Virgil Cheek Award Recipient Heath Melugin
Virgil Cheek Award Recipient Heath Melugin
Fifty-Seven MSU Student-Athletes Complete Degrees Friday

May 18, 2012

SPRINGFIELD -- A group of 57 Missouri State University student-athletes will receive their degrees at three spring commencement ceremonies at JQH Arena on Friday, May 18.  Also Friday, former Missouri State soccer standout Heath Melugin (Springfield, Mo.) was named as the winner of the 58th Annual Virgil Cheek Athletic Achievement Award.       

The Virgil Cheek Award has been given annually since 1955 to the graduating senior male student-athlete best demonstrating high qualities in scholarship, character, attendance, leadership and athletic performance. The award is named in honor of the long-time Missouri State faculty athletics representative and business faculty member and selected by the six men's intercollegiate athletics head coaches.  

Melugin was an All-MVC first team honoree as a senior in 2011 and led the MVC co-champion Bears in points, goals, shots, shots on goal and game-winners. He earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors for the second straight year, garnering elite status as the first Bear in any sport to earn Academic All-America first-team distinction since 2006.

The standout midfielder from Springfield was named to the MVC All-Tournament Team as a senior and was selected as the 2011 MVC Elite 18 Award winner in men's soccer. He also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team honors for the third season, was named Prairie Farms-MVC Student Athlete of the Week twice, earned a spot on the MVC Scholar-Athlete first-team for the third year and was named a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

He finished his career ranked fifth all-time at MSU in game-winners (8), seventh in goals (22) and eighth in points (53). He will earn summa cum laude honors with a 3.97 GPA and plans to attend medical school.

Including August and December 2011 ceremonies, a total of 95 Missouri State student-athletes have earned their degrees during the 2011-12 academic year.

Football once again led all programs with the most undergraduate degrees conferred this spring with 15, while women's swimming and diving was second with seven, followed by field hockey (5), women's soccer (5), men's soccer (4), men's swimming and diving (4), women's track and field (3), women's golf (3), men's golf (2), volleyball (2), baseball (1) and women's basketball (1).

The 2012 spring graduation list includes 15 MSU student-athletes graduating with academic honors. Six student-athletes earned the top academic honor of summa cum laude with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.90 or higher, including Tara Bailes (women's soccer), Jenna Compton (field hockey), Jennifer Hamlin (women's soccer), Emily Matthews (women's golf), Heath Melugin (men's soccer) and Emily Potts (women's golf). Six additional student-athletes compiled GPAs in the 3.75-3.89 range to earn magna cum laude distinction: Elizabeth Chollet (women's swimming), Ramie Masters (field hockey), Laura Peterson (women's swimming), Jessica Teahan (women's soccer), Kelsey Welber (women's golf) and Brianna Willoughby (women's swimming). Three student-athletes finished with GPAs in the 3.50 to 3.74 range to garner cum laude laurels, including Brynne Buell (women's swimming), Tyler Saltzberry (men's swimming) and Thomas Vania (men's soccer).  Five MSU student-athletes completed their undergraduate degrees with additional scrutiny in the honors college.

A year ago, 40 student-athletes earned undergraduate or graduate degrees in the May 2011 ceremonies.  The top graduating classes on record for Missouri State athletics are: May 2006 (64), May 2004 (61), May 2009 (61), May 2005 (59), May 2007 (57), May 2008 (57), May 2012 (57).

The winners of the Andrew J. McDonald Achievement Award also were selected in advance of Friday's commencement activities.  The Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department faculty annually recognizes the top graduating senior athletics participants majoring in healthy and physical education. The 2012 recipients of the award are: Katherine Fitzwater from Potosi, Mo., who graduated in December with a 3.68 GPA, and Bradley Angel from Knob Noster, Mo., who finished with a 3.11 GPA.  Both students were heavily involved in intramural programs and coaching in the Springfield Community.

The two remaining awards to be selected for the 2011-12 academic year will be named at the conclusion of all Missouri State athletics competition for the year when the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Senior Female Scholar Athlete Award for the graduating senior with the highest GPA, and the Missouri State Outstanding Female Athlete Award will be presented.

Missouri State University will confer a total of 2,541 degrees during three spring commencement ceremonies, including 1,940 bachelor's degrees, 548 master's degrees, nine specialist degrees and 44 doctorate degrees. Beyond the standard expectations, 200 students will be recognized for their work with a more rigorous curriculum in Missouri State's Honors College. Scholastic honors will be given to 272 students who will graduate summa cum laude (with a grade point average of 3.9-4.0 on a 4.0 scale), 156 who will graduate magna cum laude (with a GPA of 3.75-3.89) and 135 who will graduate cum laude (with a GPA of 3.5-3.74).


