April 29, 2009
NOTRE DAME Ind. - The Notre Dame Athletics Department held the eighth annual O.S.C.A.R.S (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements and Recognition Showcase) on Wednesday, April 29 at the Joyce Center honoring the more than 750 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2008-09 school year.
The presentation of the three major athletics awards - the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the Francis Patrick O'Connor Award and the Christopher Zorich Service Award - highlighted the evening's festivities. In conjunction with the Notre Dame Office of Academic Services for Student-Athletics, the Top Gun Award and the Chuck Linster Award also were presented. In addition, a member of each team was selected for the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award and the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award. The Trophy Award (recognizing excellence in community service) was presented to the Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team.
Senior hockey right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) and senior distance runner Heidi Rocha (Palmdale, Calif.) were double winners on the evening. Condra took home the Francis Patrick O'Connor Award and Byron V. Kanaley Award, while Rocha received the Kanaley Award and Christopher Zorich Service Award.
The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, has been given annually since 1927 to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders. Chosen by the University's Faculty Board on Athletics, the awards are named in honor of the 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the baseball team as an undergraduate. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee until his death in 1960.
Along with Condra and Rocha, men's lacrosse player Peter Christman (Simsbury, Conn.), women's tennis player Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla.), women's fencer Adrienne Nott (Pittsford, N.Y.), men's soccer player Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan.) and rower Lauren Buck (Flint, Mich.) were Kanaley award winners.
Women's volleyball player Justine Stremick (Langdon, N.D.) joined Condra as a recipient of the O'Connor Award. Since 1993, the University has presented this award in the name of O'Connor, a former student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame. Pat was the son of William "Bucky" O'Connor, who played guard for the Notre Dame football team in the 1940's.
The O'Connor Award honors male and female student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspirations to their respective teams. To be considered, student-athletes must possess those qualities attributed to Pat O'Connor: caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience.
The Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team was recognized with The Trophy Award for its work with the Irish Aquatics swim program, providing swim lessons to area youth. Established by the Office of Student Welfare and Development and first presented in 2006, The Trophy Award annually recognizes an athletic team that has demonstrated its commitment and dedication to the community through unparalleled community service to Notre Dame and South Bend.
Women's rower Erica Copeland (Marietta, Ga.) received the Top Gun award, recognizing the graduating student-athlete with the highest grade-point average.
Student manager Jeffrey Wolanin (Hometown) was awarded the Chuck Linster award that is given annually to a senior member of the support group (athletic trainers, cheerleaders and student managers) with the highest grade-point average.
Condra served as team captain of the 2008-09 Notre Dame hockey team and for the fourth consecutive season was the team's offensive player of the year, leading the Irish with 38 points on 13 goals and 25 assists. Among his 13 goals were five power-play tallies, two short-handed goals and a pair of game winners. He was a second team all-CCHA selection and was a second team AHCA/Reebok West All-America choice. A seventh-round draft choice in 2006 by the NHL's Ottawa Senators, Condra also was a finalist for the CCHA's top defensive forward award and for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
A CCHA all-rookie team selection in 2005-06 and an honorable mention all-CCHA choice in 2006-07, Condra finished his career ranked 13th on Notre Dame's all-time points list with 158 points on 48 goals and 110 assists. The 110 assists are the seventh most in the program's history as he is just one of 10 Irish players all-time to have 100 or more assists. He also finishes his career ranked third all-time in games played (159), fifth in game-winning goals (11) and tied for fourth with six short-handed goals.
An outstanding student-athlete, Condra has a 3.56 grade-point average as a psychology and pre-professional studies major. He was selected to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA All-District V, At-Large All-Academic Team for 2007-08 and is a nominee again this season for Academic All-America honors.
Rocha has dedicated much of her time at Notre Dame to serving others across the country and around the world. She has volunteered at South Bend schools and is very involved with Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns. The Irish distance runner has traveled to Appalachia, Chicago's inner city, Utah and Ecuador working on service trips with the University.
During her trip to Ecuador, Rocha worked at a community center that stresses education, work skills and healthy living in an area of extreme poverty. She traveled to the Appalachia region of eastern Kentucky, working in local schools and learning of the area's economic struggles, and also visited a community center in Chicago, where she and other Notre Dame students experienced the daily life of volunteers in the inner city.
Rocha was also the recipient of the Dave Bossy Scholarship Grant, which provides funding to Irish student-athletes who volunteer to work in summer service programs in conjunction with the Center for Social Concerns. With the grant, Rocha was able to spend a summer in Utah teaching reading, writing and vocabulary skills at a literacy camp.
Rocha also excelled on the track and in the classroom. A member of the 2007 BIG EAST women's outdoor track championship team and a 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championship participant, the senior cross country and track and field captain has been named to the Dean's List five times and is a member of Notre Dame's Academic Honors Program. Rocha carries a 3.811 cumulative grade-point average as an American Studies major in the College of Arts and Letters.
