Anna Kottkamp

Irish Trio Garners NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships

July 23, 2015

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A three-time Academic All-American, a University of Notre Dame valedictorian, and a national champion with Olympic dreams — Ashley Armstrong, Anna Kottkamp and Emma Reaney have stamped their names in Fighting Irish history with a stellar list of accomplishments in both the academic and athletic arenas. This remarkable Notre Dame trio also now has a common link to carry them into the future as recipients of an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

Armstrong, Kottkamp and Reaney received word recently they had earned one of the NCAA’s most prestigious honors, a $7,500 one-time, non-renewable educational grant. The NCAA annually awards 174 postgraduate scholarships to 87 men and 87 women for fall, winter and spring sports.

To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must be nominated by his or her athletic department, have an overall grade-point average of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent, and must have performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which he or she was nominated. The student-athlete also must have behaved, both on and off the field, in a manner that has brought credit to the student-athlete, the institution and intercollegiate athletics. The student-athlete must intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a full-time or part-time graduate student.

Notre Dame now has produced 56 NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipients, including 12 in the past seven years. This year’s trio of honorees is one shy of the school record for NCAA postgraduate scholarship selections in an academic year, set in 2009.

Armstrong is the first Fighting Irish golfer to earn an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, while Kottkamp is the second Notre Dame rower to receive the honor, following Lauren Buck in 2009. Reaney is the third Fighting Irish women’s swimmer to garner an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, and the second in three years, joining Jeannine Blatt (1982) and Kim Holden (2013) in that elite company.

Armstrong (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) graduated from Notre Dame’s College of Engineering in May with her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a sharp 3.90 cumulative GPA. The two-time Fighting Irish captain also was a three-time Capital One Academic All-America selection (just the 11th three-time honoree in Notre Dame athletics history and first women’s golfer), and received both an Atlantic Coast Conference postgraduate scholarship and Notre Dame’s Byron V. Kanaley Award (the highest honor awarded to a graduating Fighting Irish student-athlete) in 2015, becoming the first women’s golfer to receive the ACC scholarship and the second Kanaley award winner in program history.

On the course, Armstrong completed her Notre Dame career with a 74.98 stroke average, the third-lowest mark in school history. She also carded a career-low 74.10 season stroke average (fourth in the school’s record book and 13th in the ACC) in 2014-15 and posted four top-10 finishes while tying for team-high honors with seven rounds under par, including a team-best four rounds in the 60s.

Kottkamp (Wenatchee, Wash./Wenatchee) became the first Notre Dame student-athlete to be named valedictorian after graduating with a perfect 4.00 grade-point average. She also was the third Notre Dame rower to earn Academic All-America honors and the first to earn first-team accolades, doing so earlier this year. Kottkamp graduated from Notre Dame’s College of Science with her bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and a minor in international studies.

In April, Kottkamp received both the Kanaley Award and the Top Gun Award, the latter given to the graduating Fighting Irish student-athlete with the highest grade-point average.

A two-time recipient of the NCAA Elite 89 Award in 2014 and 2015, Kottkamp led Notre Dame to four consecutive NCAA Championships and rowed exclusively with the Fighting Irish varsity eight boat the past three seasons. In 2014, she helped Notre Dame to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championship, matching a program best, and earned the ACC Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Kottkamp also guided the Fighting Irish to runner-up finishes at the ACC Championship the past two years, as well as BIG EAST Conference team titles in 2012 and 2013, rowing on crews that won two gold medals in the latter two regattas.

A standout in and out of the pool during her record-setting Notre Dame career, Reaney (Lawrence, Kan./Lawrence) graduated from the University’s College of Arts and Letters in May, carrying a 3.6 grade-point average while receiving her bachelor’s degree in design and a minor in business economics.

Reaney earned the last of her eight All-America honors in March with top-eight finishes in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley at the NCAA Championships. She also earned a bronze medal in the 50-meter breaststroke back on July 10 at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea.

Reaney is the American record holder in the 200-yard breaststroke with a winning time of 2:04.06 at the 2014 NCAA Championships. Along with her eight All-America honors, Reaney collected five honorable mention All-America citations. She also was a two-time Capital One Academic At-Large All-America selection, as well as a three-time Scholar All-America choice by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, and she earned the 2013-14 ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

— Chris Masters, Athletics Communications Associate Director