Jennifer Costello and Spencer Brinkmeyer, two Missouri S&T student-athletes who have earned numerous honors throughout their careers at the institution – including being named winners of the Gale Bullman Awards last week – have earned this year's top honor for a student-athlete from the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Costello and Brinkmeyer were named Wednesday as the recipients of the Richard F. Scharf Paragon Award, awarded annually to one male and one female student-athlete in the conference, based upon academic excellence, athletic ability and achievement, character and leadership. It is named in honor of the Commissioner Emeritus of the GLVC and former coach and director of athletics at Saint Joseph's College.
The pair will receive their awards next Tuesday at the GLVC Enterprise Rent-a-Car reception in St. Louis, an event that will also see a former Missouri S&T student-athlete, Kandi Wieberg Spraggs, get inducted into the GLVC's Hall of Fame.
Costello and Brinkmeyer are the second and third student-athletes from Missouri S&T to win the Paragon Award, following Jordan Henry in 2009, and it marks the third time since the GLVC began the award in 1991 that the same school had the winner of both awards. The others were Saint Joseph's in 1993 and Lewis in 2007.
Costello earned numerous honors throughout her volleyball career at Missouri S&T, topped by being chosen as the Capital One Academic All-America of the Year award winner for Division II volleyball. She was the third student-athlete in school history to earn the nation's top academic award that is selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
In addition to that honor, Costello was also named as the GLVC's Scholar-Athlete of the Year in volleyball for the 2012 season. She will be graduating May 19 with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering.
Costello was named to the Capital One Academic All-America first team for the second year in succession as well as to the All-GLVC first-team for a second straight season. She is a three-time Academic All-GLVC selection (will be four after the 2012-13 season ends) and three-time academic all-district choice, having been named to the second team in 2010.
During the 2012 season, Costello – a two-year captain for S&T - helped lead the Lady Miners to their second straight GLVC West Division title and the semifinals of the conference tournament. She finished third in the GLVC in assists per set and ranked 13th in all of Division II averaging 11.23 a set. As a team, S&T finished 20th in the nation averaging 12.74 set assists per set. She had eight matches this season with at least 50 set assists including a season-high 61 in a five set win over Upper Iowa on Sept. 7.
She was chosen to the American Volleyball Coaches Association's All-Midwest region team for the 2012 season.
Page 2 of 3 - In 2011, she was a key member of the Lady Miners' first team to win the GLVC West title, earn a spot in the GLVC Tournament, win a game at the conference tournament and reach the NCAA Division II Tournament in just its fifth season of existence. She set a school record for assists in a season with 1,436 as S&T went 24-10.
Costello finished her career with 4,361 set assists, 923 digs, 444.5 points scored, 270 kills, 182 total blocks and 80 service aces. During the three seasons in which she was a starter for the Lady Miners, the team posted a record of 58-36 and went 30-6 in the GLVC over the last two years.
Off the field, she served as president of Missouri S&T's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in the 2012-13 academic year after spending two years as secretary and has been a local and national member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. She did internships with Afton Chemical in Sauget, Ill., in the summer of 2010 and CVR Energy in Coffeyville, Kan., in the summer of 2012, while spending the summer of 2011 in a project called Energy Research with a Global Reach at Washington University in St. Louis. That included a trip to Hong Kong and China to learn about alternative energy sources from top researchers in those countries.
She has also served as a volunteer swimming instructor and volleyball coach and private lesson instructor, as well as being selected to take part in the Regional Business Council's Mentor Network program, a highly competitive cohort of students receiving exclusive connections to St. Louis regional business executive and professional development opportunities.
Brinkmeyer completed his brilliant career with the men's soccer team – which included earning All-America honors - during the 2012 season by being selected to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's All-Midwest region first team.
During the past season, Brinkmeyer – who also served as a team captain for the Miners - was named to the Great Lakes Valley Conference's all-league team for the third season in succession and was also chosen to the Capital One Academic All-District Four team last fall. He will also be graduating May 19 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering.
Brinkmeyer was named to the All-GLVC second team as a back, a position in which he was named to the first team as both a sophomore and junior. He finished the past year with three goals and an assist for seven points and anchored a solid defensive unit from his sweeper position that allowed only 13 goals in 17 games.
It was the third straight season in which Brinkmeyer has won an honor at the regional level, as he was selected to the Daktronics All-Midwest region squad in 2011 and earned All-America honors from his position in 2010 when the Miners won a share of the GLVC regular season title and reached the championship game of the Midwest Regional.
Page 3 of 3 - Brinkmeyer scored his goals this season against Truman State, Kentucky Wesleyan and Rockhurst and finished his Miner career with 11 goals and five assists. He is a three-time member of the GLVC's All-Academic team (will be four following the 2012-13 season).
Off the field, he served as president of Missouri S&T's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee during the 2011-12 academic year and also served as a resident assistant for the residential life office on the S&T campus. During the summers of 2011 and 2012, he did internships with HNTB Corporation in Overland Park, Kan., working on projects such as designing taxiways and aprons for airports and being part of a design team to build the first design-build highway project in the state of Kansas.