The midfielder has started every game this season and is second on the team in assists and ranks fifth in points. Christman had two hat tricks in addition to a four-point performance (1 goals, 3 assists) in a 9-7 win over No. 3 North Carolina. Against Villanova, Christman scored the game winner as he deposited the goal that snapped a 7-7 tie late in regulation.
In '08, Christman started all 17 games and posted career-high numbers in goals (14), assists (20) and points (34). Overall, he has played in every possible game during his Fighting Irish career and has helped Notre Dame to three straight NCAA tournament berths, including a trip to the quarterfinals last season. He is part of a class that has produced the most wins (48) over a four-year span in program history in addition to never losing a home game. Notre Dame's current 25-game home win streak is the longest in the nation.
The team captain boasts a 3.622 cumulative grade-point average as a political science major in the College of Arts and Letters. Christman was named to the dean's list in the fall of '08 with a 3.883 semester GPA.
Christman has been an instrumental part of the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team's community service efforts in the South Bend/Michiana area. Last spring, the team was recognized with The Trophy Award at the O.S.C.A.R.S. for their work in the community. As a member of the 2005-06 men's lacrosse team, he helped found the Jefferson Middle School mentor/outreach program.
Christman also is the co-founder of GreeND, Notre Dame's energy and environmental student organization. He is the chairman of the Energy Conservation Corps - a subsidiary of GreeND and he directs student leadership efforts to coordinate energy and environmental initiatives and drive institutional change regarding energy consumption, collaborating with University administration, faculty and student organizations to do so. This past year, GreeND received Senator Richard Lugar's Energy Patriot Award.
Tefft is the ninth women's tennis player to receive the Byron V. Kanaley Award.
One of the top women's tennis players in program history, Tefft has rewritten the Irish record books during her career. This season, she became the first Irish women's tennis player to earn all-BIG EAST honors for four straight years. The senior captain was also named the BIG EAST Player of the Year after leading the Irish to their second consecutive BIG EAST crown.
Tefft makes up half of the most successful senior class in Irish women's tennis history. During her career, Notre Dame has recorded a 101-19 overall record and three straight top-20 finishes. The Irish have won three BIG EAST Championships and will make their fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament this season.
An All-American in '08, Tefft is ranked first all-time in the Irish record books with 152 doubles wins, 97 doubles dual-match wins, and 260 combined wins. Her 108 singles victories place her fourth all-time among the Irish greats.
Tefft has taken home the ITA Midwest Regional Doubles crown every year from 2006-08. She was the '07 ITA National Indoor Doubles Champion with former partner Brook Buck, and, this fall, Tefft advanced to the finals of the '08 Indoor Doubles Championship with current partner, Kristy Frilling.
Off the court, Tefft has volunteered with the South Bend Reads program, the Early Childhood Development Center, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Fight for Life and at Notre Dame tennis clinics.
An '08 ITA Scholar-Athlete, Tefft is a member of Notre Dame's Academic Honors Program and boasts a 3.649 cumulative grade-point average as a sociology and computer applications major in the College of Arts and Letters.
In the classroom, Nott carries a 3.745 cumulative grade-point average as a double major in psychology and Japanese. She was named to the dean's list in the fall of '05, the spring of '06 and the fall of '08.
Nott finished her Irish career with a 223-35 regular-season record (.864), good for the fourth most foil wins in program history and the eighth most wins overall. Her .864 winning percentage is the 15th highest in program history. She was a second team All-American in '06, a first team honoree in '07 and '08, and a third team All-American in '09. In '08 she coupled her All-America honor with Academic All-America accolades as she was selected as a Third Team Academic All-American on the Women's At-Large Team by ESPN The Magazine.
Accolades were in abundance for the central defender following the '08 campaign. Besler was named the '08 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar Athlete of the Year. In addition, he earned first-team All-America honors from the NSCAA and garnered first-team Academic All-America accolades from ESPN the Magazine and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He is the first Notre Dame men's soccer player to be named a first-team All-American and a first-team Academic All-American.
In January, Besler was selected eighth overall in the first round of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft by his home state Kansas City Wizards. That marked the highest a Notre Dame player had ever been taken in the MLS draft.
In the classroom, Besler finished with a 3.518 cumulative grade-point average and graduated in December with a degree in pre-professional studies and psychology from Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters. Besler was named to the dean's list in the fall of 2'08 after posting a 3.846 semester GPA.
For his career, Besler played in 90 games, including 73 starts. He started every match over his final three seasons and only missed one game during his collegiate career. Besler totaled 17 points on five goals and seven assists in an Irish uniform. He helped Notre Dame gain four straight berths to the NCAA Championship, including the program's first two trips to the quarterfinals in '06 and '07. The Kansas product also earned his third straight all-conference honor in '08 as he was named to the all-BIG EAST first team.
