First Annual O.S.C.A.R.S. Held Monday At The Joyce Center
More than 750 Notre Dame student-athletes honored.

April 29, 2002

The first annual O.S.C.A.R.S. (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements and Recognition Showcase) was held Monday at the Joyce Center Arena honoring the more than 750 student-athletes who participated on the University of Notre Dame’s athletic teams during the 2001-02 school year.

The presentation of the school’s three major athletic awards – The Byron V. Kanaley Award, The Francis Patrick O’Connor Award and The Christopher Zorich Service Award – highlighted the evening’s festivities which included artistic performances by several student-athletes throughout the evening. A member of each team was selected for the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award and the Notre Dame National Monogram Club MVP Award.

In addition, certificates were presented to 22 student-athletes and two student managers who participated in the first annual Rosenthal Student-Athlete Leadership Institute.

Swimmer Mike Koss (Aurora, Colo.), golfer Steve Ratay (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and tennis player Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) are the recipients of the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to senior athletes.

The Kanaley Award has been presented 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 Byron V. Kanaley, a 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the Irish baseball team as an undergraduate. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee from 1915 until his death in 1960.

Football captain Grant Irons (The Woodlands, Texas) and All-America swimmer Carrie Nixon (Ouray, Colo.) are the recipients of the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award. Since 1973, 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 in football for Notre Dame in the 1940’s.

The award honors one female and one male senior student-athlete who best displays 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 himself – caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience.

Senior Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich.) is the recipient of The Christopher Zorich Award, which was first presented in 1998. It was created to recognize the contributions of Notre Dame student-athletes to the University and community at-large. The award holds the name of Christopher Zorich, a two-time football All-American and 1991 graduate.

Mike Koss

Koss becomes the sixth recipient from the men’s swimming and diving team to earn the Kanaley Award, and the third in the last three years (2000, ’01 and ’02). A four-year monogram winner as a breaststroke and freestyle specialist, he served as one of two Irish captains during the 2001-02 season.

A seven-time Dean’s List honoree with an overall grade-point average of 3.678, he received the Charles Blanchard Award in 2002 which is given annually to the swimmer or diver who by performance, inspiration and leadershership has exemplified the personal qualities of former Notre Dame swimmer and Irish captain Charles W. Blanchard (1962-64). He also was selected as the BIG EAST Male Scholar-Athlete from Notre Dame this year.

Koss traveled to Osaka, Japan in October of 2001 to present a paper to the Research Center for Nuclear Physics. He will receive his bachelor’s degree in physics from the College of Science this spring.

Steve Ratay

Ratay, a third-team Verizon Academic All-American on the Spring Men’s At-Large team in 2001, averaged 73.03 over 32 rounds in 2001-02 to set the Notre Dame record for single-season average, eclipsing the mark established by Joe Grace in 1955-56. He finished second on the career average chart with a 74.46 average, just .03 off the school record of 74.43. The two-time Irish captain also tied school records for tournaments played (38) and rounds played (105).

Ratay, the 2001 BIG EAST medalist, finished as the runner-up in 2002 while leading his squad to a second-place finish. A Dean’s List student all seven semesters at Notre Dame, he owns a 3.820 grade-point average and will graduate in May with a degree in computer science from the College of Engineering.

Nina Vaughan

Vaughan stands 11th on the all-time career singles wins list (53) in dual matches and occupies the same spot in career doubles dual-match victories. Ranked as high as 61st nationally this season, she registered two ranked wins (both in the top 30 nationally) and played a key role in Notre Dame’s upset win over seventh-ranked USC as she won both her singles and doubles matches.

The fifth women’s tennis player to receive the Kanaley Award, Vaughan became just the 10th player in the program’s history to record 95 combined (53 singles, 42 doubles) dual-match victories.

Enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business, she will graduate in May with a degree in accounting. Vaughan has a 3.567 grade index and has been named to the Dean’s List in each of the last five semesters. She has posted a 3.800 grade point average on three occasions, including a 4.00 semester in the fall of 2000.

Irons finished his career as a five-time monogram winner, one of only five Irish football players to achieve that distinction. He is one of just 13 former players to serve as a two-time captain. Irons played in 46 games during his Irish career and made 26 starts while recording 142 tackles

A former president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, Irons was involved in numerous community service programs at Notre Dame and in the surrounding South Bend community. He graduated with a degree in management information systems from the Mendoza College of Business in May of 2001 and is pursuing his master’s degree in business management. Irons recently signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills.

Nixon ranks as the most decorated women’s swimmer in Notre Dame history as the holder of six school and four BIG EAST Conference marks. She earned 12 All-America or honorable mention All-America finishes during her career with two top-seven finishes in the 50 freestyle (fourth in 2000 and seventh in 2002). Nixon missed the 2000-01 campaign following shoulder surgery, but came back in 2001-02 to win her third BIG EAST title in the 50 freestyle. She won 18 BIG EAST titles during her career, the second most in Conference history, and participated on five teams which claimed league crowns.

