The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) held is annual spring meeting at Buena Vista University and former Luther College All-American swimmer Clare Slagel was presented the 2015-16 Johanna Olson IIAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Slagel shared the award with Loras College basketball player Kaitlin Phillips.
This marks the first time in the 16 years the Iowa Conference has presented this award that the Faculty Athletics Representatives' voting ended in a tie.
With this honor, Slagel an eight-time NCAA III All-American, that included two national titles, becomes the fourth Luther athlete to be presented this award. She will join former cross country and track All-American Johanna Olson 2000-01, and former softball All-Americans Kelsey (Kittleson) Millong 2011-12, and Shari Huber 2012-13.
The IIAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award is named in honor of the late Johanna Olson who was the inaugural recipient of this award. Olson battled brain cancer for over 15 years before her fight ended on January 3, 2013 at age 33. She was originally diagnosed with a brain tumor as a college freshman in 1997 but went on to win the 2000 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship three years to the day after her initial brain surgery. In addition to the national title in cross country, she won three Iowa Conference Individual Championships and three IIAC Most Valuable Runner awards (1999, 2000, 2001). In track and field, she was the 2001 IIAC Most Valuable Performer, earning All-America honors in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter runs. Olson was also a member of the 2001 distance medley relay team that captured the indoor national title. She was named the United States Track Coaches Association (USTCA) regional and national Athlete of the Year in both cross country and track and field in 2000-01. In 1999, Olson was presented the Honda Awards Inspirational Athlete of the Year after returning from radiation treatments to compete at the national level.