Thursday, May 12, 2005

Top Female Athletes: Schmitz, Vytlacil Share Whitman Trophy

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Katey Schmitz, an all-conference soccer player, and Kristyn Vytlacil, a swimming captain who served as president of the Northwest Conference (NWC) Student Athlete Advisory Committee the past two years, are co-winners of the 2005 Mignon Borleske Trophy, which is presented annually to the top female athlete at Whitman College.

The trophy, which is awarded by a vote of the Whitman coaching staff, recognizes athletic ability and accomplishments, leadership and sportsmanship qualities, and contributions to the campus as a whole.

Schmitz and Vytlacil are the second set of co-winners of the Mignon Borleske Trophy in the past two years. Denise Kirstein, a volleyball and basketball player, and Paola Vizcaino, a tennis player, shared the trophy last year.

In her four seasons as a starting midfielder, Schmitz accumulated 17 goals and 17 assists. She led Whitman in scoring as a first-year player, when she earned All-NWC First Team honors. She also was named that season to the NCAA Div. III Far West All-Region Third Team.

Schmitz earned All-NWC Second Team honors following her sophomore and senior seasons. As a senior captain, Schmitz distributed 10 assists, which tied her for the conference lead in that statistical category. She had three assists in her final college game, a 5-1 victory over Lewis & Clark College.

Vytlacil, who specialized in the breaststroke and freestyle events, served as captain of the resurgent women's swim team as a sophomore, junior and senior. She placed in the breaststroke events at the NWC Championships in each of her four seasons, as the women's team evolved into one of the top programs in the conference. The Missionary women placed third at the conference tournament last winter, capping one of its best campaigns in recent memory.

Vytlacil excelled as a leader away from the swim team as well, serving on Whitman's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in her final three years. She acted as Whitman's SAAC co-chair the past two years, while serving as president of the conference advisory committee as well.

"Kristyn has been an amazing leader and great contributor to the positive direction the women's swim program has experienced in the last four years," swim coach Jenn Blomme said. "With her work with the athlete advisory committee, she's been a great contributor to the growth of Whitman athletics in general."

Vytlacil has worked as an intern in Whitman's America Reads program in each of her four years on campus. She spent most of her time at a local elementary school, helping first grade students learn to read. She has also been active in the education program at the Walla Walla Penitentiary, where she served as a volunteer for two summers, received academic credit during her junior year, and worked as a paid employee this past academic year.

Vytlacil, a sociology major, will be working full-time at the penitentiary this summer, providing one-on-one assistance to inmates pursuing their high school diploma equivalency degrees. This fall, she will to enroll at Northern Arizona University to work on a master's degree in criminal justice. Her long-range goal is to work in law enforcement, possibly with the FBI.

A graduate of Mountain View High School in Bend, Ore., Vytlacil is the daughter of Robert Vytlacil of Chico, Calif.

Schmitz paced the women's soccer team to four consecutive winning seasons, including an 11-8-1 record in her senior campaign.

"Katey is everything you could want in an athlete," women's soccer coach Scott Shields said. "She was a great role model for our younger players, and we're fortunate that Katey is joining our coaching staff as an assistant next fall. It's great that she's staying to help guide our younger players for another season."

Schmitz, a psychology major, served on Whitman's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for two years, and she worked as a student athletic trainer in each of her four years on campus. She also played two seasons on the ultimate frisbee club team.

"Katey's overall dedication to the athletic program was outstanding," Shields said. "She went to just about every athletic event on campus, and she traveled to support other Whitman teams at conference tournaments and post-season games."

Schmitz, a graduate of Bellevue (Wash.) High School, is the daughter of Claudeen Tewell of Medina, Wash., and Peter Schmitz of Bellevue, Wash.

The Mignon Borleske Trophy honors a woman who first came to Whitman in 1915 as the young spouse of Raymond V. Borleske, a sports legend in the making. Her husband, who had starred as a football and baseball player at Whitman, was embarking at the time on a long coaching career at his alma mater. Mignon Borleske taught dance and women's education classes at Whitman for nearly four decades.

CONTACT: Dave Holden, Whitman Sports Information
509 527-5902;