During her five years at Notre Dame, she participated in numerous service and leadership programs and served this past school year as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. In addition, Nixon was a group leader for the Freshman Orientation Programs in the fall of ’00 and ’01. She is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters with majors in computer applications, athropology and pre-professional studies.

Sarkesian is the first women’s soccer player to receive The Zorich Award. A second-team all-BIG EAST selection in 2001, the Irish co-captain ranked second on the team in scoring with 18 points (6 goals, 6 assists), including game-winning goals versus fifth-ranked Nebraska and No. 19 West Virgina. She helped Notre Dame compile an 82-8-4 record during her four-year career from 1998-2001, while playing in 91 career games, making 62 starts and scoring 15 goals.

A Dean’s List student and a member of the Verizon Women’s Soccer District V All-Academic team, Sarkesian has been active in many programs on the Notre Dame campus and in the South Bend community including: the James Madison Elementary First Grade Program, the Dickinson Middle School Girls Soccer Team Kickoff, Celebrity Elementary School reader, the Robinson Center Mentor Program, the Red Cross Donation Drive, the Memorial Hospital Pediatric Oncology Bowling Night, the H.U.G.S. Program at Memorial Hospital and the Student-Athletic Advisory Council Christmas Party for children with cancer at Memorial Hospital. She will graduate in May from the College of Arts and Letters with a double major in psychology and anthropology.

The Rosenthal Student-Athlete Leadership Institute was made possible by the generosity of Richard (Dick) Rosenthal, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University in 1954. An All-American on the men’s basketball team, he served as Notre Dame’s director of athletics from 1987-95.

The Institute, which opened in January of 2002, provides opportunities for leadership development and lifelong learning for select student-athletes at Notre Dame.

2002 Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley
Rockne Student-Athlete Award Winners:

  • Baseball – Andrew Bushey
  • Men’s Basketball – Charles Thomas
  • Women’s Basketball – Karen Swanson
  • Men’s Cross Country – Ryan Shay
  • Men’s Fencing – Neal Salisian
  • Women’s Fencing – Carianne McCullough
  • Football – John Crowther
  • Men’s Golf – Chris Whitten
  • Women’s Golf – Lauren Fuchs
  • Hockey T.J. – Mathieson
  • Rowing – Katherine Burnett
  • Men’s Soccer – Andreas Forstner
  • Women’s Soccer – Vanessa Pruzinsky
  • Softball – Jarrah Myers
  • Men’s Swimming and Diving – Mike Koss
  • Women’s Swimmng and Diving – Brooke Davey
  • Men’s Track and Field – Luke Watson
  • Women’s Track and Field – Jamie Volkmer
  • Men’s Tennis – Luis Haddock-Morales
  • Women’s Tennis – Nina Vaughan
  • Volleyball – Keara Coughlin

    2002 Notre Dame National Monogram Club
    MVP Award Winners:

  • Baseball – Steve Stanley
  • Men’s Basketball – Ryan Humphrey
  • Women’s Basketball – Jacqueline Batteast and Alicia Ratay
  • Men’s Cross Country – Luke Watson
  • Men’s Fencing – Andre Crompton and Jan Viviani
  • Women’s Fencing – Alicja Kryczalo
  • Football – Anthony Weaver
  • Men’s Golf – Steve Ratay
  • Women’s Golf – Karen Lotta
  • Hockey – Connor Dunlop
  • Men’s Soccer – Griffin Howard
  • Women’s Soccer – Monica Gonzalez
  • Men’s Swimming and Diving – Jonathan Pierce
  • Women’s Swimmng and Diving – Carrie Nixon
  • Men’s Track and Field – Ryan Shay
  • Women’s Track and Field – Liz Grow
  • Men’s Tennis – Javier Taborga
  • Women’s Tennis – Alicia Salas
  • Volleyball – Malinda Goralski

    Note: Softball has yet to determine its MVP award. Women’s lacrosse has yet to select its two award winners. Men’s Lacrosse annually does not select winners for either of the two awards, while Rowing does not name an MVP. Women’s Cross Country did not name winners for either of the awards in 2001.

    Rosenthal Student-Athlete Leadership Institute Certificates of Merit:

  • Kris Billmaier – Baseball
  • Marci Bomhack – Volleyball
  • Andrew Bushey – Baseball
  • Jocelyn Cerrito – Cheerleading
  • Chris Fallon – Men’s Lacrosse
  • Jason Fitzpatrick – Men’s Swimming
  • Lauren Fuchs – Women’s Golf
  • J.P. Gagne – Baseball
  • Joey Hildbold – Football
  • John Hudson – Swimming
  • Jessica Kinder – Volleyball
  • Kristen Kinder – Volleyball
  • Kathryn Lam – Women’s Lacrosse
  • Andrea Loman – Softball
  • Alexis Madrid – Softball
  • Andy Maggio – Baseball
  • Carrie Nixon – Women’s Swimming
  • Quillean Redwine – Men’s Track & Field
  • Rebecca Rogers – Women’s Golf
  • Randi Scheller – Women’s Soccer
  • Jeff Simko – Manager
  • Steve Sollmann – Baseball
  • Steve Stanley – Baseball
  • Greg Weber – Manager