April 30, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. ---- The Notre Dame Athletics Department held the seventh annual O.S.C.A.R.S (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements and Recognition Showcase) on Wednesday, April 30 at the Joyce Center honoring the more than 750 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2007-08 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 Team MVP Award. The Trophy Award (recognizing excellence in community service), which was awarded for the first time in 2006, was presented to the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team.
Senior Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla.) was a double winner on the evening as she took home both the Byron V. Kanaley Award and the Francis Patrick O'Connor Award. The other five Kanaley award winners included: women's fencer Rachel Cota (Altadena, Calif.), men's fencer Greg Howard (Granger, Ind.), softball player Katie Laing (Tempe, Ariz.), volleyball player Adrianna Stasiuk (Park Ridge, Ill.) and hockey player Dan VeNard (Vernon Hill, Ill.).
The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, has been given each year 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.
Women's lacrosse player Caitlin McKinney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) and men's tennis player Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb.) joined Buck as recipients 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.
Seniors Mary Kate McNamara (North Potomac, Md.), a member of the Irish rowing team, and men's lacrosse player Dan Scolaro (Lake Forest, Ill.) received the Christopher Zorich Award, which was first presented in 1998. The Zorich Award was created to recognize contributions of Notre Dame student-athletes to the University and community at-large. The award holds the name of the two-time Irish All-American and 1991 graduate who went on to play in the National Football League for both the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins before receiving his law degree from Notre Dame in 2002.
The Notre Dame men's lacrosse team was recognized with The Trophy Award, which was presented for the first time in 2006. Established by the Office of Student Welfare and Development, 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.
Senior Sunni Olding (Minster, Ohio), a member of both the women's cross country and track and field programs, received the Top Gun award, recognizing the graduating student-athlete with the highest grade-point average. Student manager Kathleen Mulvaney (Western Springs, Ill.) 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.
Buck has helped Notre Dame compile a 91-24 record over the past four seasons. During that time, the Irish have captured three BIG EAST Conference Championships and been ranked among the top 20 in the national rankings every year. Notre Dame climbed as high as #2 in the nation on numerous occasions and advanced to the NCAA tournament four times, including a pair of quarterfinal appearances each of the last two seasons.
Buck currently ranks as the school's all-time leader in both doubles victories and doubles dual match wins. She also ranks tied for second in combined dual victories and third all-time in combined wins. Buck, along with junior Kelcy Tefft, captured the 2007 ITA Indoor Doubles Championship -- the second national title in the history of the program. That duo is currently the nation's third-ranked doubles squad. Buck also set a new school record this year with 38 doubles victories.
She is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters and will graduate with a degree in sociology.
Cota won nearly 74-percent of her collegiate bouts by posting a career record of 135-48. She went 37-15 (.712) during her freshman season and followed that up with a 29-6 (.829) mark as a sophomore. As a junior, she registered another 29-win campaign by going 29-10 (.744). This past season she finished with a career-best 40 wins and an overall record of 40-17 (.702).
Cota placed 11th in the foil at the 2005 Midwest Fencing Conference Championships during her freshman campaign. This season, she finished 13th at the conference meet. During her sophomore and junior seasons, she finished 15th and 16th, respectively, in the conference. As a junior in 2007, Cota placed 12th during her first NCAA Midwest Regional competition. This season, she notched a 10th-place showing at the Midwest Regional.
Cota will graduate in May with a double major in theology and anthropology from the College of Arts and Letters.
A three-time all-BIG EAST honoree and two-time team captain, Laing also earned a spot on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region team in 2005 and twice this season she has garnered BIG EAST player-of-the-week honors.
Laing holds the school's career record for doubles and sits in a tie for the single-season two-bagger mark the sure-handed defender is also second in career assists, with the highest total of any second baseman to ever wear an Irish uniform. In '08, she has set or tied single-game career highs with runs scored, hits, RBI, doubles, triples, and home runs. Laing was the first Irish player to hit multiple homers in a single game this season when she cranked out a pair at Seton Hall earlier in the year. She will earn a degree in May with a double major in marketing and psychology from the Mendoza College of Business and the College of Arts and Letters.
Howard is a two-time All-America epeeist for the Fighting Irish. The past two seasons he has earned second-team All-America honors by placing eighth at the NCAA Championships both years. His performance this season helped Notre Dame to a runner-up finish at the NCAAs.
Howard has won nearly 80-percent of his collegiate bouts by posting an overall regular-season record of 174-44. His 174 career victories tie him for third among men's epeeists in program history. Overall, he is tied for eighth in career wins in school history.
In '08, he registered a career-best finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional by placing third. He finished fourth at both the '06 and '07 regional events. As a freshman, Howard placed seventh at the '05 Midwest Regional. Howard earned all-conference honors on two occasions. In '06, he was the league's runner-up in the men's epee. He followed that up with a fifth-place finish as a junior in '07.
Howard will graduate with a degree in economics from the College of Arts and Letters.
A unanimous preseason all-BIG EAST Conference choice in '06, Stasiuk garnered second-team honors as a senior. She was selected to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District V first team for the second consecutive year in '07 and served as team co-captain.
Against Alabama the season, Stasiuk registered the 1,000th kill of her career and in doing so joined 16 other players in the program's history to reach that plateau. She also became only the seventh Notre Dame player ever to register 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career, as Jamie Lee (1994-97) and Angie Harris (1994-97). As a sophomore, she copped honorable mention All-America honors by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) in'05.
