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October 1, 2009

2009 Season - Westemeyer semifinalist for NFF scholarship

Augustana senior offensive tackle Blaine Westemeyer (Blue Valley Northwest HS, Overland Park, Kansas) has been selected to be a semifinalist for the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy. The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the 154 semifinalists for the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy (formerly known as the Draddy Trophy), endowed by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the 2009 NFF National Scholar- Athlete Awards.

A four year starter at offensive tackle, Westemeyer is a big reason why the Vikings consistently rank in the top 10 in NCAA Division III in rushing offense. He has been selected first team all-conference in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin each of the last two years. As a junior he was picked to the first team of the ESPN – The Magazine Academic All-American team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Twice he has been named to the Academic All-District team by CoSIDA. He has also been a three time academic all-conference pick.

In 2008 he was named to the NCAA Division III All-American team by the American Football Coaches Association. He was also selected to the all-North Region team by D3football.com for the second consecutive year. He was the winner of the Jack Swartz Award by the CCIW following the 2008 campaign and he serves as a team captain this fall.

The Vikings are currently 2-1 on the season heading into Saturday’s College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin opener with Elmhurst at Ericson Field. So far this year Augustana is averaging 26.7 points and 336.7 yards of total offense per game (201.0 rushing and 135.7 passing). Westemeyer was named to every pre-season All-American football team during the summer of 2009.

Blaine is a biochemistry/pre-medicine major with a sterling grade point average of 3.94. He is the son of Brian and Nancy Westemeyer of Overland Park, Kansas. He was the Vikings freshman offensive MVP in 2006. Westemeyer is an active member of the Student Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.) and Athletes-Giving-Back (A.G.B.).

Augustana has had three previous winners of the National Football Foundation Scholarship. The first winner was Chris Meskan (Aledo HS, Aledo, Ill.), an offensive guard, in 1998. He was followed by Mackenzie Hay (Polo HS, Polo, Ill.), an offensive guard/center in 2000. Todd Baldwin (Aledo HS, Aledo, Ill.), a defensive back was the last Viking recipient of the prestigious honor in 2002.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, semifinalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Renamed this fall in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post- graduate scholarship.

"The Campbell Trophy semifinalists represent everything great about college football, having achieved excellence in all aspect of their lives," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "It is the NFF's duty to promote their accomplishments while encouraging future generations of gridiron standouts to aim high on and off the football field."

The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 29. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2009 NFF National Scholar- Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Campbell Trophy winner, who will have his scholarship increased to $25,000, will be announced live at the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner on December 8 at the prestigious Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of $277,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.

Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post- graduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments. The William V. Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a Heisman winner. The University of California's Alex Mack, a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, was named the 2008 Campbell Trophy recipient.