May 1, 2013

Notre Dame, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame Department of Athletics held its annual O.S.C.A.R.S. (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements & Recognition Showcase) on Wednesday evening, May 1, inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. This year marked the 12th annual event for the traditional year-end gala honoring more than 730 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2012-13 campaign.

The presentation of three major athletic awards — the Byron V. Kanaley, the Christopher Zorich Award and the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award — highlighted the evening’s celebration, while the Top Gun Award and Chuck Linster Award (for the highest grade-point averages by graduating senior athletes and athletics student support staff, respectively), also were presented in conjunction with the Notre Dame Office of Academic Services for Student-Athletes. In addition, a member of each team was selected for the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award and the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award.

The Notre Dame Monogram also presented its postgraduate scholarship awards to a male and female student-athlete for the second consecutive year. Each of the winners received a one-time non-renewable grant of $5,000 to further their educations.

Skylar Diggins – Kanaley Award Winner

Several team awards also were handed out during the evening — The Trophy Award (recognizing excellence in community service) was shared by the both the Irish softball and cheerleading programs as they combined for just under 1,900 hours of community service both on campus and in the South Bend-Michiana region. The award for the highest GPA went to the Irish women’s golf team for the spring 2012 semester with a 3.776 grade index and the women’s cross country team earned the award for the fall 2012 semester with a 3.487 GPA. The women’s golf team earned the award for the highest overall GPA for the spring ’12 and fall ’12 with a 3.616 overall combined average. The women’s golf team has posted the highest GPA for a least one semester among the 26 Notre Dame athletic teams for four consecutive years.

Notre Dame’s top honor, the Byron V. Kanaley Award was awarded to six graduating seniors – women’s basketball All-American Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind.), women’s cross country/track and field standout Rebecca Tracy (Barrington, Ill.), men’s soccer player Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas), football All-American Manti Te’o (Laie, Hawaii), women’s swimming All-American Kim Holden (Mt. Kisco, N.Y.) and hockey goaltender Mike Johnson (Verona, Wisc.).

Manti Te’o – Kanaley Award Winner

The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, has been given annually since 1926 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 the 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the baseball team as an undergraduate. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee until his death in 1960.

The recipients of the Christopher Zorich Award were football player Mike Golic, Jr. (West Hartford, Conn.), women’s lacrosse player Molly Shawhan (Fulton, Md.) and men’s tennis player Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla.). First presented in 1998, the Zorich Award was created to recognize contributions of Notre Dame student athletes to the University and community at-large. The award bears the name of two-time Fighting Irish All-American and 1991 graduate who went on to play in the National Football League for both the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins before receiving his law degree from Notre Dame in 2002.

Senior football standout Kapron Lewis-Moore (Weatherford, Texas) and senior women’s tennis player Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) were the recipients of the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award. Since 1993, 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 for the Notre Dame football team in the 1940s.

Dillon Powers – Kanaley Award winner

The O’Connor Award honors male and female student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions to their respective teams. To be considered, student-athletes must possess those qualities attributed to Pat O’Connor: caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience.

The Notre Dame Monogram Club awarded postgraduate scholarships two senior Monogram winners, women’s rower Meghan Salomon (Cincinnati, Ohio) and men’s track and field performer Dean Odegard (St. Louis, Mo.).

Mike Johnson – Kanaley Award winner

Two teams – the women’s softball team and the cheerleading squad – were recognized with The Trophy Award for their year-long community service work both on the local and national levels.

During the school year, the softball team participated in numerous community events that included volunteering at the Memorial Hospital Pediatric Unit, Hannah and Friends, the Center for the Homeless, Softball Clinics, Riley Hospital, the Domer Run, the Michiana Walk for Down Syndrome, the Pediatric Christmas Party, the Samantha Hickey Foundation, Read Across America, Adopt A Family, Tatum’s Bags of Fun, Fighting Irish Fight for Life and Strike Out Cancer. The Irish softball team raised over $30,000 during the Strike Out Cancer fundraiser that benefitted the Memorial Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit in South Bend.

Kim Holden – Kanaley Award winner

The cheerleading squad also had a busy year in the community as they participated in the Right to Life Lifefest, Joys of Life, Sisters of St. Mary’s, the Robinson Learning Center, Best Buddies, Camp Kesem, Relay for Life, Tutoring for Trio Programs, Center for the Homeless, Early Childhood Development Center, St. Joseph Hospital, Boys and Girls Club, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk, the Pediatric Christmas Party, a service trip to Nicaragua, Kiss The Pig, Father Ted’s 5K, Shelter for Battered Women in Los Angeles and the Homeless Center in Orange County, Calif.

Mike Golic, Jr. – Christopher Zorich Award winner

Few student-athletes at Notre Dame have ever had the season or career that Diggins enjoyed as she led the Irish to three consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances (2011-13), two BIG EAST regular-season championships (2012 and ’13) and women’s program’s first BIG EAST tournament championship (2013). She rewrote the Fighting Irish record books and will leave Notre Dame as the holder or co-holder of no fewer than 32 game, season or career records. She ranks among the top five on an astounding 105 of the program’s game, season or career charts, including school records for career points (2,357), steals (381), games started (144) and double-figure scoring games (121), just to name a few.

The talented point guard also is the only player (of either gender) in Notre Dame basketball history to register 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals in her career, and one of only six NCAA Division I women’s basketball players since 1999-2000 to achieve those impressive marks. She also stands among the top 15 players in BIG EAST history (regular season games only) in four career categories – assists (15th), steals (tied-15th), free throws made (7th) and free throws attempted (11th).

