ACC Announces 2015 Postgraduate Scholarship Recipients
53 student-athletes to be honored with Weaver-James-Corrigan scholarships and awards
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced today a list of 45 student-athletes who have been selected for the 2015 Weaver-James-Corrigan Award, including three student-athletes who will receive the Thacker Award. An additional eight student-athletes who plan to pursue professional careers in their chosen sports were named honorary recipients.
The Weaver-James-Corrigan and Jim and Pat Thacker postgraduate scholarships are awarded to selected student-athletes who intend to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements. Each recipient will receive $5,000 toward his or her graduate education. Those honored have performed with distinction in both the classroom and their respective sport, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community.
In addition to those receiving scholarship funds, eight student-athletes will receive the Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award. They include Clemson tennis player Hunter Harrington, Duke basketball player Elizabeth Williams, Georgia Tech golfer Anders Albertson, Louisville cross country runner Andrew Stewart, North Carolina baseball player Benton Moss, Miami tennis player Monique Albuquerque, Notre Dame swimmer Emma Reaney and Virginia soccer player Morgan Brian.
The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award is named in honor of the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan, the first three ACC commissioners.
The league’s first commissioner, James H. Weaver, served the conference from 1954-70 after a stint as the Director of Athletics at Wake Forest University. His early leadership and uncompromising integrity are largely responsible for the excellent reputation enjoyed by the ACC today.
Robert C. James, a former University of Maryland football player, was named commissioner in 1971 and served in that capacity for 16 years. During his tenure, the league continued to grow in stature and became recognized as a national leader in athletics and academics, winning 23 national championships and maintaining standards of excellence in the classroom.
Eugene F. Corrigan assumed his role as the third full-time commissioner on September 1, 1987, and served until August of 1997. During Corrigan’s tenure, ACC schools captured 30 NCAA championships and two national football titles.
Prior to 1994, the Weaver-James postgraduate scholarships were awarded as separate honors. The Jim Weaver Award, which originated in 1970, recognized exceptional achievement on the playing field and in the classroom, while the Bob James Award, established in 1987, also honored outstanding student-athletes.
The Thacker Award, which originated in 2005, is awarded in honor of the late Jim and Pat Thacker of Charlotte, North Carolina. Jim Thacker was the primary play-by-play announcer for the ACC’s first television network. Recipients of the award must demonstrate outstanding performance both in athletic competition and in the classroom and intend to further their education through postgraduate studies at an ACC institution.
The 53 student-athletes will be honored at the annual Cone Health ACC Postgraduate Luncheon hosted by the Nat Greene Kiwanis Club and presented by ESPN on April 15 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro.
Alicia McKean; Boston College; Applied Psychology & Human Development; Rowing; Athol, Mass.
Alicia McKean, a native of Athol, Massachusetts, is a senior on the Boston College rowing team and has been competition as part of eight-man boats since her freshman year. McKean, a three-time ACC Academic Honor Roll performer, she has also been part of three eight-man boats’ victories in the last two years. She works with the BC Neighborhood Center Tutoring Program, a program that connects volunteers with students from the Allston-Brighton community as mentors to help with their school work. She has also done extensive work with Food for Families.
Mikaela Rix; Boston College; Theology; Women’s Lacrosse; Garden City, N.Y.
Mikaela Rix is a four-year starter and captain on the Boston College women’s lacrosse team. The senior is a three-time All-American and has help lead the Eagles to back-to-back NCAA appearances (2013, 2014). Rix is a three-time All-ACC performer, making history as the first freshman in conference history to earn the honor. The Garden City, New York, product earned BC’s prestigious Junior Class Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award in 2014, and is an officer on BC’s SAAC. She volunteers extensively in the community, including work with Food for Families, Brookline (Massachusetts) Special Needs and LLS Light the Night and has been a leading advocate for dating violence awareness.
Michael Sit; Boston College; Finance; Men’s Ice Hockey; Edina, Minn.
Voted a team captain his senior season, Michael Sit is a three-time Hockey East All-Academic Team member, is Boston College’s most seasoned Eagle. The Edina, Minnesota, native has skated in the most career games at Boston College (144) and has accounted for six goals and 14 assists along the way. As a junior, Sit finished 21st in the country with a winning faceoff percentage of .576. He was also the men’s ice hockey delegate for the NCAA’s Elite 89 Award last season. Sit participates in Boston College’s annual Toy Drive that benefits Boston Children’s Hospital, and is a regular participant at the reading program at St. Columbkille, a local elementary school.
Ara Amirkhanian; Clemson; Health Science; Men’s Soccer; Clemson, S.C.
