National champion Nelson to receive prestigious NCAA award

By University Communications
November 17, 2013
Tim Nelson

Photo: Tim Nelson

Tim Nelson has been having a busy week.

The four-time University of Wisconsin-Stout national champion in track and cross country, who now is a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, has been getting ready to leave for officer training school in Fort Benning, Ga.

On Friday, Nov. 8, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that he has been selected to receive the 2014 NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award. Just 10 athletes from all levels of NCAA athletics receive the award each year.

He also is just the fifth student in the history of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association to receive the award.

The award recognizes student-athletes for their successes on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community. The 10 recipients completed their athletics eligibility during the 2012-13 academic year and will be recognized at the Honors Celebration during the NCAA Convention in January in San Diego.

“Tim’s receiving of the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award is a remarkable honor for him, our cross country and track and field programs, the university and the community of Menomonie,” said Matt Schauf, Nelson’s cross country and distance coach. “He is one of those once-in-a-lifetime student-athletes that only some coaches are fortunate to work with, and I believe that he has made UW-Stout and the surrounding community a better place.”

In preparation for the convention, Nelson spent Thursday morning at UW-Stout in front of a video camera preparing the presentation, then returned to his Wisconsin home in nearby Augusta to finish packing to head to Georgia on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Nelson is a seven-time U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-American. In 2012, he was NCAA Division III men’s cross country individual champion and USTFCCCA Division III Men’s Athlete of the Year for both outdoor track and field and cross country.

Nelson holds UW-Stout school records in the indoor track and field 3,000 and 5,000 meters and outdoor track and field 5,000 and 10,000 meters. He was named WIAC Athlete of the Year in 2011 and 2013 and won five WIAC championships.

He is a two-time Capital One Academic All-America of the Year for men’s track and field and cross country. He was the USTFCCCA Division III Men’s Scholar Athlete of the Year in cross country in 2012-13 and received the WIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year award in outdoor track in spring 2012.

He is an eight-time recipient of the UW-Stout Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence and a four-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll.

Nelson received the UW-Stout Outstanding Student Leadership Award and was a recipient of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Award, the latter given to student leaders in the ROTC program.

Nelson graduated from UW-Stout last spring with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a grade point average of 3.70. He was commissioned last summer as a second lieutenant in the Army.

“Tim exemplifies what Division III athletics is about, being a solid competitor, while keeping in perspective the importance of the team, the university and the community and doing it with dignity and grace,” said UW-Stout Athletic Director Duey Naatz. “Receiving this award is an honor for this university and our athletic department but a tribute to his family upbringing, his outlook on life and his work ethic.”

“Many standout student-athletes are recognized for their athletic achievements, but Tim is most valued as a tremendous leader of men and women,” said Schauf. “He has a gift for instilling confidence in others and a special knack for infusing excitement to reach a common goal. While many of us saw the rarity of Tim as an individual, it’s both humbling and rewarding to see the NCAA bestow him this honor.”

The NCAA Honors Committee selects the honorees and is comprised of athletics administrators at member schools and conferences, as well as nationally distinguished former student-athletes.

The award began in 1973 as the NCAA Today’s Top V. It was expanded to the Top VI in 1983, the Top VIII in 1995 and the Top 10 in 2013.

Four student-athletes from the WIAC previously were recipients of the Top VIII Award: Dan Laurent of UW-La Crosse (2011), Kay Mikolajczak of UW-Oshkosh (2005), Kari Groshek of UW-Stevens Point (2003) and Leah Juno of UW-Stevens Point (2002).

The other 2014 recipients are:

  • Brigetta Barret, University of Arizona, indoor and outdoor track and field
  • Amber Brooks, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, soccer
  • Raven Chavanne, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, softball
  • Elena Delle Donne, University of Delaware, basketball and volleyball
  • Ellie Duffy, Concordia University-St. Paul, volleyball
  • Barrett Jones, University of Alabama, football
  • Jocelyne Lamoureux, University of North Dakota, ice hockey
  • Kayla Shull, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, swimming
  • Mary Weatherhold, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, tennis