VeNard, a defenseman closed out his Notre Dame hockey career by playing a key role both on and off the ice in the team's drive to the NCAA Frozen Four and second-place finish. VeNard served as a team captain and played in all 47 games with career highs in goals (five), assists (eight) and points (13).
During his career, VeNard battled a plethora of injuries but still remained a key component of the Irish hockey program. In March, he was honored by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) with the Terry Flanagan Memorial Award for his commitment to community service, support of campus activities and his strength and resolve in accepting and meeting serious personal challenges. The president of Notre Dame's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), VeNard was named the winner of the hockey team's Charles "Lefty" Smith Coaches Award that is presented to the unsung hero of the hockey program, a player who is unheralded, has overcome adversity and shows loyalty and commitment to his teammates. The award is named in honor of Notre Dame's first hockey coach in the modern era - Charles "Lefty" Smith.
He will graduate with a degree in history and political science from the College of Arts and Letters.
McKinney, a midfielder, goes into the final weekend of the regular season ranked second on the Notre Dame women's lacrosse team in scoring with 38 goals and 22 assists for 60 points in 17 games. Last weekend she was named the BIG EAST midfielder of the year and selected as a unanimous first team all-BIG East selection for the third consecutive year. McKinney is one of 18 nominees for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy that goes to the top Division I women's lacrosse player in the country.
A two-time All-American, McKinney currently ranks third all-time in goals (152), first in assists (77) and second in points (229) during her Notre Dame career. The Irish senior is just one of three players in Notre Dame history to score over 200 points for her career and owns the school record with a 51-game point scoring streak. A team captain this season, McKinney also excels in the classroom. A three-time BIG EAST academic all-star, she was selected to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches' Association's (IWLCA) Academic Honor Roll as a junior and this season was selected as one of Notre Dame's BIG EAST/Aeropostale Scholar-Athlete Award winners.
McKinney is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters and will graduate with a double major in sociology and film, television and theater.
Parbhu has helped Notre Dame compile a 79-31 record over the past four seasons. During that time, the Irish have won three BIG EAST championships and finished among the top 30 in the national rankings every year. Notre Dame advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament in '06 and '07. He has been instrumental in Notre Dame registering 24 victories against top-25 teams.
Parbhu is littered throughout the Notre Dame record book. He ranks fifth all-time at Notre Dame with 121 career victories and fourth in combined wins with 200. He also ranks in the top 10 in both doubles wins and singles dual victories. Parbhu was named an ITA All-American in singles following the '06 season becoming the 16th All-American in school history. He then became the first Notre Dame men's tennis player since 1959 to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championship. Parbhu has competed in the NCAA singles draw each of the last two years. A two-time Notre Dame Most Valuable Player and All-BIG EAST selection, Parbhu is 121-38 over his singles career.
McNamara is a four-year member of the Irish rowing team and has helped the Irish to four consecutive BIG EAST Championships. In '07, she rowed with the varsity four crew that captured the BIG EAST crown and finished 11th at the NCAA Championship. This season, she has been a member of both the varsity four and second varsity four boats that have had great success. Last weekend, her crew won the gold medal in the second varsity four race.
McNamara, a marketing major who will receive her degree from the Mendoza College of Business, was named to the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) National Scholar-Athlete as a junior. She was an active member of the community as well and organized the Sock Drive for the St. Joseph County Medical Center's Outreach Clinic, organized the toiletry drive for the Homeless Shelter and volunteered at Notre Dame ECDC throughout the year. McNamara also participated in the Hematology and Oncology Christmas Party.
Scolaro has played in 16 games during his Fighting Irish career. He has helped Notre Dame to back-to-back Great Western Lacrosse League regular-season titles over the past two seasons. The Irish are also gunning for their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance this spring.
During his career, he has provided versatility to the Irish lineup by playing several different positions. This season, Scolaro has played in a career-high eight games to date and has picked up a career-best seven ground balls for a team that finished the regular season with an 11-2 record. He has been part of a Fighting Irish defensive unit that ranks seventh nationally with a 7.23 goals-against average.
Scolara has been a mentor at the Jefferson Intermediate School throughout the school year and also has participated in Fit For Fun Day with youngsters from the South Bend area. He also participated in the Walk for Diabetes and the annual Christmas party for kids with cancer. Scolaro was one of the chief organizers in the Irish lacrosse team adopting a school (Jefferson Intermediate) to mentor and the end-of-the-year game and party at the school. He will graduate in May with a degree in chemical engineering from the College of Engineering.
The Irish men's lacrosse team completed more than 1,000 hours of community service throughout the year. Their primary focus was serving as mentors at Jefferson Intermediate School in South Bend. The team organized a game and party after the contest, a Christmas Party, helped coordinate Day at ND with Jefferson. The team also participated in Bike For Uganda, Fit For Fun Day at the YMCA and O'Brian Center, reading at LaSalle Elementary School, Walk for Diabetes at Potwatomi Park, Hematology and Oncology Christmas Party and volunteered at South Bend's Center for the Homeless.
Olding will receive her degree in pre-professional studies from the College of Science. She has earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average in five of six semesters and owns a cumulative 3.981 grade index. A two-time All-American in cross country and second team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American, she plans to return to Notre Dame for a fifth year to complete her eligibility.
Mulvaney served as one of three managers for the Irish football. She owns a 3.879 in the College of Arts and Letters.
Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award Winners
Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award Winners
Student-Athlete Certificates of Merit for Participation in Rosenthal Leadership Institute
Brett Adams, Cross Country/Track & Field