Ara Amirkhanian scored the game-winning goal in double overtime in Clemson’s thrilling, come-from behind 2-1 victory over Louisville, lifting the Tigers to the program’s first ACC Championship since 2001. The Clemson native, who grew up watching the Tigers play soccer, was a four-year starter scoring 14 goals and 10 assists for his career. Amirkhanian was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team in 2014 and was a member of the Capital One Academic All-District Team and the All-ACC Academic Team in 2013. He graduated from Clemson in December 2014 with a cumulative GPA over 3.5 in Health Science, and plans to attend medical school.
Romy Koelzer; Clemson; Communication Studies; Women’s Tennis; Betzdorf, Germany
Romy Koelzer is a three-year starter for the Tigers who has 71 singles wins and 50 doubles wins in her Clemson career. In 2013-14, she was 25-9 overall in singles, which included a 16-5 record in dual matches and an 11-1 mark in ACC play. The native of Betzdorf, Germany reached the Round of 32 in the NCAA Singles Championship and was ranked 33rd in the ITA’s final national poll. Koelzer was named to the All-ACC Third Team and the All-ACC Academic Team in 2014. She is a team leader, both on the court and off, serves as a SAAC representative and has been heavily involved in community service throughout her career.
Katelyn Reeve; Clemson; Biological Sciences; Women’s Soccer; Cary, N.C.
Katelyn Reeve was a four-year starter in the midfield who played a key role in the team’s defensive improvements over three seasons and in the Tigers’ return to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, for the first time since 2007. The Cary, North Carolina native and two-time captain was a Capital One Academic All-American in 2014 and a two-time member of the Academic All-District Team and the All-ACC Academic Team. Reeve graduated in December 2014 with a 4.0 cumulative GPA in Biological Sciences. She was also highly involved in community service, serving as Special Olympics Coordinator as well as Relay for Life committee and volunteering at Helping Hands and Oconee Hospital.
Hunter Harrington; Clemson; Management & Financial Management; Men’s Tennis; Spartanburg, S.C.
Hunter Harrington is a 2014 Doubles All-American and a two-time member of the All-ACC team. He is 84-38 record in singles and 63-27 in doubles in four years for the Tigers. The Spartanburg, South Carolina native reached the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Doubles Championship (with Dominique Maden) and finished the year ranked fifth nationally. The pair’s .886 winning percentage ranks first in Clemson history for a single season and their 31 wins are third. Harrington was named to the All-ACC Academic Team in 2014, is a two-time team captain and serves on SAAC representative. As a veteran on young teams in 2014 and 2015, he is a leader and mentor to his teammates on and off the court.
Sarah Collins; Duke; Public Policy Studies; Fencing; Palm Harbor, Fla.
A two-time captain and a three-time qualifier for the NCAA Fencing Championships, Sarah Collins is in the middle of her senior season and currently holds a career record of 188-71. As a junior, Collins notched 47 regular season victories and placed 12th at the NCAA Championships, earning the first All-America selection of her career. Outside of competition, Collins currently spends four hours a week tutoring fourth and fifth graders at Durham Public Schools. She has also participated in Read with the Blue Devils, Project Share and packaging meals during the holidays.
David Helton; Duke; Psychology; Football; Chattanooga, Tenn.
David Helton was a four-year letterwinner and two-year starter at linebacker. In 2014 he led the ACC in tackles per game (10.31) for the second straight year, becoming only the fifth player in league history to repeat as tackle champion, and the first since NFL Pro Bowler Luke Kuechly from 2009-11. Helton finished his career ranked 10th in Duke history with 347 tackles. Off the field, he received the National Football Foundation (NFF) William V. Campbell Trophy as well as the ACC’s Jim Tatum Award. Helton was also a NFF Scholar-Athlete Award recipient and a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.
Claire Vannelli; Duke; Biomedical Engineering; Rowing; London, Ontario, Canada
Claire Vannelli has been a key member of the varsity eight for all four years of her Duke rowing career. She has led the boat to second, third and fifth-place finishes during her three trips to the ACC Championship. Last spring, she helped Duke appear at No. 20 in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/US Rowing Coaches Poll. She has also been a part of two varsity eights that were elected as the ACC Crew of the Week. Vannelli has excelled in the classroom, earning Collegiate Coaches Rowing Association Scholar-Athlete accolades twice and being a three-time selection to the ACC Academic Honor Roll and two-time honoree on the All-ACC Academic Rowing Team.
Elizabeth Williams; Duke; Psychology; Women’s Basketball; Virginia Beach, Va.
