PERU – Peru State junior cross country runner Julia Zurek (Louisville) has been selected to receive the $1,000 Larry Lady Academic Scholarship from the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). The award was announced by Heart Commissioner Lori Thomas late last semester.
Lady, the long-time serving commissioner for the conference, has provided a $1,000 academic scholarship for the top male and female institutions in the conference based on the school who whose respective programs had the highest cumulative grade point average. Peru State’s women’s programs had the highest cumulative GPA in the Heart for 2017-18 as they finished with a 3.55. The recipient must be returning to the institution the following fall.
Culver-Stockton (Mo.) had the highest men’s teams’ cumulative grade point average.
Zurek was selected the athletic department as its recipient as she is one of a few female athletes who have a cumulative 4.0 grade point average and is also very active on campus. Peru State President Dr. Dan Hanson recently presented Zurek with her scholarship.
Lady served as the commissioner of the Heart for 21 years before retiring in June 2014. In addition to serving as the Heart commissioner, he served the NAIA national offices on several levels. Also, Lady had served as an NCAA Evaluator of Basketball Officials for the Big 12 Conference. He was indicted in the NAIA’s Hall of Fame in 2004 and then in 2008 was inducted into the Kansas Collegiate Officials Hall of Fame in the The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
A two-year member of the women’s cross country team, Zurek improved from her sophomore to junior year. In doing so, she became the team’s top runner in every meet in which she competed.
Away from cross country, Zurek is very active on the Peru State campus. She has been a resident assistant for Clayburn Hall. Zurek is a member of Phi Epsilon Kappa (PEK) and is one of the members heading up the upcoming “24 Hours for Tesla” event. She is also a part of the leadership teams in Christian Student Fellowship (CSF) and Fellowship for Christian Athletes (FCA). In addition, Zurek is the vice president of Rotaract and was the class attendant the past two years for Homecoming.
She is an active member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council and has participated in many community service activities. This winter, for the second year in a row, Zurek is one of several Bobcat student-athletes helping coach a youth girls’ basketball team in Auburn.
Zurek is a kinesiology major and plans to attend graduate school to become a registered dietician.
When learning of the award, Zurek commented, “I am honored to have been selected to receive the scholarship from among many other excellent Bobcat female student-athletes.” Continuing Zurek added, “I would like to thank Mr. Lady for recognizing hard-working student-athletes in our conference.”
This was the second time in three years that the Peru State women have had the highest grade point average. In 2015-16, the women finished with a 3.42 cumulative gpa. Emily Whipple, a Bobcat golfer, was the first recipient from Peru State to receive the scholarship.
During 2017-18, the Bobcat volleyball team nudged out the golf team for the highest team gpa with a 3.756 compared to 3.75 for the golf team. Other teams’ cumulative grade point averages which figured into the total were: women’s basketball – 3.695, cross country – 3.359, and softball – 3.329.