (917; second).
Trofholz broke the career field goal percentage mark of 52.5 percent set by Tim Hatchett (1986-90), by shooting 61.9 percent from the field in 123 career games.
Trofholz has been involved in community service, including working with the "Beyond School Adventurers" after school program for children in Vermillion and coaching fifth and sixth grade basketball in Schuyler, NE.