A three-time Associated Press All-America and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Elizabeth Williams is one of the top shot-blockers in NCAA history. She has helped lead Duke to one ACC Championship, two ACC regular season titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances. A John R. Wooden Award, Wade Trophy and Naismith Trophy candidate for National Player of the Year, Williams is also a Senior CLASS Award candidate in her final year. She is also a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, two-time All-ACC Academic honoree and three-time ACC Honor Roll selection. Williams earned Dean’s List accolades in the Spring of 2012 at Duke.
Cristian Gonzalez Mendez; Florida State; Public Relations; Men’s Tennis; Santiago de Compostela, Spain
A senior captain for the tennis team, Cristian Gonzalez Mendez was named Third Team All-ACC and led the Seminoles with 27 wins in 2013-14. That same season, he ranked as high as No. 65 in the ITA rankings. Gonzalez Mendez notched his 100th career victory this season against Florida Gulf Coast. He is a three-time winner of the Golden Torch, given to the Seminole athlete from each program that has the highest GPA on their team, and helped men’s tennis win the team Golden Torch for highest GPA on campus each of the past two seasons. Similarly, he was named an ITA All-American Scholar Athlete from 2012-14.
Katie Mosher; Florida State; Sports Management; Volleyball; Fort Myers, Fla.
A three-year team captain, Katie Mosher is Florida State’s all-time digs leader, finishing with a total of 2,123 career digs. She helped the Seminoles become the first ACC school in history to appear in the Women’s Volleyball National Semifinal in 2011 by anchoring the defense with a school record of 604 digs. A four-year anchor at libero, Mosher provided extraordinary defense for two ACC Championships, earning All-ACC second team honors in 2013 before capturing first time accolades in 2014. She is a two-time Golden Nole award winner and she achieved the Golden Torch honor for the 2013-14 school year by turning in the team’s highest GPA. In 2014, she was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award where she captured second team honors.
Lacey Waldrop; Florida State; Editing, Writing and Media; Softball; Chester, Va.
A two-time All-American pitcher for Florida State, Lacey Waldrop was named the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year after leading the NCAA with 38 wins and finishing third in ERA (1.13). Entering the 2015 season, Waldrop ranks in the FSU top 10 of four career categories with 81 wins (5th), five saves (6th), 129 appearances (7th) and 685 strikeouts (9th). She has been named to the ACC Honor Roll and All-ACC Academic team, and is the Editor-in-Chief for the Tribe – a leadership group that sends information to boosters and also organizes team community service projects.
Kate Brandus; Georgia Tech; Public Policy; Swimming; Alpharetta, Ga.
Kate Brandus currently ranks seventh on Georgia Tech’s all-time list in the 100 fly and is ninth in the 200 fly. Brandus was part of the Yellow Jacket’s 200 medley relay that owns the second-fastest time in school history. She is a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Out of the pool, the Yellow Jacket has served her community by volunteering with the Special Olympics and with the Atlanta Chapter of the Girls on the Run Program.
Matt Connors; Georgia Tech; Business Administration; Football; Alpharetta, Ga.
Matt Connors played in all 14 games during Georgia Tech’s 2014 Orange Bowl champion season. The hard-nosed runner came to Tech as a walk-on and was awarded a scholarship prior to the 2013 season. The team’s 2014 Special Teams Player of the Year, Connors rushed 21 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns, while blocking one punt. He finished his career with 40 games played in offense and special teams.
Cole Jackob; Georgia Tech; Business Administration; Track; Marietta, Ga.
A member of the ACC Honor Roll in 2014, Cole Jackob has been a valuable member of the Georgia Tech track and field team. Jackob set a personal-best in the 1,000 meters in 2:29.88 at the 2013 Meyo Invite, and was a huge part of the 4x800-meter relay team that took first in two 2013 meets - the Florida Relays (7:22.37) and the Georgia Relays (7:42.95). Jackob also set a career best in the 800 meters with a time of 1:49.36 at the Georgia Tech Invite and logged his best 5,000-meter time (3:55.69) at the 2013 Alabama Relays. Off the track, Jackob owns a 3.49 cumulative GPA in business administration with a job after graduation in Capital One’s finance rotational program. Following the approximately two-year program, Jackob plans to pursue an MBA at a Top-20 internationally ranked program.
Anders Albertson; Georgia Tech; Management; Golf; Woodstock, Ga.
One of two seniors on this year’s Georgia Tech golf team, Anders Albertson is on his way to becoming one of the Yellow Jackets’ all-time greats. He is one of 10 players in Tech’s golf history to be named All-Atlantic Coast Conference three times. He was named a third-team All-American in 2013, when he won the ACC Championship individually and finished no. 8 in the final Golfstat Cup rankings, and an honorable mention All-American as a freshman. He has 17 top-10 finishes in 49 career events for Tech and a 71.56 stroke average that ranks No. 3 in Tech history. Along the way, he has made the ACC All-Academic golf team every year at Tech, and has been named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll four times. He earned the Bobby Scholarship for 2013-14, the highest academic honor a Tech student-athlete can achieve.
