BURNSVILLE, Minn. – The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference announced Thursday Augustana’s Cody Lensing has been honored with the 2012 Dr. William Britton Scholar-Athlete Award for Academic Excellence. The award recognizes the conference’s top male student-athlete.
A senior from Moundsview, Minn., Lensing is majoring in biochemistry with a minor in philosophy and holds a 3.96 grade-point average. The Totino-Grace High School graduate wrestled for the Vikings at 125 pounds.
LeAnn Severson, a senior on Augustana’s track and field team, received the NSIC’s women’s honor-student-athlete award.
Minnesota State’s Kendra Huettl is the 2012 Willis R. Kelly Scholar-Athlete Award recipient as the NSIC’s top female student-athlete.
Lensing was a 2012 NCAA Elite 89 winner at the NCAA Championships, joining Matt Braithwaite as the only Augustana athletes in school history to earn the award. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 89 championships. Lensing was also a two-time Division II All-Academic selection, four-time Academic All-NSIC team member and seven-time dean’s list honoree. He was also presented with the NSIC’s Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award.
On the mat, Lensing was a 2012 All-American and all-conference second-team member. Lensing entered this year’s national tournament 20-5 and unranked. He earned his way to the 125-pound championship match by defeating three nationally ranked wrestlers, including a pin of third-ranked Kenny Trumbetta (Seton Hill) in the quarterfinals. Lensing lost to Kyle McCrite (Grand Canyon) 3-9 in the finals, earning All-America honors for the first time in his career.
On campus, Lensing was a member of the Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy Honor Society), Beta Beta Beta (National Biological Honor Society), Augustana Outdoor Club, Philosophy Club and Student Members of the American Chemical Society. He was also a chemistry and biology lab assistant and tutor.
In the course of his research experiences at Augustana and Sanford Research, Lensing developed the desire to lead a research team working to help humanity by advancing and creating treatments for human diseases. He has yet to determine if he wants to pursue this aspiration into industry solely as a researcher or in academia as a professor and researcher. Lensing will be attending the University of Minnesota this fall working toward his doctorate in medicinal chemistry. He also intends to use his philosophy training to be a voice in philosophical and ethical discussions that surround the pharmaceutical industry.
In his spare time, Lensing has helped the Women’s Historical Club repair its facilities, volunteered at Sanford Children’s Hospital as a pediatrics companion, tutored at inner city elementary schools in Minneapolis and helped younger wrestlers at various levels. He also helped set up and participate in charity fundraiser races for causes such as Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the Women’s Shelters and American Lung Association.
In additional to his athletic, academic and volunteer activities, Lensing participated in the Grandma’s Marathon, Liberty Half Ironman Triathlon and Ice Dive to support the American Lung Association. Additionally, he has worked as a researcher on potential anti-cancer drugs.
Lensing is the second student-athlete from Augustana to earn the Britton Award. Braithwaite earned the honors in 2011.
Lensing and Huettl will be recognized July 11 at the 2012 NSIC Hall of Fame Banquet at the Best Western Kelly Inn and Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minn. Each will each receive a $2,500 post-graduate scholarship.
The Britton Award was created in 1985 in honor of Dr. William Britton, a longtime faculty representative at Bemidji State. The Kelly Award is named in honor of Willis R. Kelly, an associate professor of physical education at Minnesota-Morris. A member of the NSIC Hall of Fame, Kelly also coordinated the UMM Physical Education Department from 1970 to 1987. She became the first director of women’s intercollegiate athletics at UMM in 1976 and was later promoted to athletic director for the department. Kelly passed away in 1988.
The member institutions of the NSIC nominate one male and one female student-athlete for the Britton and Kelly Awards. The nominees must meet the following criteria: a GPA of 3.5 or better (on a 4.0 scale), evidence of academic excellence beyond the minimum GPA (scholarship prizes and other academic recognition), evidence of participation in the life of the institution, and evidence of participation in at least two-thirds of the varsity events of the individual’s primary sport. The award is voted on by the NSIC Faculty Athletic Representatives.