Baseball (1): Tyler Paxson (Hospitality & Restaurant Administration).

Football (15): Adam Beauchamp (Construction Management), Jordan Chiles (Exercise & Movement Science), Brandon Hilt (Construction Management), David Ingram (Criminology), Stephen Johnston (Broadcast Journalism), Jacob Murphy (General Business), Luther Roweton (Agricultural Marketing & Sales), Mikel Ruder (Hospitality & Restaurant Administration), Jermaine Saffold (Criminology), Wes Stammers (Physical Education), Jimmie Strong (Therapeutic Recreation), Philip Terhaar (Construction Management), Charlie Thompson (Criminology), Willie White (Criminology), Jarrett Wright (Entertainment Management).

Men's Golf (2): Will Hogan (Psychology), Jordan McLaurin (Communication Studies).

Men's Soccer (4): David Buckenheimer (Entertainment Management), Chad Johnson (Broadcast Journalism), Heath Melugin*** (Cell & Molecular Biology), Thomas Vania* (Accounting).

Men's Swimming & Diving (4): Christopher Hyatt (Construction Management), Morgan Mitchell (Biology - honors), Tyler Saltzberry* (Wildlife Conservation & Management), Cajun Skinner (Psychology).

Women's Basketball (1): Casey Garrison (Psychology).

Field Hockey (5): Jenna Compton*** (Dietetics - honors), Elizabeth Grasso (Psychology), Kelsey Lomax (Dietetics), Ramie Masters** (Speech-Language Pathology), Lori Sinclair (Dietetics).

Women's Golf (3): Emily Matthews*** (Speech-Language Pathology), Emily Potts*** (Finance - honors), Kelsey Welber** (Marketing Management).

Women's Soccer (5): Tara Bailes*** (General Business - honors), Jennifer Hamlin*** (Dietetics - honors), Sarah Linsin (Elementary Education), Jordan Reppell (Entertainment Management), Jessica Teahan** (Early Childhood Education).

Women's Swimming & Diving (7):  Brynne Buell* (Public Relations), Elizabeth Chollet (Exercise & Movement Science), Katie Lindeman (Criminology), Laura Peterson** (Political Science), Torrie Villasenor (Elementary Education), Caroline Williams (Athletic Training), Brianna Willoughby** (Dietetics),

Women's Track & Field (3): Kristen Cypret (Creative Writing / French), Scarlett McCall (Photography), Leneice Rolle (Psychology).

Volleyball (2): Kelley Michnowicz (Psychology), Calli Norman (Art & Design)

Women's Soccer (3): Samantha Aguilar (Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, M.S.), Christine Cross (Social Work, M.S.W.), Jenna Laughlin (Literacy, M.S.E.D).

Women's Swimming & Diving (2): Sara Griffith (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, GRCT), Katharina Voelkel (Mathematics, M.S.).



Past Virgil Cheek Award Recipients
1955    Jerry Anderson, basketball-track
1956    Ron Whitaker, football
1957    George Simpson, track
1958    Max Oldham, basketball
1959    Russ Robinson, basketball
1960    Charlie Finley, football-track
1961    Jerry Stockard, basketball
1962    Carl Wilks, basketball
1963    Edsel Matthews, basketball
1964    Rich Johanningmeier, football
1965    Jerry Boyer, football
1966    Dan Young, football
1967    Bill Douglass, football-track
1968    Dennis Scott, football
1969    Danny Cook, baseball
1970    Bill Lamberson, track
1971    Chuck Williams, basketball
1972    Bob Curl, basketball-track
1973    Eric Thompson, basketball
1974    Randy Magers, basketball-baseball
1975    Bob Grana, football
1976    Kent Stringer, football
1977    John Prasuhn, track-cross country
1978    Terry Kasper, football-baseball
1979    Ron Snider, baseball
1980    Mitch Ware, football
1981    Bobby Biser, golf
1982    Mark Daniels, football
1983    Darrin Newbold, football
1984    Anthony Boggs, basketball
1985    Brian Smith, basketball
1986    Phil Schlegel, basketball
1987    Scott Hickox, basketball
1988    Preston Estes, football
1989    Scott Hartwig, football
1990    Chris Stange, basketball
1991    Jeff Eiserman, golf
1992    Tim McDuffey, football
1993    Chad Lakin, baseball
1994    Jim Prendergast, wrestling
1995    Chad Gardner, cross country-track
1996    Dan Kneeshaw, football-baseball
1997    Brad Barnes, soccer
1998    Neal McNamara, tennis
1999    Derek Jensen, football
2000    Brad St. Louis, football
2001    Matt White, football
2002    Jason Ringena, football
2003    Blake Boldon, cross country-track
2004    Rishi Garbharran, tennis
2005    Brad Durham, football
2006    Nathan Platz, soccer
2007    Mike Radon, football
2008    David Tillman, football
2009    Chris Playter, baseball
2010    Justin Fuehrmeyer, basketball
2011    David Arkin, football
2012    Heath Melugin, soccer