A four-year member of the Irish program, Buck has been a member of Notre Dame's top boat, the first varsity eight, for three seasons after rowing with the novice eight crew as a freshman. She has been part of teams that have won four BIG EAST titles and two gold medals for the varsity eight crew.
An alternate on the '06 NCAA team as a freshman that finished ninth at the NCAA Championships, Buck earned a spot with the varsity eight crew as a sophomore and helped that boat reach unprecedented heights when it earned a top-five finish in the final rankings while climbing to a program best third during the year. The boat placed 12th at the '07 NCAAs after advancing to the Petite Final.
Buck, who owns a 3.869 overall grade-point average, is enrolled in a joint degree program within the College of Science and MBA Program. She will graduate in May 2010 with a bachelor's degree in biological science and an MBA. A Dean's List honoree four of the last six semesters, she earned a perfect 4.00 grade index following the '08 spring semester and is a member of Notre Dame's prestigious Academic Honors Program.
Buck has been an undergraduate researcher since '07 for the Indiana University-South Bend Medical School. She represents Notre Dame on the BIG EAST Conference Student Advisory Committee and is her team's representative on Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). An accomplished musician, she earned a superior rating in the Flint Institute of Music Piano Competition.
The four-time Monogram winner was an ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District selection in '08, a second team choice in '07 and a third team honoree in '06. Stremick was named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team from 2006-08 and was selected to the BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team in '08.
Stremick ranks fourth all-time in the Irish record books with a .307 career hitting percentage. She is seventh in career solo blocks (92) and total blocks (437) and her 345 career block assists ranks eighth all-time. She recorded 42 solo blocks in 2007, placing her fifth on the all-time single season solo blocks list.
An talented musician, Stremick is a member of the Academic Honors Program and carries a 3.79 grade-point average as a Pre-Professional Studies and Life Science major.
On Feb. 20, he was honored by the Robinson Center with the Rev. Don McNeill, C.S.C. Award. This award is presented to a Notre Dame student whose commitment to service has strengthened the relationship between Northeast neighborhood residents and the academic community by building relationships with youth and/or adult participants. Lucyk was also a nominee for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award for his community service work.
On the ice, Lucyk played in 38 games, recording two assists and was +10 on the season. Following Notre Dame's season, he played professionally with the Charlotte Checkers of the East Coast Hockey League, playing in two regular-season games and two playoff games.
In '08, Dew became the third Notre Dame defender ever to be named a NSCAA first-team All-American, and the first selection since 1997 when future U.S. National Team players Jen Grubb and Kate Sobrero (Markgraf) earned that distinction. She also was the first Irish defender to make any of the three NSCAA All-America teams since '05, when current Canadian National Team member Candace Chapman garnered third-team honors.
Dew started 89 of 92 matches in her career at center back, scoring eight goals and adding five assists, but she will be most remembered as the defensive anchor of a Notre Dame senior class that helped the Irish compile a 92-10-3 (.890) record during their four years, the second-best winning percentage for any school's Class of 2009. Notre Dame also advanced to the NCAA Women's College Cup three times in Dew's four seasons, reaching the title match twice ('06 and '08) and won three BIG EAST Conference titles ('05, '06, '08). In addition, during Dew's tenure, the Irish put together a still-active 52-match unbeaten streak in BIG EAST play (second-longest in NCAA history entering the '09 season and three away from North Carolina's record of 55 from 1994-2000), as well as a school-record 26-match winning streak to open the '08 season, and a school-record 28-match regular-season unbeaten streak that also will carry into '09.
In January, Dew was selected in the second round (12th overall) of the inaugural Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league draft by FC Gold Pride, a team based in Santa Clara, Calif. Dew started the first three matches of the season for her new team, scoring her first professional goal (and the first by a Notre Dame alum in the new league) on a 33rd-minute strike at Sky Blue FC (New Jersey) on April 11.
Copeland is the second Irish rower to earn The Top Gun Award, which has been presented since 1993.
A four-year member of the rowing team, Copeland been a key part of teams that have captured four BIG EAST crowns during her career. She has been part of the second varsity eight crew that has captured the gold medal in each of the past two seasons ('08 and '09). This season, one of Notre Dame's top performances came at the prestigious San Diego Crew Class when her second varsity crew registered a fifth-place finish in the Grand Final.
As a sophomore she rowed with the varsity four boat that won the BIG EAST crown and finished 11th overall at the NCAA Championships after advancing to the Petite Final. Copeland, who owns a 3.95 overall grade point average as a political science major in the College of Arts and Letters, has finished with a perfect 4.0 grade index during each of the last two semesters.
Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award Winners
Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award Winners
Rosenthal Leadership Academy
Matt Armstrong, Men's Soccer