Irish Athletes Honored
Ruth Riley recipient of two major awards.

April 30, 2001

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Ruth Riley (Macy, Ind.), who led the Irish women’s basketball team to the 2001 NCAA title and was the national women’s basketball player-of-the-year, was the recipient of two of the University of Notre Dame Athletic Department’s major awards presented at the seventh annual All-Sports Banquet Monday night at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.

The banquet honored more than 700 student-athletes from its 26 varsity sports with CBS Sports’ Lesley Visser serving as the keynote speaker. The three major athletic awards presented were – The Byron V. Kanaley Awards, The Francis Patrick O’Connor Award and The Chris Zorich Service Award. In addition, a member of each of team was selected from the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award and the Notre Dame National Monogram Club MVP.

Riley was one of four recipients of the Byron V. Kanaley Awards, the most prestigious honors presented to monogram athletes who have been exemplary as both students and athletes. Joining her as Kanaley Award winners were baseball standout Mike Naumann (Tuscon, Ariz.), swimmer Matt Hedden (Westerville, Ohio) and men’s soccer midfielder/defender Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.).

Michelle Dasso

In addition to being one of four Kanaley honorees, Riley also was the winner 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 the community at-large. The award holds the name of Christopher Zorich, a two-time football All-American and 1991 graduate.

Tennis All-American Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) and men’s soccer player Reggie McKnight (Greenville, S.C.) are the winners of this year’s Francis Patrick O’Connor Award. Since 1973, the University has presented this award named fora student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame. Pat O’Connor was the sone 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 student-athlete who best display 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, humilty, honesty, humor, kindness and patience.

Reggie McKnight

Riley distiguished herself in 2000-01 as the best player in women’s college basketball winning nearly every player-of-the-year accolade, including the Associated Press and Naismith awards. The two-time Associated Press All-American was named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Final Four and Midwest Regional. The Irish co-captain became the first KODAK All-American in the history of the women’s basketball program at Notre Dame when she was named to the 10-member squad this season.

In addition, she swept all three major BIG EAST Conference awards and was recognized as the league’s player of the year, defensive player of the year (earning that honor for the third straight year) and women’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year. She also was honored as the BIG EAST”s overall female scholar-athlete award winner.

Riley led the Irish in scoring and rebounding for the third consective in 2000-01 as she averaged 18.7 points and 7.8 rebounds. She is the only player in Notre Dame history to score more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds with career totals of 2,072 and 1,007, respectively.

A two-time first-team Verizon Academic All-American, Riley also was selected as the Women’s Basketball Academic All-American of the Year in 2001. A member of the Academic Honors Program at Notre Dame which pairs gifted student-athletes with a faculty mentor, she has been named to the Dean’s List all seven semesters and owns a 3.648 grade point average.

Coupled with her athletic and academic accomplishments, Riley was been extremely involved with Notre Dame’s Life Skills Program and has been the featured speaker at many local schools within the South Bend community throughout her four years at the school and has participated in many local service projects involving elemetary, middle and high school age students.

Matt Hedden

Hedden, a two-year monogram winner on the men’s swimming and diving team, he served as team co-captain in 2000-01 and helped the Irish to a 7-2 dual meet record. The recipient of the Charles Blanchard award for outstanding contributions in physics, he has the highest cumulative grade points average on the men’s swimming team with a 3.927 grade index in physics. Last October, Hedden traveled to Williamsburg, Va., to present a research paper in physics to the Division of Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society. He was selected by the Division of Nuclear Physics review committee for inclusion in the College Undergraduatte Experience portion of the American Physical Society program. Hedden also was the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Scholar-Athlete award winner for men’s swimming.

Connor LaRose

LaRose, a three-year starter in the midfield for the Irish and a tri-captain of the men’s soccer team in 2000, collected three goals and dished off seven assists during his career. Enrolled as a pre-professional major with a second major in ecomomics, he has been named to the Dean’s List on four occasions and owns a cumulative grade point average of 3.449. He earned his first 4.00 grade index perfect 4.00 grade index following the 2000 fall semester and has been a three-time member of the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team. LaRose also was a third-team selection to the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete squad.

