April 2, 2014
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame team captain and standout defenseman Stephen O'Hara has been named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award in the men's lacrosse division.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 20 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through May 12. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Baltimore May 24-26. For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
O'Hara has started 39 straight contests in Notre Dame's stout defensive unit. The Fighting Irish have gone 28-11 over that time while boasting one of the nation's top defenses. O'Hara garnered second team all-BIG EAST honors last season and was tapped as a first team preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse heading into the 2014 campaign. In January, the Ohio Machine selected O'Hara in the sixth round (41st overall selection) of the Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. On March 18, he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the 18-9 triumph of No. 7 Virginia.
During his first season as a starter in 2012, O'Hara helped the Fighting Irish rank first nationally in scoring defense (6.31) and man-down defense (.892) en route to capturing the BIG EAST regular-season title and advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship. Notre Dame had the country's 10th-best goals-against average last season (8.31) against one of the top schedules in the land. The Irish finished the 2013 regular season with the top RPI in the nation and earned the No. 2 seed for the NCAA Championship before advancing to the quarterfinals of that tournament.
The defenseman's success isn't limited to the lacrosse field. He boasts a 3.436 cumulative GPA as a finance major in Notre Dame's nationally-ranked Mendoza College of Business. O'Hara, who is minoring in Chinese, was named to the BIG EAST Academic All-Star Team each of the last three seasons.
Since 2011, O'Hara has been a member of Notre Dame's Rosenthal Leadership Academy, which develops, challenges and supports student-athletes and coaches in their continual quest to become world-class leaders in athletics, academics and life. He has taken part in numerous community service projects in the South Bend/Notre Dame community, including being a mentor for students at Dickinson Middle School and at the Perley Primary Fine Arts Academy.
O'Hara has been involved in the Playing for Peace initiative at Notre Dame to help promote awareness for lasting peace in Sudan. He has participated in community service work, athletic events and peace rallies to help with the Playing for Peace cause. The Playing for Peace initiative seeks to use the platform of sport to transcend boundaries and bring people together in the pursuit of peace, justice and human understanding. O'Hara and the Irish men's lacrosse program have also been instrumental in bringing the initiative to the local level by doing community service work in South Bend and Chicago.
O'Hara is the fifth Fighting Irish men's lacrosse player to be named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. Ryan Hoff (2009), Scott Rodgers (2010), Kevin Randall (2012) and Matt Miller (2013) also were among the final 10 student-athletes in contention for the award, which was first presented in 2007.
O'Hara and the seventh-ranked Fighting Irish (4-3, 2-1) will play host to No. 3 Duke (9-2, 2-1) Saturday at Arlotta Stadium. Faceoff is slated for noon (ET) and the contest can be seen live on ESPNU and WatchESPN.
The University of Notre Dame men's lacrosse team pursues excellence on and off the field through the three pillars in which the program is built: Character, Culture & Community. These three foundational values guide the promise of the program, which is to provide its student-athletes with the most compelling and enriching experience in all of college athletics. Through academics, competition, service and travel, the program aims to immerse its players in situations that enhance their student-athlete experience to help them become the people, students and teammates they aspire to be.
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