FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Four Northern Arizona University student-athletes have been recognized as All-Americans through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, an organization that honors student athletes dedicated to strength training and conditioning. The NSCA selected Brian Riley and Benjamin Bachelier of the NAU football team as well as Ethi Ethridge and Chelsea Bednarz of the women's soccer team.
In honor of these athletes, NSCA Executive Director Alan Kinniburgh said, "The advantages of strength training and conditioning cannot be denied in collegiate and high school athletics. These student-athletes attest to this understanding, and are to be applauded for their hard work and dedication."
Chelsea Bednarz, from Chandler Ariz., has been a key leader to the soccer team in the two years that she has been with the Lumberjacks. Bednarz was awarded the Newcomer of the Year by the Big Sky Conference after transferring from Santa Clara midway through her career. The senior will be graduating this coming May with a degree in advertising and was recognized by the the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences' Alumni Association's Distinguished Senior award.
"Upon transferring to Northern Arizona University Chelsea trained at a consistently high intensity and has been a leader through her actions on and off the field", said strength coach Cody Hodgeson. "Her commitment to the strength and conditioning program has positively influenced the underclassmen to take initiative in the weight room."
Ethi Ethridge, from Los Alamos, N.M., is a senior with the women's soccer team. Ethridge played in 13 games with five starts for the Lumberjacks last fall. The midfielder is a four-time Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award recipient, a 2011 Big Sky All-Academic selection and a member of the Athletic Director Honor Roll in 2011-12.
"Her dedication to year-round training was evident when she took the field her senior season and had an immediate impact in each game," said assistant strength coach Daniel Darcy, who selected Ethridge. "She was able to contribute a great number of quality minutes than in the past seasons, and her vocal leadership and accountability of herself and her teammates was like having another coach in the weight room or on the field."
Brian Riley, from Tucson, Ariz., is a two-time All-Big Sky selection who saw action in 31 games throughout his career scoring two touchdowns. In 2011, the senior tight end played in 11 games with 8 starts and was a key blocker for sophomore running back Zach Bauman. Riley graduated from NAU in December 2011 with a double major in marketing and management.
"Brian's hard work shows on and off the field; he is an all-around athlete," Hodgeson said. "Run, jump, block, or catch he can do it well. He never missed a workout, always worked hard, and brought energy to the room that transferred to his teammates."
Ben Bachelier, from Rio Rico, Ariz., was honored as a 2011 Capital One Academic All-American Second Team recipient. Bachelier has celebrated several local and national awards including four straight Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete awards and a 2010 ESPN Academic All-America nominee. The long snapper saw action in all 11 games during his senior season with the Lumberjacks.
"He not only outworked his opponents, but his teammates as well," Darcy said. "He led by example as well as guided his teammates. His consistency in the room paralleled his play on the field, with no bad snaps his senior year and several tackles on punt coverage."
Day-in and day-out these student athletes lead their teammates by example both on and off the field. Their determination to improve in athletics while maintaining academic greatness will act as a guidance for all current student-athletes across the NAU campus.