May 2, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior fencing standout Rachel Cota (Altadena, Calif.) was selected as the 2008 recipient of the Ray Siegfried Award for Leadership Excellence, the University announced Friday. Cota was presented with her award at an on-campus banquet last month.
Established in 2006 in memory of the alumnus and University Trustee, the Siegfried Award recognizes a Notre Dame senior who exemplifies the qualities for which Siegfried was known, including leadership, generosity, devotion to the Catholic faith and participation in athletic programs.
The captain of Notre Dame’s women’s fencing team and an active member of her residence hall community, Cota’s service activities include trips to the West African nation of Benin to work with children in the village of Adourekoman for whom, upon her return to campus, she created peer-to-peer links with other children at South Bend’s Christ the King School.
On the fencing strip, 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.
The Siegfried Award is one of two major University honors Cota has received in the past month. Earlier this week, she was one of five selected to receive the Byron V. Kanaley Award, which is the highest honor bestowed upon a Notre Dame student-athlete. It recognizes those senior monogram athletes who are exceptional students and leaders.
Cota will graduate later this month with a double major in theology and anthropology from the College of Arts and Letters.
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