June 5, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Three University of Notre Dame student-athletes - graduate student Gerek Meinhardt (men's fencing), junior Emma Reaney (women's swimming) and junior Ashley Armstrong (women's golf) - have become the latest Irish standouts to earn Capital One Academic At-Large All-America honors as announced on Thursday afternoon (June 5) by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
National champions in their respective sports, Meinhardt and Reaney, both earned first-team accolades while Armstrong received second team honors.
All three advanced to the national Capital One Academic At-Large All-America ballot after earning first team Capital One Academic At-Large District V honors in mid-May.
The three Capital One Academic All-Americans up Notre Dame's total to six during the 2013-14 school year. The Irish have produced 237 honorees since Joe Heap (football) in 1952 and sit second all-time behind the University of Nebraska. Other 2013-14 honorees include national champion soccer players Harrison Shipp and Patrick Hodan and all-everything women's soccer standout Elizabeth Tucker.
To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Sports in the at-large program consist of women's bowling, men's and women's fencing, women's field hockey, men's and women's golf, men's and women's gymnastics, men's and women's ice hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's rifle, women's rowing, men's and women's skiing, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo and men's wrestling.
Meinhardt graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in May 2013 with a degree in information technology management and is currently pursuing his MBA from the Mendoza School of Business where he has a 3.83 grade-point average. As an undergraduate he was named to the Dean's List three times.
A four-time fencing All-American, Meinhardt is also a two-time NCAA Champion and two-time Olympian. He competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, helping anchor the men's foil squad at the London Games to a fourth-place finish. The San Francisco, Calif., native has competed in both NCAA and international competitions throughout his college career, never finishing outside the top 10 in any event.
Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment to date, Meinhardt was ranked No. 1 in the world in men's foil at the start of the 2014 season - a first for both the U.S. men's foil program and the Irish fencing team. It also marked the first time an athlete with ties to the Notre Dame fencing team earned a top ranking while still competing at the collegiate level.
Meinhardt boasts a 103-9 (.920) career win-loss record and his winning percentage stands at ninth among the top 30 fencers at Notre Dame (40+ wins) and third on the foil-only list. He recently won the Byron V. Kanaley Award, Notre Dame's most prestigious award for student-athletes, which is presented to seniors who have demonstrated exemplary leadership. He is a four-time monogram winner and has twice been recognized as the Notre Dame Monogram Club Fencing MVP and a Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete award winner.
With the addition of Meinhardt, Irish fencing now has six Capital One Academic All-Americans. Others (both men and women) are Heidi Piper (second team in '91, third team in '92), Claudette de Bruin (second team in '96), Bill Lester (second team in '96, first team in '97), Adrienne Nott (third team, '08) and Reggie Bentley (1st team in '11).
Meinhardt is the only men's fencing student-athlete to earn Capital One Academic At-Large All-America honors from Division I and just one of two from all three NCAA divisions (Joey Rafidi - MIT - first team).
For Reaney, Capital One Academic At-Large All-America honors are just the latest in a long list of accolades after a historic junior campaign. In the classroom, Reaney boasts a steady 3.68 GPA in design from the College of Arts & Letters. She also has a minor in business economics and was named the ACC Women's Swimming & Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year in April. Reaney has twice been named to the Dean's List at Notre Dame and was a two-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star (2011-12, 2012-13) before earning a spot on the all-ACC Academic Team this season.
The Lawrence, Kan., native earned national recognition this season after setting an NCAA/U.S. Open/American Record in the 200-yard breaststroke at February's ACC Championships to claim the last of three individual titles at the meet and earn ACC Most Valuable Women's Swimmer honors.
She then did herself one better at the NCAA Championships in March as she broke her own records in the 200-yard breaststroke to become the first Notre Dame men's or women's swimmer or diver to win a national championship. For her efforts at the NCAA Championships, Reaney garnered ACC Women's Swimmer of the Year accolades.
In three years on campus, Reaney has won one national championship, claimed five All-America and five honorable mention All-America scrolls, won 10 BIG EAST championships and three ACC titles, earned 14 all-BIG EAST and three all-ACC scrolls and been honored as her conference's swimmer of the week an impressive 11 times (six BIG EAST, five ACC).
She is the first Irish women's swimmer or diver to earn first team Capital One Academic All-America honors and just the second overall, joining Kelli Barton (second team) in 2005.
Reaney is one of four women's swimmers/divers to earn first team Capital One Academic At-Large All-America honors and one of a whopping 16 across all three teams in Division I.
Armstrong earns Capital One Academic At-Large All-America honors for the second consecutive year after becoming the first Irish women's golfer to earn any sort of Academic All-Academic recognition as a third-team honoree in 2013. A junior majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, she carries a 3.89 grade-point average and has been named to the Dean's List during all six semesters she has been at Notre Dame.
During the 2013-14 school year, the Flossmoor, Ill., native led Notre Dame with a 75.34 stroke average. Her best finish came at the Mary Fossum Invitational where she tied for second place and finished with a three-round total of 220 that included a 69 on the final day. She also had two other top-25 finishes this past season. Armstrong helped lead her team to a fifth-place tie in its inaugural appearance at the ACC Championships this spring. For her career, she owns a 75.29 stroke average and has registered five top-10 finishes and 15 top-25 finishes overall.
A three-time medalist during her career, Armstrong won the BIG EAST Championship as a freshman in 2012 and then was victorious in back-to-back tournaments during the spring of her sophomore year in 2013 with wins at the Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate and the Briar's Creek Invitational. She was recognized a year ago as Golfweek's Women's National Player of the Week (March 25-31, 2013) and the BIG EAST Women's Golf Player of the Week (March 17-23, 2013). In addition, Armstrong was selected to the all-BIG EAST Women's Golf Team for the second straight season after finishing fifth at the conference tournament.
Armstrong led her team to the '13 BIG EAST crown, following a runner-up finish in '12. In each of her three seasons at Notre Dame, she and her Irish teammates have earned a berth into the NCAA Regionals. Last season, Armstrong tallied three top-10 finishes and seven top-25 showings through 10 tournaments with all 28 rounds counting toward the team scoring.
She is the only women's golfer to earn first team Capital One Academic At-Large All-America honors and one of just four across all three teams in Division I.
About The Capital One Academic All-America Program
Capital One has been the entitlement rights holder to CoSIDA's Academic All-America teams programs since 2011.
The Academic All-District ® teams are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. This is the second year of the expanded Academic All-America® program as CoSIDA moved from recognizing a University Division (Division I) and a College Division (all non Division I) and has doubled the number of scholar-athletes honored. The expanded teams include NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III participants, while the College Division team combines NAIA, Canadian and two-year schools.
The Capital One Division II and III Academic All-America® program is being financially supported by the NCAA Division II and III national governance structures, to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2013-14 DII and DIII Academic All-America® teams program.