Grant Donovan; Louisville; Sport Administration; Football; Louisville, Ky.
A four-year letterwinner, Grant Donovan handled the long-snapping duties and was one of the best at his position in the nation. In four years, Donovan ‘s long-snapping never produced a mishandled snap or bad snap in 52 games. He helped lead the Cardinals to four-straight bowl appearances and a pair of conference titles. He recorded a career-best seven tackles this year on special teams.
Katie George; Louisville; Communications; Volleyball; Louisville, Ky.
Katie George, who is the Cards’ captain, was an AVCA All-Region selection and was named First Team All ACC. As a member of the USA Volleyball National Collegiate Team, she was named All-Tournament team and helped her team win the silver medal at the European Global Challenge Tournament in Pula, Croatia. She was named to MVP and All-Tournament at the Morehead Tournament and made the All-Active Ankle Challenge team. George started every match and led the team with 1163 assists and aces and registered 14 double-doubles. Katie was ranked No. 76 in the nation in total assists. She was ranked No. 4 in aces in the ACC.
Erin Yenney; Louisville; Engineering; Women’s Soccer; Troy, Ohio
Erin Yenney was a four year starter for the Cardinals. Yenney earned all-conference honors her freshman and junior seasons. She finished her career with 13 goals and nine assists for 35 points. She was a member of the Athletic Director’s honor roll for three straight years as well as a Red and Black Scholar. She also served as a member of the student athlete advisory committee. Yenney was also responsible for a starting WaterStep shoe donation sites campus wide. By donating new and gently used shoes to WaterStep, they help fund safe drinking water projects all over the world. Yenney also volunteered this summer at an orphanage in Tanzania at Aston Vision Orphanage.
Andrew Stewart; Louisville; Political Science; Men’s Cross Country; Radcliff, Ky.
Andrew Stewart competed in all five races this fall for the cross country team in 2014 and 2013. Ran a personal best time of 31:51.5 in the 10K his junior year. He has been on the Athletic Director’s Honor roll and was on the Dean’s List. Stewart is also a Red and Black Scholar. This summer he went on a mission trip to Belize and is an active FCA member. He also participates in the reading program, visiting schools and reading books to the students. He was also a member of the Louisville student athlete advisory committee.
Nantambu-Akil Fentress; Miami; Biology; Football; Nashville, Tenn.
Nantambu-Akil Fentress is a four-year member of the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. As a senior he finished fourth on the team in tackles this past season, recording a career-best 55 stops. In addition, the Hurricanes’ senior collected 3.0 tackles for loss, forced a pair of fumbles and was nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy – an award given to the nation’s top player, who began his career as a walk-on. Off the field, Fentress was one of the Hurricanes’ top players in the classroom as he was named to the ACC’s All-Academic team.
Lea Johnson; Miami; Microbiology and Immunology; Track & Field; Saint Louis, Mo.
A standout thrower, Lea Johnson has proven herself as one of the top student-athletes in the country. As a junior, Johnson won the ACC Indoor Championships in the weight throw and the ACC Outdoor Championships in hammer throw. She was also a national qualifier both indoors and outdoors, earning second team Indoor All-America honors and second team Outdoor All-America honors. Johnson has also been an outstanding student, earning All-ACC Academic honors for both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2013 and 2014. She was also a USTFCCCA All-Academic selection as a sophomore and junior.
Savanah Leaf; Miami; Psychology and Human Development; Volleyball; San Anselmo, Calif.
A team captain in her senior season, Savanah Leaf was one of the top players in the country in 2014. Named ACC Player of the Year and a second team AVCA All-American, Leaf finished the season with 4.65 kills/set, ranking 12th in the country and atop the ACC. A Preseason All-ACC pick, Leaf was a three-time ACC Player of the Week during the 2014 season. Leaf, who ranks fifth in program history with 1,194 kills, also set the program record for kills in a match and kills in an NCAA Tournament match when she recorded 31 kills in a five-set victory over UCF in the first round of this year’s tournament. A standout on and off the court, Leaf was named to the 2014 Capitol One Academic All-America Second team. A stellar student that was named First Team Academic All-District earlier this year, Leaf has earned a 3.89 cumulative GPA and was a two-time All-ACC Academic honoree.
