Hardrocker Vedvei earns prestigious NAIA honor
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology women’s basketball standout Melanie Vedvei was recently awarded the 2008 Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award for NAIA Region III.
This award is named after Dr. Walker, President emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee who served as president through the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. Dr. Walker is a graduate of Benedict College (S.C.) and is a former president of the NAIA.
“It’s a really big honor,” Vedvei said of receiving the award. “It speaks not only what you can do on the court, but off it as well.”
The award, considered one of the most prestigious awards in the NAIA, was created as part of the NAIA’s association with Citizenship Through Sports Alliance (CTSA). The award honors an NAIA student-athlete who excels in athletics and academics and is committed to the Champions of Character program’s five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
“Melanie typifies this award in every facet of it,” said Lady Hardrocker basketball head coach Barb Felderman. “The integrity, the servant leadership of her team, the respect she givers her teammates and opponents, she is responsible for everything she does. And her true sportsmanship showed through after she had her unfortunate accident.”
Vedvei went down with a season ending knee injury in early January. She tried to come back at the end of the season but the injury was too severe. Despite missing a third of her final season, Vedvei still managed to break the NAIA careers steals record, only to have her record of 420 broken by another athlete later in the season. She was also just four assists away from holding the school career assists record as well.
Vedvei, a native of Lake Preston, S.D., still earned a long list of accolades starting with a second straight selection to the NAIA Div. II All American First Team. She also earned NAIA Scholar Athlete honors, was a DAC first team selection and received DAC scholar honors as well.
“Melanie is a wonderful person and I am blessed to have been able to coach her,” Felderman added.
The Industrial Engineering major also holds a large number of SD School of Mines women’s basketball records. She is the second all time leading scorer with 1,972 points. She also has every steals record that the Lady Hardrockers have --- career steals (420), steals in a season (124) and steals in a game (11). She also holds the record for most career free throws made at 555 as well as owning the most field goals attempted in a game at 36.
Vedvei finished the year with 399 points, 121 total rebounds, 110 assists and 87 steals.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.