Merila Named Judy Kruckman Women’s Gymnastics Athlete Scholar

Press release courtesy of WIAC

MADISON, Wis.– Brooke Merila of Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.) has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Judy Kruckman Women’s Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete Award.

A senior from St. Michael, Minnesota (St. Michael-Albertville), Merila has a 3.966 GPA and is majoring in nursing. She was named to the 2020-21 All-America® At-Large Academic Third Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Merila is a three-time WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll member and has appeared on her institution’s Dean’s List for many semesters. She received academic scholarships from her institution.

Merila earned All-America honors with a fourth-place all-around finish at the 2019 NCGA Championship. She was selected to the WIAC All-Sportsmanship team this year and served as team captain for the past four seasons. She was the freshman female athlete on her team in 2019 and received the hardest worker award in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, she received the most dedicated award.

Merila has been a member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for the past three years. She is also a Christian Athlete Leader and Women’s Delight Ministry Leader. Merila was a residential assistant and a member of the pediatric cancer awareness team. She has volunteered at gymnastics camps and Special Olympics and her work experiences include: sports event management; cafeteria employee; and night nursing clinics.

Also nominated for this year’s varsity athlete award: Danielle Malecha of UW-Eau Claire (Sr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Rosemount); Kathryn Kalland of Hamline University (Sr., Maplewood, Minn./Roseville); Emma Grant of UW-La Crosse (Sr., Memphis, Tenn./Briarcrest Christian School); Emily Gilot of UW-Oshkosh (Sr., St. Peters, Mo./Living Word Christian); Emily North of UW-Whitewater (Sr., Oklahoma City, Okla./Moore); and Katherine Curtis of Winona State University (Sr., Watertown, Wis./Watertown).

The WIAC Scholar-Athlete Award is named after Judy Kruckman who served as Assistant Commissioner of WIAC from 1996 to 1998. Prior to this appointment, she was Commissioner of the Wisconsin Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WWIAC) from October 1984 to September 1996. Kruckman was director of women’s athletics at UW-Eau Claire from 1974 to 1984 and one of the first representatives at the WWIAC when it was formed in 1971. She was inducted into the WIAC Hall of Fame in 2012.

In order to be nominated for the Scholar-Athlete Award, a student-athlete must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50. Additionally, she must be in her final year of competition, or on schedule to graduate this academic year, and have competed for at least two years. The award is based on academic achievement, athletic achievement, and participation in other campus activities, organizations, and community service projects.

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