Past Andrew J. McDonald Achievement Award Recipients
1969    Dennis Darnell, football
1970    Gene Garrison, wrestling
1971    Chuck Williams, basketball
1972    Bob Curl, basketball-trac
1973    Rod Dishman, baseball
1974    Mike Keltner, basketball
1975    David Oatman, basketball-baseball
1976    Jack Carter, football
1977    Steve Spencer, football
1978    Kelly Walker, football
1979    Tony Armstrong, basketball
1980    Mitch Ware, football
1981    Dennis Whitehouse, wrestling
1982    Mark Daniels, football
1983    Dan Hemenway, swimming
1984    None awarded
1985    Scott Mantooth, track-cross country
1986    Preston Stinger, football
1987    Stacey Burkey, baseball
1988    Roger James, track
1989    Richard Rippee, baseball
1990    Scott DeHart, baseball
1991    Mark Krause, wrestling
1992    Paul Carney, football
1993    Ricky Lowrance, basketball
1994    Marty Marsh, basketball
1995    Sam Wutke, basketball
1996    Ryan Bravo, football
1997    Corey Roy, football
1998    Randy Carpenter, boys' & girls' clubs
1999    Ryan Touhey, football
2000    Cory Schroepfer, basketball
2001    Adam O'Hara, school programs
2002    Shawn Widel, school programs
2003    Grant Berendt, school programs
2004    Landon Gray, sports officiating
2005    Matt Greenwood, ice hockey/ROTC
2006    Jud Kindle, baseball
2007    Ryan Waters, school programs
2008    Kurt Lower, school programs
2009    Wade Marriott, school programs
2010    Stephen Brabo, school programs
2011    Brent Chojnacki, football
2012    Bradley Angel, school programs

1969    Mary Cloninger, volleyball
1970    Sue Schuble, volleyball-basketball-softball
1971    Ann McCord, volleyball
1972    Sherry Leonardo, basketball-softball
1973    Mary Sue Slater Gunn, track-golf
1974    Mary Phyl Dwight, basketball-softball-volleyball-track-cross country
1975    Laverne Burns, basketball-softball
1976    Jan Kreutz, field hockey
1977    Sharon Baack, track-basketball
1978    Joanie French, basketball-volleyball-softball
1979    Cynthia Wilson, golf-basketball
1980    Jane Small, track-field hockey
1981    Debra Berry, cross country-tennis
1982    Terri Thomas, basketball-track
1983    Laurie Swiger, volleyball
1984    Lynne Miller, basketball
1985    Jamie Ausmus, basketball
1986    Paula Buscher, basketball-softball
1987    Anita Turpin, softball
1988    Patricia Blanke, field hockey-softball
1989    Laura Perdue, track
1990    Sonja Butler, track
1991    Michon Golding, athletic training services
1992    Tonya Bradley, basketball
1993    Heather O'Bryan, handball
1994    Tonya Baucom, basketball
1995    Tina Robbins, basketball
1996    Connie Eckert, athletic training services
1997    Sue Huber, school programs
1998    Jill Downing, school programs
1999    Chrystal James, school programs
2000    Verneta Lesforis, track
2001    Nicole Alexander, school programs
2002    Melody Campbell, basketball
2003    Jessie Ketterman Grant, color guard
2004    Page Applegate, handball
2005    Kayla England, school programs
2006    Amanda Spry, soccer, school programs
2007    Diane Luttrell, handball
2008    Allison Zeller, swimming
2009    Erica Warfield, basketball
2010    Carrie Semar, school programs
2011    Lauren McGinley, softball
2012    Katherine Fitzwater, school programs