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Nov. 15, 2012
NORFOLK, Va. - North Carolina sophomore Loren Shealy, a business major from Charlotte, N.C., was honored Thursday as the recipient of the 2012 Elite 89 Award for Division I field hockey. The award, presented at the NCAA Championship banquet, recognizes the student-athlete with the highest overall grade point average competing at each NCAA championship site.
Carolina junior Marta Malmberg was the Elite 89 winner in 2011. The award is now in its fourth year, and UNC is the only school to have won more than once. An ACC student-athlete has earned the award every year it has been given in field hockey.
"Loren is such an outstanding example of a student-athlete who is excelling both academically and athletically," UNC coach Karen Shelton said. "That's what we want to see from all of our Tar Heels. She works so hard on and off the field and it shows - while earning straight A's, she also has earned All-ACC Tournament honors.
"And I'm so proud for our program that we've received this award two years in a row. To even be eligible, your team has to be one of the last four competing, which is such an achievement in itself. To play outstanding field hockey and be the best of an elite group academically is a great accomplishment."
Shealy starts at forward for the Tar Heels, who will take on Syracuse Friday at 2 p.m. in an NCAA semifinal game. Maryland and Princeton will face off in the second game, with the winners advancing to the national championship game on Sunday at 1p.m. UNC is playing in its fourth consecutive final four and fifth in the past six years.
The Elite 89 program was founded by the NCAA to recognize "the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers."
Shealy, the first student-athlete to be part of the prestigious Robertson Scholars program at UNC, is the fifth Tar Heel to win the NCAA award. Bill Dworsky was the men's soccer winner in 2009, Kristi Eveland won for women's soccer the same year, Meredith Newton won for women's lacrosse in 2010, and Marta Malmberg won for field hockey in 2011.