Naumann, a three-year monogram winner, is a member of Notre Dame’s pitching rotation that leads the nation with a 2.51 earned run average. The only left-handed pitcher on the Irish roster, he has a 3-1 record this season and overall 10-2 career mark. He has helped the Irish to the No. 1 ranking in this season as his team has compiled a 40-6-1 record.

Mike Naumann

Naumann owns a 3.92 overall grade point average and has earned a perfect 4.00 grade index on three occasions. He was Notre Dame’s male scholar-athlete nominee for the annual BIG EAST Conference award and has been named to the league’s Academic All-Star squad three times.

McKnight, a four-year monogram winner, started 29 of the 66 games for the Irish men’s soccer team, and scored five goals, while dishing off seven assists. A member of the Academic Honors Program and a Dean’s List student, he is an American Studies major with a 3.463 grade point average. McKight has been extensively involved in Notre Dame’s Life Skills Program and participated in the NCAA Foundation Leadership Conference in May of 1999. A three-time member of the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team, he earned the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete award as a junior.

2001 Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley
Rockne Student-Athlete Award Winners:

Baseball Mike Naumann (Tuscon, Ariz.)
Men’s Basketball Martin Ingelsby (Berwyn, Pa.)
Women’s Basketball Ruth Riley (Macy, Ind.)
Men’s Fencing George Viamontes (Chesterfield, Mo.)
Women’s Fencing Mary Beth Willard (Bethel Park, Pa.)
Football Adam Tibble (Northville, Mich.)
Men’s Golf Steve Ratay (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
Women’s Golf Lauren Fuchs (Louisville, Ky.)
Hockey Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.)
Women’s Lacrosse Carrie Marshall (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Rowing Leah Ashe (Orchard Park, N.Y.)
Men’s Soccer Andreas Forstner (Gerlinden, Germany)
Women’s Soccer Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbell, Conn.)
Softball Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.)
Men’s Swimming Matt Hedden (Westerville, Ohio)
Women’s Swimming Jessica Johnstone (Redmond, Wash.)
Men’s Cross Country Pat Conway (Springfield, Va.)
Women’s Cross Country Chrissy Kuenster (Wheaton, Ill.)
Men’s Track and Field Josh Heck (Mishawaka, Ind.)
Women’s Track and Field Tameisha King (Mableton, Ga.)
Men’s Tennis Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.)
Women’s Tennis Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.)
Volleyball Christi Girton (Muncie, Ind.)

2001 Notre Dame National Monogram Club
MVP Award Winners:

Baseball Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.)
Alec Porzel (Lisle, Ill.)
Men’s Basketball Troy Murphy (Morristown, N.J.)
Women’s Basketball Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.)
Ruth Riley (Macy, Ind.)
Men’s Fencing Jan Viviani (Haworth, N.J.)
Women’s Fencing Meagan Call (Eugene, Ore.)
Football Anthony Denman (Rusk, Texas)
Men’s Golf Alex Kent (Lambare, Paraguay)
Women’s Golf Shane Smith (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Hockey Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.)
Women’s Lacrosse Lael O’Shaughnessy(Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Men’s Soccer Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.)
Women’s Soccer Anne Makinen (Helsinki, Finland)
Men’s Swimming Jonathan Pierce (Newburgh, Ind.)
Women’s Swimming Luke Watson (Kelly Hecking, Rutherford, N.J.)
Men’s Cross Country Luke Watson (Stillwater, Minn.)
Women’s Cross Country Chrissy Kuenster (Wheaton, Ill.)
Men’s Track and Field Ryan Shay (Central Lake, Mich.)
Women’s Track and Field Liz Grow (New Braunfels, Texas)
Men’s Tennis Aaron Talarico (Laguna Beach, Calif.)
Casey Smith (Leawood, Kan.)
Women’s Tennis Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.)
Volleyball Denise Boylan (Lisle, Ill.)