INDIANAPOLIS – The Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor award winners have been announced with Green Bay women’s basketball player Mehryn Kraker (West Allis, Wis.) earning the award while Milwaukee track athlete Nate Pozolinski (Appleton, Wis.) received recognition one year after his brother Brett was honored.
The Coleman Medal of Honor, first awarded in 1981, is the Horizon League’s most prestigious individual honor. The award is presented annually to the top male and female student-athletes who demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities.
"I'm extremely grateful and thankful that this can represent Green Bay and the wonderful people that invest in me day in and day out,” Kraker said. “My years at Green Bay were more than I could've ever hoped for and there are so many people that helped make my experience so amazing and impactful. I am honored to represent UW-Green Bay and the Horizon League as the Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor recipient."
Kraker finished her Phoenix career as one the best to have worn the green and white. Kraker was recognized as Horizon League Player of the Year, but she was also awarded espnW Mid-Major Player of the Year. The fifth-year standout averaged 18.5 points per game during her final season to help extend the team’s regular season Horizon League championship streak to 19 seasons. Kraker also made it into the record books making the most three-pointers in program history with 234 and finished with the fifth-most points in Green Bay women’s basketball history.
“Mehryn has been an exceptional representation of our program and is everything a coach hopes for in a student-athlete,” stated Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth. “She’s a terrific leader, teammate and has a great relationship with the faculty on campus. Not only did Mehryn have a tremendous career at Green Bay on the court, she also excelled in the classroom and recently graduated with her master’s degree. She is a once in a lifetime student-athlete. Fortunately for us at Green Bay we have the privilege of working with the best there is and are proud to see Mehryn join Chari Nordgaard, Kristi Loiselle, Kayla Tetschlag, Julie Wojta and Ellen Edison in receiving the highest honor in our league. We could not be more proud for this deserving accomplishment.”
For all of the success Kraker had on the court, she has had just as much impact off the court. Kraker completed her master’s degree in Applied Leadership in Learning and Teaching and earned Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Winter Season. Kraker has volunteered her time at several events in the Green Bay community, including Kids Night Out, Special Olympics, Oktoberfest – Encompass Child Learning, BBQ Fest Kids Lot and the Big Event for Little Kids. She has completed speaking engagements by spending her time talking to students at Notre Dame High School and Trinity Lutheran Church in Green Bay.
Nate Pozolinski is the 10th Milwaukee Panther to earn the Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor award and the ninth track athlete.
“My time at UWM has greatly influenced me as an individual,” Pozolinski said. “It’s been a privilege to be a Panther the last four years and I’m very honored to receive the Coleman Medal of Honor. I have been surrounded by some great people at Milwaukee and the Horizon League, and I would like to thank everyone who played a role in shaping me into who I am today.”
Pozolinski wrapped up his track career as a three-time NCAA All-American. He earned the honor twice for the 110m hurdles in the 2016 and 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship and once for the 60m hurdles in the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship. Pozolinski won nine Horizon League Championships during his career and claimed seven runner-up finishes at League Championships. In addition, Pozolinski broke school records in the 60mH, 110mH, indoor long jump and the shuttle hurdle relay.
Pozolinski has been active in the Milwaukee community spending time mentoring students at Shorewood Intermediate School as well as Brookfield Academy Intermediate School. The native of Appleton, Wis., has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, St. Joe’s Food Panty and Make a Difference Day. Graduating with a degree in Marketing and Supply Chain Pozolinski has already found employment in his field of study. After applying and interviewing for the position in April, the company was so impressed with Pozolinski that they were willing to wait until after Nationals for him to start.
“This is a tremendous honor for Nate,” Milwaukee head track and field and cross country coach Pete Corfeld said. “He always gives 100-percent focus to whatever it is that he is doing, and that shows. He’s a very dedicated individual in the classroom, he was voted team captain by his peers and he graduates as a three-time All-American. He is always working hard to get to that next level. We’ve been fortunate to have him and his family as part of our program and we're all proud of everything that he has been able to accomplish. Nate is one of the all-time greats at Milwaukee and we wish him nothing but the best in his very bright future.”
Candidates for the Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor award must be seniors who have exhausted their eligibility and were participants in a Horizon League sponsored sport. Nominees must have a grade-point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 to be considered. Finalists for the Coleman Medal of Honor are below:
Cleveland State – Grace Kauth, volleyball
Sergio Manesio, men's soccer
Detroit Mercy – Mary LeAnnais, women's soccer
Kyle Gaines, men's golf
Green Bay – Mehryn Kraker, women's basketball
Milwaukee - Maria Stephens, women's soccer
Nate Pozolinski, men's track
Northern Kentucky – Sami Rutowski, women's soccer
Kyle Colletta, baseball
Oakland – Patricia Aschan, women's swimming
Sherron Dorsey-Walker, men's basketball
UIC – Elaine Heflin, softball
Connor Ryan, baseball
Valparaiso – Jorgi Calombaris, softball
Nick Seitz, men's golf
Wright State – Alexandra Brown, women's track
Ryan Wenzler, men's golf
Youngstown State – Sarah Dowd, softball
Joe Dixon, men's track
Previous award winners can be found here