North Carolinas Loren Shealy won Sports Illustrateds female College Athlete of the Year award yesterday. The rising junior field hockey player won the award in its first year of existence. Cornell wrestler Kyle Dake was named the male College Athlete of the Year.
She is from Charlotte, N.C., and attended high school at Charlotte Country Day.
Shealy was second on the team with 16 goals and third in points, helping to lead the Tar Heels to a national championship appearance. However, she was equally, if not more, impressive off the field.
In addition to being named an All-ACC Academic, Shealy is the first-ever athlete to become a Robertson Scholar, which allows her to split time between classes at UNC and Duke.
Shealy graduated from Country Day a semester early to enroll at Chapel Hill in January of 2011. One year later, she was one of 18 Carolina students to be awarded the prestigious scholarship. She is majoring in business administration.
Its a challenge, but its very doable, said Shealy of balancing high-level academics and athletics. If it hadnt been for (coaches and teammates) understanding my situation and wanting me to fully participate in the Robertson, I couldnt have done it.
I think one of the biggest things I learned was that hard work and dedication to what youre doing will take you a long way, no matter what youre doing. I just kind of went into it knowing that I had to give everything 100 percent, and thats all I could do, and everything else would fall into place as long as I gave everything my all.
Sports Illustrateds editors and writers picked Shealy over four other finalists: Oregons Liz Brenner (volleyball/basketball), Northwesterns Taylor Thornton (lacrosse), Baylors Brittney Griner (basketball), and LSUs Kimberlyn Duncan (track).