Monique Albuquerque; Miami; Management; Women’s Tennis; Porto Alegre, Brazil
An integral part of Miami’s 2014 ACC regular season co-championship and 2013 ACC Tournament championship, Monique Albuquerque has posted a doubles record of 43-10 in her Hurricane career, including 20-6 at the No. 1 spot. Albuquerque is 39-14 in spring singles play and was a perfect 14-0 in ACC matches during the 2014 season. Off the court, the Brazil native graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.869 GPA in May 2014 and was a member of the Dean’s List (3.5 GPA) in all five of her undergraduate semesters at Miami, making the President’s Honor Roll (4.0 GPA) in two of them. A two-time ACC Honor Roll student and recipient of the 1A FAR Academic Excellence Award, Albuquerque is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in International Business.
Gillian Litynski; North Carolina; Global Studies & Nursing; Fencing; Niskayuna, N.Y.
UNC’s top women’s sabre fencer throughout her career, Gillian Litynski has earned All-America honors the past two years while excelling on a challenging academic track, which will eventually lead to a Ph.D. in nursing. In 2013, she finished third at the NCAA Championships, the highest for a UNC fencer since 2000. She spent that fall studying abroad in Israel, where she taught English to a Sudanese refugee population. Back in Chapel Hill, she volunteers as part of the Refugee Health Initiative, acting as a health care advocate to local families. She picked up where she left off in fencing, too, earning All-America honors in 2014. She has been honored as UNC’s Most Outstanding in the women’s sabre program in each year of her career and also serves as squad captain.
Cameron Overstreet; North Carolina; Exercise and Sport Science; Track and Field; Mechanicsville, Va.
As a pole vaulter for UNC, Cameron Overstreet has established herself among the Tar Heels’ all-time best. A second-team All-American and All-ACC honoree, she currently has the second-best performance in school history in both the indoor and outdoor events, and has been the ACC runner-up in both events. In addition to her major, she is completing two minors, in medical anthropology and Spanish for the medical professions. She is active in Carolina Outreach, as co-coordinator for the Carolina Dreams program and with a host of other efforts. A member of the Pre-Physical Therapy Club, she also works part-time for Campus Recreation, serving as a Zone Manager. She has qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of her first three years at UNC and is looking for a fourth in 2015.
Loren Shealy; North Carolina; Business Administration; Field Hockey; Charlotte, N.C.
As a member of the UNC field hockey team, Loren Shealy is a three-time recipient of the NCAA Elite 89 Award, which goes to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA at each final four site. She won the maximum number of times possible, a feat accomplished by only one other Division I athlete in the award’s history. In addition to four final fours, Shealy has helped the Carolina field hockey team to an ACC Championship and three regular-season conference titles while earning second-team All-ACC and All-Region honors. She has been named Sports Illustrated’s College Athlete of the Year and the ACC Field Hockey Scholar Athlete of the Year. She is the first UNC student-athlete to take part in the prestigious Robertson Scholars program, a joint initiative between UNC and Duke.
Benton Moss; North Carolina; Business Administration & Economics; Baseball; Enfield, N.C.
A fourth-year starting pitcher for the Tar Heels, Benton Moss attends UNC on a Morehead-Cain Scholarship, the school’s most prestigious academic grant. A Dean’s List and Academic All-District honoree, he serves as the Student-Athlete Liaison on UNC’s Faculty Athletics Committee. And while he has helped the Tar Heels to plenty of baseball success, including a College World Series appearance, the national championship he has won at UNC thus far was as part of the school’s team for the National Undergraduate Venture Capital Investment Competition. He also coordinates the team’s outreach efforts and has performed the last two years on piano and guitar at UNC’s end-of-year athletics celebration. Moss was selected by the Giants in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft but chose to return to school and will graduate in May.
Laura Hoer; NC State; Physiology; Cross Country and Track & Field; Arden, N.C.
As a freshman, Laura Hoer won All-America, All-NCAA Southeast Regional and All ACC honors as well as ACC Rookie of the Year, ACC Champion, NCAA Southeast Region Athlete of the Year and NCAA Regional Champion awards in cross country. She continued her success in track, earning All-ACC honors in 2012 for her performances in the indoor 3,000m and 5,000m events. In the classroom, the Arden, North Carolina, native boasts a 3.445 GPA and has been named to the All-ACC Academic Team multiple times. Hoer is also a four-time member of the ACC Honor Roll and has been named to the Dean’s List on multiple occasions.
Joanna Thompson; NC State; Zoology & English; Cross Country and Track & Field; Knoxville, Tenn.
In cross country, Joanna Thompson received All-ACC honors in each of her four years, while earning All-America honors as a junior and senior. On the track, Thompson excelled in distance events. Her career has included numerous trips to NCAA regional meets and was highlighted by winning All-America honors in the 10,000m in 2013. In the classroom, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native has received numerous accolades. She has been named a member of the All-ACC Academic Team on multiple occasions, as well as a three-time member of the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team.
