Feb. 5, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Seniors Cosmina Ciobanu (women's tennis) and John Lytle (men's swimming) each earned the BIG EAST Conference Scholar-Athlete Award as the institutional representatives for the University of Notre Dame, announced this week by the league. As the recipients of the league honor, both Ciobanu and Lytle will receive a $2,000 scholarship towards graduate studies.
The BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Award is one of a number of scholarships presented by the BIG EAST Conference during the 2009-10 academic year. Thirty-two student-athletes (one male and one female from each of the BIG EAST's 16 member institutions) receive postgraduate scholarships as the winners of their respective institutions' Scholar-Athlete Awards. The conference also names male and female Basketball Scholar-Athletes of the Year and a Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Ciobanu has had a stellar career at Notre Dame both on and off the court. The Brea, Calif., native earned all-BIG EAST honors in 2009 and was named to the conference all-tournament team for both singles and doubles in 2008, helping the Irish win BIG EAST Conference Championships in both seasons. A three-time NCAA team participant, Ciobanu led the Irish to an NCAA quarterfinal appearance in 2007 and an NCAA semifinal performance in 2009, the highest finish in program history.
The winner of the 2009 St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete award, Ciobanu holds an overall singles record of 91-30 and a 95-27 mark in doubles action. A mainstay in the Irish lineup for the past three seasons, Ciobanu has career-high Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings of 31st (singles) and 39th (doubles) and set Notre Dame's single-season dual-match winning percentage record with a 26-1 singles mark in 2007.
The daughter of Calin and Camelia Ciobanu, she has been a regular on the Dean's List at Notre Dame, earning the honor four of the past six semesters, as a double major in science pre-professional studies and anthropology with a 3.857 grade-point average. She is a member of the Notre Dame's Academic Honors Program and has been named an ITA Scholar Athlete and BIG EAST Academic All-Star for the past three years.
Ciobanu also is very active in the community, volunteering with the Fighting Irish Fight For Life program benefitting youth cancer patients and interning with Dr. Daniel Danahey at the Michiana Eye Center.
Lytle is one of the most decorated swimmers in Notre Dame history as the Clearfield, Pa., native boasts a program-best four BIG EAST titles and 16 total all-BIG EAST honors. Lytle copped the 200 free title in 2009 while his three BIG EAST relay titles established the Notre Dame record. In all, Lytle has a hand in seven school records, including the 50, 100 and 200 free. The sprinter was also part of the 400 free relay squad that upset Louisville to win the 2009 BIG EAST title in one of the most dramatic races in Irish history.
He has led the Irish two a pair of BIG EAST team titles (2008 and 2009) and a runner-up finish in 2007.
The son of Ruth and Michael Lytle, he has been a staple on the Dean's List at Notre Dame (fall 2007, spring 2008, fall 2008 and spring 2009) as a finance major enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business with a 3.63 grade-point average. Lytle has earned All-Academic Honorable Mention from the College Swimming Coaches Association in 2008 and 2009 for his efforts in the classroom. He has also been involved in the Notre Dame Rosenthal Leadership Academy (2009-2010), the Notre Dame Academic Honors Program (2008- 2010) and the Student-Athlete Leadership Institute (2008).
Lytle is very active in the campus and local community, participating in the South Bend / Notre Dame Community Day in 2008 and 2009, South Bend Food Drive, South Bend YMCA "Fit for Kids" program, and Notre Dame's pediatric hematology/oncology Christmas party.
Seven individuals from Notre Dame have received the prestigious BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award (including three from women's soccer), awarded annually to one men's and one women's performer from one of the conference's schools:
1997 - Jen Renola, Soccer
1998 - Errol Williams, Track & Field (hurdles)
1998 - Pat Garrity, Men's Basketball
2000 - Jenny Streiffer, Soccer
2001 - Ruth Riley, Basketball
2002 - Jarrah Myers, Softball
2004 - Vanessa Pruzinsky, Soccer