While part of that work ethic might come naturally to Bri, a portion comes from her upbringing. She grew up in the small town of Winsted, and is the youngest of three. “My brother Jeremy didn’t play sports but was more of an outdoors guy,” Bri stated. “My sister Katie played volleyball, basketball and golf in high school. She lives in Hawaii now.”
Bri attended Lester Prairie High, where she excelled at golf as well as being a standout on the volleyball and basketball courts. She was on the varsity golf team for six seasons, beginning in seventh-grade. “I had to play on the boys’ team my junior year, as we didn’t have enough girls to field a team,” she recalled. ”My senior year, we had a girls’ team and we were in a conference for the first time.” Bri earned All-Conference honors that season. She qualified for the girls’ state tourney her freshman and junior years, and placed in the middle of the pack.
On the volleyball court, Bri was on the Bulldogs’ varsity for four seasons. She was a setter her first two years before moving to outside hitter for her junior and senior seasons. She was named All-Conference her final two seasons and was an All-Area honoree as a senior. Bri was chosen team MVP her senior year. “We never made it to State,” she said. “We lost in the Subsection championship match each year.”
In basketball, Bri had a special set of experiences. “My sister was a teammate of mine my sophomore year,” she said. “My uncle, who was head coach for 21 years, stepped down to coach the JV my freshman year and my dad was our coach my sophomore and junior years which was a lot of fun. My uncle came back as head coach for my senior year.”
Bri was on the varsity as a ninth-grader but saw limited playing time. She took over as the starting point guard as a sophomore and garnered her first All-Conference honors. Bri earned All-Conference honors her junior and senior years and was named All-Area as well. She was the team MVP those two seasons.
Lester Prairie never made it to the state tourney in Bri’s years. “We were 16-8 my sophomore and junior years,” she said. “We always lost in the middle rounds of Subsection, which was kind of frustrating.”
Bri was named Lester Prairie’s senior female athlete of the year. That year, she was a state finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman.
Away from sports, Bri was active in Drug Abuse Resistance Education and was the recipient of the DARE Role Model Award her junior and senior years.
She was active in the arts throughout high school. She played in the band, sang in the choir and was active in theater. “We did a lot of relatively unknown comedies,” she said. “We put on Mind Boggling, 60s Mania, Shoestring Theater and Nupitalknots.com. I had lead roles in my junior and senior years.”
Bri was a member of the National Honor Society and was salutatorian of her class, and won several local academic scholarships.
She was a member of the student council all four years, and served as the group’s president her junior and senior years. Bri was voted president of her senior class. She also was chosen Homecoming Queen.
Coming out of high school, Bri was recruited by most of the Division II and III schools in the area, primarily for basketball. “My main three choices were Gustavus, Hamline and Southwest State,” she said. “It was not an easy choice. It came down to the fact that I felt more at home at Gustavus, it had a small-town feel to it. I liked the coaching staff, the girls on the team and the environment on campus, and I knew it was a great school.”
Bri ended the season 10th in the league in assists. She averaged 5.2 points per game.
Her sophomore season, Bri started all 28 games as the Gusties posted a 16-6 record in MIAC play and were 18-10 overall. They finished third in the league, and defeated Hamline 79-66 in the opening round of the MIAC Playoffs. However, they lost to St. Thomas 77-61 in the semifinals. Bri, who was second in the conference in assists-to-turnover ratio and 11th in assists, was All-MIAC Honorable Mention.
Last year, Bri was named All-MIAC as she ranked among the league leaders in assists, steals, scoring and assists-to-turnover ratio. She helped Gustavus to a fourth place finish with a 14-8 record. They were upended by Bethel, 75-59, in the opening round of the MIAC Playoffs, ending the season with a 16-10 record.
Gustavus has gotten off to a strong start this year, and Bri is one of the key reasons behind their success. They are 7-1 and tied with St. Benedict and Macalester for the MIAC lead. They stand 9-2 overall. Bri is GAC’s second leading scorer, hitting at a clip of 12.2 points per game. She leads the MIAC in assists with an average of 4.83 per game. She is among the league leaders in steals, assists-to-turnover ratio, free throw accuracy, field goal accuracy and scoring.
“She is our go-to player...when the clock is running out, we want the ball in Bri's hands,” stated Coach Haller. “Off the court, she is a leader, a confidant and a friend to her teammates and coaches alike. Bri is a champion at heart and makes everyone around her feel like they could be champions.”
The team will be spending 10 days this summer in Costa Rica. Bri and her fellow seniors can go with the team and she is planning to do so.
Off the court, Bri has been a member of the Health and Science Club. She works in the athletic training room on campus. Bri also manages the Human Performance Lab on campus. “I do a lot of the training of the new staff,” she said. “I draw up the schedules and make sure the equipment is running. We do things like tread mill testing there.”
She finds time to volunteer once a week at an assisted living center in St Peter. “Most of the people there have Alzheimer’s, and are at different stages of the disease,” she said. “I find it very rewarding to help out there.”
Bri is a Health Fitness major, sporting a 3.90 GPA and will graduate in May. She has made the Dean’s List all seven semesters. She is planning to attend graduate school in physical therapy. She is in the process of looking at and applying to various schools, primarily in the Upper Midwest. “I think I’d like to get into physical rehabilitation for sports, but I am looking at various options,” she said. “I had an internship in summer 2009 at a physical therapy, orthopedic and fracture clinic, and enjoyed it.”
For Bri, Gustavus has been everything she wanted in a college. “I have enjoyed the small class size, which gives you the ability to go up to the professor with questions,” she said. “There is a great relationship between students and professors. They have a lot of respect for one another. I really like the whole Gustavus community. There are five ‘pillars’ of Gustavus- Faith, Justice, Community, Service and Excellence – and the community here takes those to heart.”
[Photos are courtesy of the Gustavus Adolphus College Sports Information office.]
<em>The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) is widely respected as one of the premier conferences in nearly every sport competed in Division III. Year after year, the MIAC produces teams and individual student-athletes who excel in their given sport. At the same time, the MIAC schools maintain a reputation of commitment to academic excellence. This article is one in a series of spotlights on some of the young men and women who represent the league’s commitment to excellence, both in the classroom and athletics during the 2008-09 academic year.
This feature will be included in the "Profiles of Excellence 2009-2010" book which will be available for order at <a href="http://www.rdmpublishing.com/products/book08.html">RDM Publishing</a>. It will feature profiles of student-athletes from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, written by CSN’s "Mapping the MIAC" columnist Rich Mies.</em>