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Published February 26 2012

South graduate up for prestigious academic honor

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Between playing college hockey, raising money for juvenile diabetes and being an Air Force Academy cadet, Paul Weisgarber found time to maintain a 3.6 grade point average.

These are the reasons why Weisgarber, a Fargo native, could walk away as college hockey’s top senior student-athlete. Weisgarber is one of ten nominees for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Considered to be one of the nation’s premier awards for student-athletes, the honor is handed out to one senior in each of 12 Division I sports.

“When you are nominated for a national award like this, you don’t expect too much coming from a service academy,” said Weisgarber, a management major who is third in his class. “I am really honored to be on the list.”

A winner will be selected by media members, coaches and fan voting. Fans can vote for Weisgarber on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award’s Facebook page. Voting ends March 18 and the winner will be announced during the Frozen Four, which starts April 5 in Tampa, Fla.

Weisgarber was nominated for the award by a media committee in October and was announced as a finalist this month.

The Fargo South graduate and former North Dakota Mr. Hockey winner has never missed a game in his four years at Air Force and has 18 points this season. Weisgarber, who is also the team captain, has led the Falcons this season to a 17-9-7 record along with first place in the Atlantic Hockey Association.

“You look at Paul and he’s a success on the ice, he’s had great success in the classroom, he’s the captain of our team, a two-year captain and he’s a guy a lot of the younger guys look up to on and off the ice,” said Air Force teammate and former Fargo Force captain Chad Demers. “You look at a guy like Paul and he gives you an example of how to act.”

Weisgarber said most people think going to a service academy doesn’t leave time for community service, but he said the school strongly encourages community involvement.

He’s worked with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk for the Cure and has helped raise more than $500,000 for diabetes research. He also reads to elementary school children and in 2010, organized a Christmas gift drive for an underprivileged family.

Weisgarber said growing up in Fargo and seeing the way the community here has come together to handle floods is a reason why he’s so adamant about giving back.

“Moving around and playing hockey, it’s an eye-opening experience,” Weisgarber said. “You don’t see too many places where people want to give back. I learned a lot growing up in Fargo.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.


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