Jonah Theisen, a 2015 graduate of Kenai Central High School and now a senior at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota, has earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
“I’m extremely grateful to be able to receive this amazing scholarship to continue my education towards a PhD in Chemistry,” Theisen said in a statement released by Black Hills State. “It is very rewarding knowing my hard work in both athletics and academics is paying off.”
The NCAA gives out just 126 scholarships across all of its divisions every year. The scholarships go to students who do well academically and athletically and are in their final year of NCAA athletics.
The scholarship is so hard to get that Theisen is the first to do it at Black Hills State, a Division II school.
“It’s really exciting to have Jonah be awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, our first one ever at BHSU,” said faculty athletic representative, Dan Durban, in a released statement. “Student athletes across all sports and all three NCAA divisions are eligible to apply for this award, making it one of the most competitive of the NCAA scholarships available.
“That Jonah rose to the top of this group to be selected for the award is a testament to his outstanding achievements in both academics and athletics, and his commitment to community service.”
Theisen is a physical science major with a 3.889 grade-point average. He has been on the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Academic First Team four times and has been on the Honor Roll three times.
In 2016, Theisen won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships. He has been to nationals in cross-country three times, with his best finish — 14th place in 2018 — earning him All-American honors.
Theisen also is headed to his fourth national championships in indoor track. He will compete in the distance medley relay. He was on the 2016 team that finished third in the nation, earning more All-American honors.
Also on this year’s distance medley relay are Jonah’s brother and fellow 2015 Kenai Central graduate, Jordan Theisen, and Kodiak graduate Levi Fried. Jordan runs the 1,200, Tristan Hepp runs the 400, Fried runs the 800 and Jonah closes in the mile. The race is Friday at 4 p.m. AST at Pittsburgh State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.