Senior Greg Andrews

Irish Boast Five BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award Recipients

June 20, 2013

Providence, R.I. – The BIG EAST Conference on Thursday announced the 24 winners of the 2012-13 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards, which recognize academic and athletic achievement, as well as, community service, and Notre Dame’s Greg Andrews (Men’s Tennis), Alexa Aragon (Women’s Outdoor Track and Field), Kim Holden (Women’s Swimming and Diving), Jennifer Kellner (Women’s Tennis) and Abby Meyers (Rowing) all received the honor.

The Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards are given to one student-athlete in each BIG EAST-sponsored sport based on academic credentials, athletic accolades or performances and volunteer service to the community. Student-athletes who have attained junior academic standing and a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 are eligible. The winners were chosen by the BIG EAST Faculty Athletics Representative Council.

The five honorees equal the most ever for Notre Dame and marks the third time that the Irish have had five honorees since the award started. The five athletes selected are the most among all BIG EAST schools for the 2012-13 season with Louisville finishing second with four while Marquette, Seton Hall and Villanova each had three athletes selected.

Greg Andrews – Men’s Tennis Junior – Richland, Mich./Gull Lake H.S.

Andrews, who recently completed his junior year and sports a 3.867 in accounting from the Mendoza College of Business, has been a model student-athlete for head coach Bobby Bayliss throughout his career in the program. The Richland, Mich., native has appeared on the Dean’s List all six semesters he has been at Notre Dame and has been named a BIG EAST Academic All-Star twice with the 2012-13 list still yet to be released. For his efforts in the classroom, Andrews was recently named a first team Capital One Academic All-America® Division I At-Large selection after earning Capital One Academic All-District V first team honors in May.

On the court, Andrews is a two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year (2012 and 2013) honoree and helped lead the Irish to this year’s BIG EAST men’s tennis crown after going 18-7 at the No. 1 singles spot during the spring season and 26-13 overall for the year. Named the Most Outstanding Player at this year’s BIG EAST Championship, Andrews and his Irish teammates have qualified for the NCAA Championship in each of his three seasons. Andrews recently advanced to the round of 32 at the NCAA Singles Championship, his best showing in his two years competing at the event.

Women’s track All-American Alexa Aragon earned one of five BIG EAST Sports Excellence Awards from the BIG EAST.

Andrews was the first Notre Dame men’s tennis player to earn first team Capital One Academic All-America honors in program history and only the third overall, joining Andy Zurcher (3rd-1994) and Tyler Davis (2nd-2011).

Alexa Aragon – Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Junior – Middle Distance – Billings, Mont./Billings Senior H.S.

Aragon has been a standout for the Irish on the track and in the classroom as the junior recently earned first team All-America honors in the 3,000m steeplechase after finishing eighth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Aragon booked her place at the NCAAs by taking fifth at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. At this year’s BIG EAST Outdoor Championships the Billings, Mont., native earned a pair of all-BIG EAST honors after winning the 3,000m steeplechase and taking second in the 4x800m relay.

During the indoor season Aragon earned first team All-America accolades after helping the distance medley relay team take seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships. At the BIG EAST Indoor Championships, she placed third in the distance medley relay and eighth in the 3,000m run.

In cross country, Aragon ran for the Irish at the NCAA Championships after earning all-region accolades with a 23rd place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. In the classroom, she boasts a 3.221 GPA in pre-professional studies from the College of Science while participating in community service. Last year during spring break she went to Mexico and volunteered with the Smile Network, which works to repair children’s cleft lips and palates.

Senior swimmer Kim Holden, who won 11 all-BIG EAST honors during her Notre Dame career, was honored by the BIG EAST with a 2013 Sports Excellence Award.

Kim Holden – Women’s Swimming and Diving Senior – Mount Kisco, N.Y./Fox Lane H.S.

Holden proved to be a standout in the classroom and in the pool during her Irish career, recently earning a prestigious $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for her strong work in all aspects of being a student-athlete.

She finished up a sensational career with a pair of Honorable Mention All-America citations (200 back, 400 medley relay) in March at the NCAA Championships. For her career Holden raked in 11 BIG EAST titles (T-4th in school history) and 22 all-BIG EAST scrolls (fourth in school history). The Mount Kisco, N.Y., native appeared in two NCAA Championship meets, and overcame double shoulder surgery before her junior season to have an outstanding senior campaign.

In February Holden earned a $2,000 postgraduate scholarship from the BIG EAST after she was Notre Dame’s female winner of the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Scholarship.

In the classroom, Holden finished with a 3.829 GPA entering her final semester at Notre Dame and is set to graduate with a degree in psychology and a supplementary degree in Spanish from the College of Arts & Letters. The Mount Kisco, N.Y., native appeared on the Dean’s List in six out of her eight semesters at Notre Dame.

Junior Jennifer Kellner, a two-time all-BIG EAST selection, helped the Irish to their sixth consecutive BIG EAST women’s championship this season. She is one of five BIG EAST Sports Excellence Award winners for the 2012-13 season.

Since arriving on campus in the fall of 2009 Holden has been named the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph County Knute Rockne Student-Athlete award winner for women’s swimming and diving three times and was once named the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP for women’s swimming and diving.

Jennifer Kellner – Women’s Tennis Junior – Smithtown, N.Y./Happauge H.S.

Kellner earned her second career selection to the all-BIG EAST team after posting an 18-13 (16-10 in dual matches) singles record and a 22-10 (16-9 dual) mark in doubles play as a junior in 2012-13. Kellner won six of her final nine singles contests during the season to lead Notre Dame to its sixth consecutive BIG EAST Championship title. She received BIG EAST Player of the Week accolades for the third time in her career during the week of January 22.

The Smithtown, N.Y. native will enter her senior season as the active Notre Dame leader in singles (69) and doubles (67) victories. A three-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star selection, Kellner was also tabbed as the women’s tennis recipient of the 2013 Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete award, and is pursuing a degree in accounting from the renowned Mendoza College of Business.

Off the court, Kellner has participated in a number of community service initiatives as a member of the Irish women’s tennis team. She has assisted with the Notre Dame Pediatric Christmas Party for the past three years, and has also been involved with the Fighting Irish Fight for Life, the Aidan Project, the Bald & Beautiful, the JDRF Walk and Adopt a Family.

Senior Abby Meyers served as coxswain of the Notre Dame varsity eight boat in each of the last three seasons, helping the Irish to three consecutive BIG EAST titles. She is one of five Notre Dame student-athletes to receive the BIG EAST Sports Excellence Award for the 2012-13 season.

Abby Meyers – Rowing Senior – Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne H.S.

Meyers served as the coxswain of the Notre Dame varsity eight boat in each of the past three seasons, leading the crew to a repeat victory in the grand final of the first varsity eight at the 2013 BIG EAST Championship. The Irish launch logged a time of 6:49.656 to help Notre Dame score a race-record 151 team points and clinch the program’s 10th consecutive BIG EAST Championship. The Irish eight boat went on to win the third final at the 2013 NCAA Championship, aiding Notre Dame to a 13th-place overall finish.

Meyers was named to the 2013 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Central All-Region team, and was a three-time CRCA National Scholar-Athlete (2011-13). A four-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star selection, Meyers graduated from the College of Arts and Letters with a double major in economics and mathematics.