Emily Weiman; NC State; Sport Management; Softball; Pasadena, Md.
A two-time first team All-ACC selection, Emily Weiman enjoyed a phenomenal sophomore season earning ACC Pitcher of the Year, ACC Championship MVP and All-Southeast Region Team honors. She owns the school record for most wins in a single season with 33 and innings pitched with 323.1. In the classroom, Weiman is a three-time All-ACC Academic Team honoree and has been selected to the ACC Honor Roll in each of her three seasons. She has also been a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and participated in various community service projects like Habitat for Humanity.
Ashley Armstrong; Notre Dame; Mechanical Engineering; Women’s Golf; Flossmoor, Ill.
A two-year team captain and two-time Capital One Academic All-America selection, Armstrong ranks third in school history with a 75.12 career stroke average, having posted five top-five finishes and seven top-10 outings during her four-year tenure. She also has played a critical role in Notre Dame’s three consecutive NCAA Regional appearances (2012-14) and its 2013 BIG EAST Conference title, twice earning all-BIG EAST honors while winning the 2012 BIG EAST individual crown. Off the course, Armstrong serves as a team representative on Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council and has been prominent in the women’s golf team’s numerous community service projects.
Kelly Curran; Notre Dame; Science-Business; Track & Field; Bloomington, Ill.
A three-time track & field All-American, Kelly Curran was All-ACC in cross country, the indoor distance medley relay and the indoor mile as a senior in Notre Dame’s first year in the conference. She helped the Irish to a third-place finish at the ACC Indoor Championships and second at the ACC Outdoor Championships as a senior, en route to an All-American performance in the indoor distance medley relay. Curran was a member of Notre Dame’s Rosenthal Leadership Academy and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council in 2013-14 and was twice named to the ACC All-Academic Team in cross country and track & field. After graduating from Notre Dame in May 2014, Curran began medical school at Oakland University.
Anna Kottkamp; Notre Dame; Environmental Science; Women’s Rowing; Wenatchee, Wash.
Anna Kottkamp, the 2014 NCAA Elite 89 Award winner in rowing, has been a perennial competitive and academic award winner during her Notre Dame career. A regular Dean’s List recipient carrying a 4.0 grade point average in Notre Dame’s College of Science, Kottkamp also earned 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association National Scholar-Athlete recognition as a junior, competing exclusively with the Notre Dame first varsity eight boat last season that raced at the NCAA Championships. She was named to the 2013 all-BIG EAST Conference second team, and was tabbed as a CRCA National-Scholar Athlete that season as well. Away from the water, Kottkamp has been involved with the Monroe Park Food Co-Op, outreach of the Catholic Worker Volunteer in the ecology lab of the Jordan Hall of Science at Notre Dame and volunteer work in environmental conservation in Peru, Bolivia and Honduras.
Emma Reaney; Notre Dame; Design-Visual Communication Design; Swimming; Lawrence, Kan.
A five-time All-American and five-time honorable mention All-American, Emma Reaney set an American record in winning the 200-yard breaststroke at the 2014 NCAA Championships. The individual title was the first for a swimmer or diver on both the men’s and women’s teams in school history. A team tri-captain in 2013-14, Reaney earned ACC Most Valuable Female Swimmer honors at the ACC Championships, ACC Female Swimmer of the Year accolades, ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors and first team Capital One Academic At-Large All-America accolades to wrap up historic junior campaign.
Tyler Wilps; Pitt; Business Finance; Wrestling; Oakdale, Pa.
Pitt’s 75th All-American in school history, Tyler Wilps became the University’s first individual ACC Champion in any sport last year, winning the 174-pound weight class. A two-time NCAA qualifier, Wilps has a 77-29 overall record and was a member of the All-ACC Wrestling Team last season. He has received the ACC “Wrestler of the Week” award twice since the Panthers joined the conference, including once this year on Jan. 27. Following Wilps’ first season in the ACC, he racked up a number of academic accolades, including the institution’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, All-ACC Academic and was also placed on the ACC Honor Roll.
Brianna Kiesel; Pitt; Administration of Justice; Women’s Basketball; Utica, N.Y.
A three-time captain, Brianna Kiesel has already graduated with a degree in administration of justice and is pursuing her second degree in legal studies with a certificate in communications. She was a 2014 Academic All-ACC Selection and a 2013 Big East All-Academic selection. This past summer, Kiesel traveled to Vietnam to participate in ‘Coach for College’ where she taught seventh and eighth grade Vietnamese children math and basketball. On the court, she currently ranks seventh at Pitt in career points (1,758), sixth in career assists (401), eighth in career steals (182) and third in career free throw percentage (.800). In a game at NC State on Feb. 8, Brianna became the first player in program history to have over 1,500 career points, 500 career rebounds and 400 career assists.
