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Four Irish Honored with ACC Postgraduate Scholarships

NOTRE DAME, Indiana —  The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Friday four Irish student-athletes have been selected as 2020 Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship Award recipients.

Football’s Chris Finke, Softball’s Katie Marino, Women’s Tennis’ Zoe Spence and Volleyball’s Jemma Yeadon performed with distinction in both the classroom and their respective sports, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community. Each recipient will receive $6,000 toward his or her graduate education, following completion of their undergraduate requirements.

Spence is one of eight student-athletes who will also receive the Thacker Award, honoring those who plan to pursue professional careers in their chosen sports.

After joining the Irish as a walk-on in the 2015 season, Finke earned a scholarship in his sophomore season. His senior year began with a touchdown in the season-opening win over No. 14 Michigan in 2018 and he played in all 13 games. After earning his undergraduate degree in Finance, Finke returned for another season to complete his Master of Science in Finance and was named a team captain. 

He finished the season second among Irish receivers with 456 receiving yards on 31 catches with 4 touchdowns. He concluded his Notre Dame career with 106 receptions for 1,251 yards and eight touchdowns, while also ranking among the program’s all-time top-10 in punt return yards. He will vie for a spot in the NFL at this month’s Combine.

Marino, named a team captain for the 2020 season, enters her senior season named to the Preseason All-ACC team and one of 30 NCAA Softball candidates for the 2020 Senior CLASS Award. In 2019, she was named to the NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region First Team and All-ACC Second Team. Marino ranked third in the ACC in runs scored (63) and in walks (41) and fifth in on-base percentage (.497).  Her 1.19 runs per game led the ACC and ranked fifth in the country. 

As a freshman, she led all Irish fielders with 110 assists at second base, the most by a primary Notre Dame second baseman since 2008. A science-business major and sociology minor, Marino has earned NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete honors for each of her three completed seasons. She was named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll in 2017 and 2018, and in 2017, was named to the ACC All-Academic team.

The 2018 Monogram Club Team MVP, Spence finished her junior season ranked No. 74 in the ITA’s singles rankings. She Defeated four nationally-ranked singles opponents, including a pair of top-10 foes.

The ITA Midwest Rookie of the Year in 2017 has earned a number of academic accolades in her career, including ITA Scholar-Athlete, ITA All-Academic Team and All-ACC Academic Team awards. She is currently earning her degrees in Political Science and Film, Television and Theatre.

Yeadon, a team captain in 2020, closed her career as a member of the Irish 1,000-kill club despite missing her senior campaign due to injury. Yeadon amassed 1,043 career kills in three seasons, including a career-high 453 in 2017 that stands as the seventh most in a single season in program history. 

A two-time All-ACC Second Team honoree, Yeadon owns the program record for consecutive matches with 10+ kills as she hit the threshold in 25 consecutive outings from November 9, 2016 to October 22, 2017. The Mercer Island, Washington, native closed her career tied for third in Irish history with an average of 3.44 kills per set.

The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award is named in honor of the late Jim Weaver, Bob James, and Gene Corrigan, the first three ACC commissioners. The league’s first commissioner, James H. Weaver, served the conference from 1954-70 after a stint as the Director of Athletics at Wake Forest University. His early leadership and uncompromising integrity are largely responsible for the excellent reputation enjoyed by the ACC today.

Robert C. James, a former University of Maryland football player, was named commissioner in 1971 and served in that capacity for 16 years. During his tenure, the league continued to grow in stature and became recognized as a national leader in athletics and academics, winning 23 national championships and maintaining standards of excellence in the classroom.

Eugene F. Corrigan assumed his role as the third full-time commissioner on September 1, 1987, and served until August of 1997. During Corrigan’s tenure, ACC schools captured 30 NCAA championships and two national football titles. Corrigan also served as Notre Dame’s seventh director of athletics.

The Thacker Award, which originated in 2005, is awarded in honor of the late Jim and Pat Thacker of Charlotte, North Carolina. Jim Thacker was the primary play-by-play announcer for the ACC’s first television network. Recipients of the award must demonstrate outstanding performance both in athletic competition and in the classroom and intend to further their education through postgraduate studies at an ACC institution.