UNC’s Shealy Wins NCAA Elite 89 Award for Third Time


Tar Heel senior becomes just second player in NCAA history to three-peat in any sport 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (GoHeels.com) – University of North Carolina senior Loren Shealy has been named the NCAA Elite 89 Award winner for field hockey for the third time, a feat only one other student-athlete has accomplished.

The award, presented at the NCAA Field Hockey Championship banquet Thursday evening, recognizes the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average competing at each championship site.

“I’m so proud of Loren and so pleased that she represents the University of North Carolina,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “The Elite 89 Award signifies a student-athlete competing at the highest level athletically while achieving at the highest level academically, and that is what Loren does. She’s having the best season of her career on the field while continuing her outstanding academic performance. We applaud her achievements at UNC, and I have no doubt her success will continue after she graduates in May.

“I’m thrilled for our team as well. This award only goes to players who are competing in the final four, and our whole team played a role in helping to get us here. That a Tar Heel has won for the last four years underscores the fact that Carolina field hockey represents excellence in all facets.”

Shealy, a business administration major from Charlotte, has a 3.99 grade point average. She will graduate from UNC in May and start work at Credit Suisse in July.

The first UNC student-athlete to be part of the prestigious Robertson Scholars program, Shealy is one of seven Tar Heel student-athletes to have won the NCAA award on nine occasions. Bill Dworsky was the inaugural men's soccer winner in 2009 and 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. Shealy was one of three Tar Heels to win in 2012, joining Caitlin Ball (women's soccer) and Paige Hanson (women's lacrosse).

It’s the fourth year in a row that a UNC player has won the field hockey award. Prior to Shealy’s three-year run, Tar Heel Marta Malmberg won in 2011. Freshmen are not eligible for the award, so three is the maximum number of times a student-athlete could win the award. The other to have won three times is Megan Buja, a member of the Maryland-Eastern Shore women’s bowling team who won in 2012, ’13 and ’14.

The award is now in its sixth year and UNC is the only school to win more than once in field hockey.

The Tar Heels are playing in the final four for the seventh time in the past eight years and the 19th time in school history. The top seed in the field, they’ll meet fourth-seeded Syracuse Friday at 2 p.m. in the first national semifinals game. Connecticut meets Albany in the other and the winners meet Saturday at 1 p.m. for the national championship. Shealy has started all 22 games at forward for UNC this season. She has 11 goals and nine assists and is tied for second on the team in points with 31. 

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."