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Spack Awards Scholarships to Four Football ‘Birds

Written by on October 4, 2023

Image courtesy of Redbird Athletics

Each year, Illinois State University Head Football Coach Brock Spack chooses Illinois State football student-athletes for prestigious endowed scholarships, and this year Coach handed out four. The winners of these endowed scholarships; runningbacks Wenkers Wright and Cole Mueller, Tight End Max Ziebarth, and quarterback Zach Annexstad (pictured above).

Wright was awarded the W.F. Ruebush Endowed Scholarship, a redshirt sophomore running back from Floyds Knobs, Indiana, who last year was a part of the MVFC All-Newcomer team, while leading the team in rushing yards (625) on 161 carries and finishing 3rd on the team with a pair of rushing touchdowns. Wright finished the year with an incredible 129-yard rushing performance while adding a touchdown against Western. Wenkers is pursuing a career in Business administration whilst maintaining a 3.31 cumulative GPA.

Cole Mueller, a junior running back from Wentzville, Missouri, was awarded the Bill Mitze Endowed Scholarship. After his season was abruptly cut short in the season opener last year against Wisconsin, Mueller has found his stride again, scoring twice in the first 3 games this season. Cole received honors in 2021 on the MVFC Honorable Mention team, an All-Newcomer team pick, and he finished second in Freshman of the Year voting in the MVFC. In that same season he racked up 977 rushing yards which was 3rd in the MVFC, also ending that year Top-20 in both rush yards per game and rushing yards. Mueller is working towards a physical education degree and maintains a 3.17 cumulative GPA.

The Rollie & Mary Mercer Endowed Scholarship was awarded to Max Ziebarth, a redshirt freshman tight end from Hudson, Illinois. He is entering his second season here at ISU, after sitting out the 2022 season as a redshirt. The TE from Normal West High School appeared in all the first 3 games, looking to make his presence felt on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams. Ziebarth has Redbird in his blood as his father, Andy Ziebarth, is an ISU alum after being a 3-time all-conference performer on the offensive line three decades ago. Max is currently pursuing a degree in business administration and has a 3.45 cumulative GPA.

Lastly, the James R. Tague Endowed Scholarship, presented to Senior QB from Norse land, Minnesota, Zack Annexstad. After arriving from the University of Minnesota in 2022, Annexstad made an immediate impact on the team. He has been selected as a team captain and named to the MVFC All-Newcomer team and the MVFC First-Team All-Academic Team. Before missing the last three games of the season last year because of injury, he completed 62.8% of his passes, throwing for 1,691 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 8 games. Annexstad is also pursuing his master’s degree here at ISU in sports management and maintains a solid 3.90 cumulative GPA.