One day after collecting an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, senior sprinter Maryann Erigha was named a second-team <i>ESPN The Magazine</i> Academic All-American&amp;reg; for the first time in her career. <i>(photo by Matt Cashore)</i>

Irish Place Two On ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America Women's Track Team

June 27, 2007

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior Maryann Erigha (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee) and junior Sunni Olding (Minster, Ohio/Minster) have been named to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® Track/Cross Country Second Team, it was announced Wednesday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Both ladies earned the honor for the first time in their college careers, giving Notre Dame 10 Academic All-America® selections during the 2006-07 school year, and 24 Academic All-Americans® in the past two seasons (the best two-year scholastic performance in school history). As an institution, Notre Dame ranks second all-time with 182 Academic All-America® honorees.

Notre Dame also was one of only five schools in the country to have at least two women’s track/cross country Academic All-Americans® in 2007, joining Kansas State, Nebraska and Rhode Island (three each), as well as Charlotte (two). In addition, the Irish were one of five BIG EAST Conference programs represented on this year’s ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® Team, with Connecticut, Louisville and Syracuse having one selection apiece.

This marks the second consecutive year that Notre Dame has fielded multiple Academic All-America® designees in women’s track & field. The Irish women now have had seven athletes selected for Academic All-America® status a total of nine times in program history, with Stacey Cowan (first team) and Stephanie Madia (second team) the most recent honorees in 2006. Other Notre Dame women’s track/cross country Academic All-Americans® have included: Theresa Rice (first team cross country in 1989), Alison Klemmer (third team in 1999; first team in 2000), Lauren King (second team in 2004) and Cowan (third team in 2005).

Voting for the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® Team was conducted by CoSIDA, a 2,000-member organization consisting of sports public relations professionals for colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. To qualify, student-athletes must hold at least sophomore status, own a minimum GPA of 3.2 or better, and be a key contributor on the track for their team.

Erigha (pronounced uh-REE-guh) picks up her second major honor in as many days, having been named a recipient of the prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarship on Tuesday. One of the top sprinters in school history, she qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional in the 200-meter dash each of her four years at Notre Dame, while adding regional qualifications in the 100 meters her final three seasons and racing on two Mideast Regional-qualifying relays (4×100, 4×400) in 2007. In addition, she holds the Irish record for most all-BIG EAST Conference honors (15), as well as indoor (7) and outdoor (8) certificates. The Notre Dame record books are dotted with Erigha’s name, as she owns eight of the top 10 100-meter times and five of the top six 60-meter dash marks in school history.

A two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District choice and multiple Dean’s List honoree, Erigha graduated from the College of Arts and Letters last month with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and computer applications. She also was a member of Notre Dame’s Academic Honors for Student-Athletes program and registered a 3.83 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) during her academic career, with perfect a 4.0 GPA during the spring `06 and spring `07 semesters. In May, she was selected to receive Notre Dame’s most prestigious student-athlete honor, the Byron V. Kanaley Award, which is presented annually to a senior monogram winner who has been exemplary as both a student and leader. Earlier this month, she was a first-team honoree for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award, given each year to undergraduate student-athletes for outstanding achievements in combining academics, athletes and community service.

Olding earned her first Academic All-America® citation after continuing to add to her reputation as one of the top women’s cross country runners in school history. This year, she was named to the All-Great Lakes Region Team and All-BIG EAST Team for the third time, going on to qualify individually for the NCAA Championship. During the `06 cross country season, Olding finished in the top 20 five times in six races (all but the NCAA meet), including a successful defense of her National Catholic Championship, making her only the second woman to be a two-time winner since that meet added a women’s division in 1984.

A two-time cross country All-American (2004 & 2005), she has been just as stellar in the classroom, posting perfect 4.0 GPA marks in five of her six semesters at Notre Dame, and currently owning a 3.98 cumulative GPA while she pursues a science/pre-professional degree from the College of Science. This past season, she earned the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award for women’s cross country, and she garnered certification from the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Leadership Institute.

— ND —