Cameron Wright, Pittsburgh, Business, Men’s Basketball, Cleveland, Ohio
A soon-to-be four-time academic all-league selection, Cameron Wright was named the winner of the ACC’s 2014 Skip Prosser Award, the ACC’s scholar-athlete of the year for men’s basketball. On the floor, Wright has competed in 121 career games with 63 starts, reached double figure scoring in 33 career games, scored 746 points, grabbed 270 rebounds and dished out 193 assists. As a senior guard this year, he averages 9.1 points and 3.3 rebounds despite missing the season’s first eight games with a broken foot. He ranks among University of Pittsburgh all-time career leaders in games played and steals. In the community, Wright is a frequent volunteer in both Pittsburgh and his hometown of Cleveland, made a trip to an orphanage in Haiti last summer and was a nominee for the NABC Good Works Team and Senior CLASS Award. Wright graduated last April with a marketing degree and is currently pursuing a second business major in human resources management.
Cameron Lynch; Syracuse; Economics; Football; Lawrenceville, Ga.
A team captain for the 2014 season, Cameron Lynch led the Orange in a number of stat categories while on his way to an All-ACC Third Team selection. The Lawrenceville, Georgia native led the Orange with 97 tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks and also had a forced fumble and a safety. Lynch recorded 10-or-more tackles in five games this season for ‘Cuse. Lynch also served as the executive producer of ‘Cam’s Cam’ a weekly video feature on Cuse.com that showcased the personality and talents of a number of his teammates throughout the season.
Sam Rodgers; Syracuse; Nutrition; Football; State College, Pa.
A team captain for the 2014 season, Sam Rodgers concluded his career with the Orange having served as the team’s long snapper in every game since arriving at Syracuse. A Capital One Academic All-American and AFCA Good Works Team Honoree, Rodgers has been involved with numerous charitable organizations while at Syracuse, including making multiple mission trips to Haiti and co-founding the Syracuse University Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Rodgers is also a Remembrance Scholar, which is the highest honor a Syracuse University student can receive.
Komal Safdar; Syracuse; Biochemistry; Women’s Tennis; Mason, Ohio
Komal Safdar is the president of the Syracuse student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC), and is currently part of the No. 59 ranked doubles tandem in the nation alongside teammate Valeria Salazar. A member of the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in each semester on campus at Syracuse, Safdar is also a three-time member of a conference all-academic team (2014 ACC, 2012 and 2013 BIG EAST). The Mason, Ohio native has helped lead the Orange to one of its best starts in recent history, opening the season 5-1 with a pair of wins over top-40 opponents.
Jordan Lavender; Virginia; Media Studies; Track & Field; Nashville, Tenn.
A three-time ACC champion in the 400m (2013 outdoors, 2014 indoors and outdoors), Jordan Lavender has been a standout sprinter throughout her career. She has broken four school records during her career, setting records in the indoor 200m and 400m and as a member of the 4x400m relay both indoors and outdoors. Lavender was named the top track performer at both the 2014 ACC Indoor and Outdoor Championships. A media studies major, she has hosted weekly interviews of her teammates on VirginiaSports.com over the past three years. A member of the Student-Athlete Mentor (SAM) council, she has also volunteered with Pancakes for Parkinson’s and cleaning a section of the Rivanna Trail.
Courtney Swan; Virginia; Kinesiology; Women’s Lacrosse; Vero Beach, Fla.
Courtney Swan, a 2014 IWLCA Second-Team All-American, helped lead Virginia to the NCAA semifinals last season where she was named the winner of the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Elite 89 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA at the championship. The kinesiology major has been among the top players in the nation in draw controls each of the last two seasons as well as finishing the 2014 campaign in the top-10 in the ACC in points. In 2014, Swan garnered IWLCA All-South Region First Team and second-team All-ACC honors as well as being a nominee for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding American college lacrosse player.
Ellen Williamson; Virginia; Systems Engineering; Swimming; Ft. Mitchell, Ky.
Ellen Williamson is a six-time All-American and six-time ACC Champion for the Virginia women’s swimming and diving program. A 12-time ACC selection, Williamson has been a member of three ACC-record relays, including the 200 medley relay, the 400 medley relay and 800 free relay. Williamson has been a major contributor to three ACC Championships for the Cavaliers and also a force in the classroom. She has been named to the All-ACC Academic Team and to the CSCAA Scholar All-America Team three times and was named to the Capital One Academic All-District III At-Large First Team in 2014.
Morgan Brian; Virginia; Kinesiology; Soccer; St. Simons Island, Ga.
