Senior forward George Bugarinovic of Johns Hopkins and junior forward Jess Rheinheimer of Eastern Mennonite and are the recipients of the 2015 Jostens Trophy. The annual awards recognize outstanding student-athletes in NCAA Division III basketball for excellence in the classroom, on the playing court and in the community.
The Jostens Trophy is a joint creation of Jostens, Inc., of Minneapolis, Minn., and the Rotary Club of Salem, Va. The purpose of the award is to honor the true Division III student-athlete - the athlete that shows excellence in the classroom, on the playing floor and in the community. In addition to the Trophy, the Wooldridge Scholarship, a $1,000 donation, will be presented in the name of the winner to his/her institution. The scholarship was named after Dan Wooldridge, a Salem Rotarian and retired Commissioner of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, as a way of honoring him for his long-time dedication to Division III athletics.
The winners were chosen by a national selection committee that consists of college coaches, former athletes, college administrators and selected members of the media. The members of the national selection committee cast their votes based on three criteria: basketball ability, academic prowess and community service.
The awards presentation for the Jostens Trophy is set for March 19, held in conjunction with the Salem Rotary Club's weekly meeting at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.
Rheinheimer helped guide the Royals to a 23-5 overall record and a trip to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament, where they fell to fourth-seeded and eventual ODAC champion Virginia Wesleyan, 78-71, in the semifinals. However, the Royals earned an at-large bid into the Division III NCAA Tournament and defeated La Roche, 77-76, in the first round, but fell to Thomas More, 85-65, in second round action.
Rheinheimer was named the ODAC Player of the Year and the ODAC/Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year for her solid efforts on the court and in the classroom. Rheinheimer led the league in points per game (20.0), total points (560), and field goals made (211-of-417) and was third in three-pointers made (55-of-138). The versatile forward also grabbed 7.8 rebounds per game, including 175 defensive boards (second in the ODAC), and was eighth in the conference with 26 blocked shots. She was also named the USBWA National Player of the Week after scoring 29 and 41 points in back-to-back games during the season. The junior became EMU's 13th woman to score 1,000 career points, joining the club in the Royals' ODAC Tournament semifinal game.
Rheinheimer's accomplishments extend far beyond the court into the classroom and the community. In the classroom, she sports a 3.96 grade point average as a nursing major and was named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team, a distinction given to only five women in DIII. Rheinheimer is an EMU Honors Student and a member of the EMU Student Nurses Association. She also studied in Honduras in the summer of 2013 as part of Eastern Mennonite's cross cultural program.
In the community, Rheinheimer has been a volunteer with various organizations over the years. While in Honduras, she volunteered with Organization for Youth Empowerment, the Mama Project, and Mennonite Central Committee. In 2012, Rheinheimer volunteered with SWAP in the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky and YouthWorks in the Adirondack Mountains in New York in 2010. Rheinhemier also dedicated some of her time at Lancaster General Hospital in 2011 and has assisted with vacation bible school every summer since freshman year of high school at her hometown church. Additionally, she volunteers in the nursery and children's church in Manheim and has worked the girls basketball camp at Lancaster Mennonite High School every summer for six years.
Bugarinovic helped lead the Blue Jays to a 25-5 overall record and a trip to the Centennial Conference championship game. Johns Hopkins fell to Dickinson, 65-62, in the title game, but earned an at-large bid into the Division III NCAA Tournament. JHU won its first two games over Keene State and Skidmore, but fell to Babson, 49-47, in the Round of 16. The Blue Jays won a school-record 17 straight games from December 2 until February 11 and the 25 overall wins are also a school record.
Bugarinovic is a four-time All-Centennial Conference selection, including a first team honoree this season. Bugarinovic ranks in the top-10 in school history in 13 career categories and is the only player in Johns Hopkins history to rank in the top-10 in points (1,331), rebounds (751), steals (124) and blocks (100). This year, Bugarinovic led the league with 19.3 points per game and was second in free throw percentage (85.1%). He also nailed 64 three-pointers, good enough for third in the CC, and connected on 161-of-377 field goals, also third in the league. Additionally, Bugarinovic was ninth in assists (65) and blocked shots (24).
Bugarinovic is just as impressive in the classroom and in the community. Bugarinovic boasts a 3.84 grade point average as a double major in public health and natural sciences. He is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree and a 2015 Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-American. In 2013, Bugarinovic was selected for one of the competitive summer research internships at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City. During his internship, he investigated the Tcof1, Polr1c and Polr1d genes and their accompanying proteins on the cellular and genetic basis of Treacher Collins syndrome. Bugarinovic has also completed internships at the University of Kansas Molecular Biology Pathology Department and the Jackson County Health Department. As a freshman, he worked as a lab assistant in the Otolaryngology Lab at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In the community, Bugarinovic has participated in numerous initiatives during his time at Hopkins and was a nominee for the NABA Allstate Good Works Team earlier this year. He mentors two underclassmen through Alpha Epsilon Delta's (AED) mentoring program and has participated in community service trips to the Kennedy Kreiger Institute, an institute dedicated to helping children and adolescents with disorders of the brain. He also volunteers his time with organizations such as Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN), a program where he works with children and young adults who have developmental or physical disabilities, and the Maryland School for the Blind (MSB), where he is one of three co-leaders. Addtionally, he has assisted all four years with the President's Day of Service at Johns Hopkins and has served as a translator and interpreter in his hometown and at his hometown church.
The Jostens Trophy was first awarded in 1998. The full list of recipients:
|1998||Michael Nogelo, Williams||Alicia Moore, Emory|
|1999||Michael Shantz, Hamilton||Kristen Venne, Susquehanna|
|2000||Korey Coon, Illinois Wesleyan||Alia Fischer, Washington U.|
|2001||David Jannuzzi, Wilkes||Alison Grubbs, Lake Forest|
|2002||Adam Jones, Buena Vista||Heather Kile, Swarthmore|
|2003||Derek Reich, Chicago||Whitney Bull, Wilkes|
|2004||Justin Call, Emory and Henry||Kay Mikolajczak, UW-Oshkosh|
|2005||Jon-David Byers, Lebanon Valley||Tara Rohde, Trinity (Texas)|
|2006||Chris Braier, Lawrence||Megan Silva, Randolph-Macon|
|2007||Ryan Cain, WPI||Lisa Winkle, Calvin|
|2008||Troy Ruths, Washington U.||Tarra Richardson, McMurry|
|2009||Jimmy Bartolotta, MIT||Melanie Auguste, Colorado College|
|2010||Blake Schultz, Williams||Julia Hirssig, UW-Stout|
|2011||Steve Djurickovic, Carthage||Elizabeth Sunderhaus, Cedar Crest|
|2012||Aris Wurtz, Ripon||Taylor Simpson, Chicago
|2013||Colton Hunt, Randolph||Carissa Verkaik, Calvin|
|2014||Richie Bonney, Hobart||Katelyn Fischer, Marymount
|2015||George Bugarinovic, Johns Hopkins||Jess Rheinheimer, Eastern Mennonite|