Valparaiso University men’s golf sophomore Caleb VanArragon (Blaine, Minn. / Blaine) received another high honor on Thursday as he was named the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year for his academic and athletic excellence.
VanArragon was also named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team. In addition, junior Garrett Willis (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) and senior Drew Alexander (McCordsville, Ind.) were tabbed MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention.
This is the second major academic honor for VanArragon this season as he recently earned the 2021 MVC Elite 17 Award. The 2019-20 MVC Newcomer of the Year, VanArragon was an All-MVC selection as both a freshman and sophomore in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He holds a perfect 4.00 grade point average as a double major in biology and statistics.
A top-5 finisher in the 2021 MVC Championship, VanArragon owns the top two single-season scoring averages in Valpo’s program history at 72.57 in 2019-20 and 72.59 in 2020-21. He currently holds the best career scoring average in program history at 72.58 through two seasons. A four-time MVC Golfer of the Week, VanArragon finished as the medalist or individual runner-up in each of his final three tournaments prior to this year’s MVC Championship. The sophomore overcame a five-stroke deficit in the final round to win the Wright State Invitational, earning his first career individual medalist honor in an 87-player field at 210 (-3).
VanArragon finished second of 108 in the Twin Oaks Intercollegiate and second of 70 in the Butler Invitational. He produced five top-5 finishes, nine rounds of par or better and five sub-70 rounds including a career-best 68 on four occasions this season. A member of Christ College, Valpo’s Honors College, VanArragon graduated second in a class of 639 at Blaine High School with a GPA of 4.26. He has earned Valpo dean’s list honors every semester.
A member of Valpo LuMin, a Lutheran student organization centered around the four pillars of community, learning, reflection and service, VanArragon is also the biology club historian and a biology lab aide. He ran over 20 junior golf tournaments throughout the state of Minnesota for the Minnesota Junior PGA during the 2020 summer.
A senior with a 3.86 GPA in economics, Alexander carded a 75.73 scoring average this season including a low-round of 71. He had three rounds of par or better while golfing in six of the team’s eight events. Alexander boasted the team’s best round on the final day of the MVC Championship, turning in a 72 (E). He helped Valpo finish with a team scoring average that ranks second in program history in 2020-21 and has golfed in 88 rounds in his career, the most among active Valpo players.
A 2019-20 MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team selection, Willis owns a 3.32 GPA in communication. He posted a 74.00 scoring average this season, topping his career best of 74.10 from 2019-20. Willis owns single-season scoring averages that rank seventh and eighth in program history and currently holds the second-best career scoring average in program history at 74.24.
The junior was named an MVC Performer of the Week following his victory at Lewis, his second career medalist distinction. He posted three top-10 finishes including one in the 87-player Invitation at Savanah Harbor.
Willis, who holds a 3.6 GPA in classes within his major, is the Sports Director of Valpo’s student radio station, WVUR, providing play-by-play broadcasts for a variety of sports including serving as the primary voice of the Valpo women’s basketball team. He has been selected as the General Manager of WVUR for the 2021-2022 academic year and is an alumni volunteer for WCYT radio station (Homestead High School), providing feedback for current student broadcasters. A 2018 Eagle Scout recipient and current member of National Eagle Scout Association, Willis is also a member of Valpo’s Committee on Media.
2021 Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete Team
FIRST TEAM, School Yr. GPA Major Hometown
Alex Ciaramitaro, Bradley^ Gr. 3.76 Mechanical Engineering St. Peters, Mo.
Tom Cleaton, Southern Illinois Jr. 3.88 Business Management Rugby, England
Devin Johnson, Loyola Sr. 3.44 Marketing Geneva, Ill.
Max Kreikemeier, Missouri State So. 3.69 Business Chesterfield, Mo.
Andrew O'Brien, Illinois State Sr. 3.66 Exercise Science Waukee, Iowa
Griffin Parker, UNI So. 3.81 Accounting Waukee, Iowa
David Perkins, Illinois State^ Sr. 3.36 Exercise Science East Peoria, Ill.
Caleb VanArragon, Valparaiso So. 4.00 Biology & Statistics Blaine, Minn.
Honorable Mention Yr. GPA Major Hometown
Drew Alexander, Valparaiso Sr. 3.86 Economics McCordsville, Ind.
Dan Anfield, Illinois State Sr. 3.45 Finance Minooka, Ill.
Tim Lim, Drake^ Sr. 3.45 MBA (3.55 Accounting/Finance) Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Lucas Scherf, Drake Jr. 3.87 Finance/Accounting Grinnell, Iowa
Carter Stochl, UNI^ Sr. 3.93 Biology & Biochemistry New Hampton, Iowa
Garrett Willis, Valparaiso^ Jr. 3.32 Communication Fort Wayne, Ind.
^first-team selection in 2020