One of only four women’s players in history to win the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy in consecutive years, Morgan Brian had one of the most distinguished careers in the history of college soccer. A three-time NSCAA first-team All-American, she helped lead UVa to reach the 2013 and 2014 NCAA College Cups and the 2012 ACC Championship. Brian has already made over 20 appearances for the United States Women’s National Team and was the only collegiate player on the USWNT roster for CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying last fall. She has been a two-time member of the All-ACC Academic Team and also mentors area youth as part of UVa Women’s Soccer “Girls Can” Club.
Christian Beyer; Virginia Tech; Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise; Men’s Basketball; New Bern, N.C.
Christian Beyer, who joined the Hokies as a walk-on in 2012, has earned a scholarship for this, his final semester. A member of the 2013 ACC All-Academic team, he won the 2014 Skelton Award, given annually to the top academic male and female student-athletes at Virginia Tech. The New Bern, North Carolina native has been named to the 2015 Capital One Academic All- District 3 first team and is currently on the national ballot. Beyer has played in 67 games, making three starts. Beyer is currently in the process of interviewing and being accepted into medical schools.
Devin Carter; Virginia Tech; Psychology; Wrestling; Christiansburg, Va.
A three-time ACC champion and two-time All-American, Devin Carter has re-written the record book at Virginia Tech. The Christiansburg, Virginia, native has won over 110 career matches with nearly 40 pins and became the school’s first NCAA finalist when he advanced to the final match at the 2014 Championships. A 2014 Academic All-America selection to the at-large squad, he was also named ACC’s Wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Carter has already graduated with a degree in psychology and is spending his fifth year at Virginia Tech working on a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
Morgan Latimer; Virginia Tech; History; Swimming & Diving; Richmond, Va.
When he graduated in May 2015, Virginia-native Morgan Latimer will leave his name littered across the Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving record book. He is a two-time ACC silver-medalist in the 200 fly who holds school records in the 100 back, the 100 fly and the 200 fly. He is a stalwart relay participant who helped set school-record times in the 200 free relay, the 800 free relay, the 200 medley relay and the 400 medley relay. He helped the H2Okies win the 2014 ACC Men’s Championship last season, earning 77 individual points and a whopping 220 team points. He is an exceptional student who has twice been named to the All-ACC Academic Team.
Nyki Caldwell; Wake Forest; Health & Exercise Science; Women’s Track; Dexter, Mich.
Nyki Caldwell has had a solid career as a Demon Deacon high jumper on the track & field team. During her career, she has earned All-ACC honors at the 2013 ACC Indoor Championships with a second place finish and has been an NCAA regional competitor. Not only has she made an impact in competition and in the classroom, she has been making a difference in the community. This year, she has been involved in Hit the Bricks, Crazy Running Volunteer Coach, Eat with the Deacs, Career Night Model, and worked at a Relationship Violence team building event. In the past she has been involved with January Orientation Mentor, Athletes Supporting Athletes and Habitat for Humanity.
Riley Ridgik; Wake Forest; Elementary Education; Women’s Soccer; Ventura, Calif.
A team captain, Riley Ridgik was a four-year starter on the Wake Forest women’s soccer team. She led the team in goals and points her junior and senior seasons, finishing with 19 goals, 12 assists and 50 points in her career. The two-year SAAC member guided Wake Forest to its first-ever NCAA College Cup in 2011, and helped the Deacons to a 49-26-12 record in her career. While student teaching her senior year, she also participated in community service efforts including Project DESK, Project Pumpkin and Santa’s Helpers. Her accolades on and off the pitch helped her become the ACC’s lone women’s soccer Senior CLASS Award nominee in 2014, and she also earned All-ACC and NSCAA All-Region honors in her career.
Danae Rosendall; Wake Forest; Health & Exercise Science; Volleyball; Hudsonville, Mich.
Danae Rosendall had a solid career finishing tied for second all-time in matches played (124), fourth in sets played (440), and fifth in assists (3,194) in Wake Forest volleyball history. She also had a fantastic freshman season in 2011 as she was honored as ACC Freshman of the Week twice and was named to the 2011 ACC All-Freshman Team. She has been involved in the community through Project Pumpkin, Santa’s Helpers, Eat with the Deacs, Habitat for Humanity, and the HOPE Food Truck. She currently volunteers at the community care center, in pediatrics at Brenner Hospital, and in a diabetes study at the Wake Forest Research Center.
About the ACC
The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 62nd year of competition and 15 members strong, has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. ACC members Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest continue to build upon the cornerstones on which the league was founded in 1953 with a consistent balance of academics, athletics and integrity. For more information, visit theACC.com and follow @theACC on Twitter and on facebook.com/theACC.