Blas Moros – Christopher Zorich Award winner

Diggins is the only player in program history to be a four-time All-America selection, earning consensus first-team honors the past two years to join former standout Ruth Riley as the only Fighting Irish cagers ever to pull off that feat. In addition, she broke new ground in the Notre Dame history books as a three-time NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player (2011-Dayton, 2012-Raleigh, 2013-Norfolk), a two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year and a two-time recipient of the Nancy Lieberman Award, given annually to the nation’s top point guard (the past two seasons making her just the third two-time honoree in the award’s history), along with being the 2013 recipient of the Dawn Staley Award.

As a senior in 2012-13, Diggins started all 37 games, leading the BIG EAST in assists (6.1 apg; also 19th in nation), while ranking fourth in scoring (17.1 ppg) and third in steals (3.1 spg; also 18th in nation; school-record 114 steals overall), as well as, fourth in free throw percentage (.814). She also is among the conference’s best in assist/turnover ratio (5th – 1.67) and three-point percentage (6th – .362), and she led the team with 33 double-figure scoring games, including 12 20-point outings. Furthermore, she added three double-doubles and her second career triple-double after piling up 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a Feb. 24 win at DePaul.

Molly Shawhan – Christopher Zorich Award winner

On April 15, Diggins was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Tulsa Shock, becoming Notre Dame’s second WNBA Draft lottery (top-four) selection in as many years and matching the highest choice in program history.

Holden recently was named the recipient of an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, the 50th Notre Dame student-athlete to earn the prestigious honor. She finished her sensational career with a pair of Honorable Mention All-America citations (200 back, 400 medley relay) last month at the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. For her career, Holden raked in 11 BIG EAST titles (T-4th in school history) and 22 all-BIG EAST scrolls (4th in school history). She appeared in two NCAA Championship meets, and overcame double shoulder surgery before her junior season to have an outstanding senior campaign.

Two months ago, 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.

Kapron Lewis-Moore – Francis Patrick O’Connor Award winner

In the classroom, Holden holds a 3.817 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 has appeared on the Dean’s List six out of her seven completed semesters at Notre Dame. 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.

Beginning in the fall, Holden will pursue her doctorate in audiology at the University of North Carolina.

A two-time captain for the men’s soccer team, Powers played in 78 career games for the Irish and made 64 starts in the central midfield. He registered 42 points (10 goals and 22 assists) for his career and helped lead Notre Dame to a 17-4-1 record in 2012. A three-time all-BIG EAST honoree, Powers twice earned all-region honors and was named an NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Scholar All-American. He concluded his career by playing in 73 straight contests and started the final 60 games of his collegiate career.

Chrissie McGaffigan – Francis Patrick O’Connor Award winner

As a senior, he started all 22 games for the Irish and posted career high totals in goals (six), assists (nine) and points (19). Powers was a first team NSCAA All-America selection and earned first team all-BIG EAST honors. His team-leading nine assists ranked 20th nationally. A finalist for the Senior CLASS Award and a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, he scored three game-winning goals for the Irish while playing 2,011 of a possible 2,044 minutes on the field. Powers scored the game’s lone goal in the 11th minute of a 1-0 triumph over Connecticut in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship and then assisted on the golden goal in double overtime that helped the Irish claim the conference title with a 3-2 win over Georgetown. He was selected to all-tournament teams at both the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic and the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.

Johnson, a goaltender for the Irish hockey team, was the recipient of the Charles “Lefty” Smith Coaches Award this past season that is presented annually to the unsung hero of the hockey program. He proved to be a team leader and the consummate team player as a senior.

After playing in 91 games over his first three seasons and winning 39 games in goal during that time, Johnson saw his role change as a senior as he became the back up to Steven Summerhays. Despite the changes in playing time, he was willing to accept his role and was always ready to play when needed. He played in eight games, making six starts and was 4-1-1 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. For his career, he saw action in 99 games, making 89 starts, turning in a 43-34-13 career record with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage with two shutouts. His performance in Manchester, N.H. in March of 2011 helped lead the Irish to their second-ever Frozen Four appearance. Over his four seasons, he was a player that had the respect of his coaches and his teammates, always giving his best while being a consummate team player.

Te’o led the Irish to a storybook season during the 2012 campaign as Notre Dame went undefeated at 12-0 during the regular season and played in the BCS national championship game for the first time in program history. In last weekend’s National Football League draft, he was the 38th overall pick, a second-round choice of the San Diego Chargers, and the highest-drafted linebacker from Notre Dame since Demetrius DuBose was the 34th selection in 1993.

Te’o is the first Irish player chosen by the Chargers since corner back Willie Clark went in the third round of the 1994 draft. San Diego has now drafted 10 former Notre Dame players in NFL history. In 2012, Te’o became the 33rd unanimous All-American in Notre Dame history. He was the first Irish defensive player to earn such an honor since cornerback Shane Walton in 2002. He was named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, the American Football Coaches Association, The Sporting News, The Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Associated Press all selected him to their respective All-America squads.

Te’o was Notre Dame’s fourth-ever unanimous All-America linebacker and first since Michael Stonebreaker in 1990 – also joining the likes of Jim Lynch (1966) and Bob Golic (1978).

Te’o was Notre Dame’s first Heisman Trophy finalist since quarterback Brady Quinn in 2006. He finished second with 321 first-place votes and 1,706 points – the most ever by a defensive player in college football history. Te’o nearly became the third player to ever be named a first-team Academic All-American and win the Heisman Trophy in the same year joining Pete Dawkins (Army) in 1958 and Danny Wuerffel (Florida) in 1996.

Te’o captured the Lott Trophy, Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. He became the first player in college football history to sweep the aforementioned seven awards. In fact, no other player in college football history had ever captured more than five major awards in one season. Te’o also was a first team Capital One Academic All-American.

Te’o, a Notre Dame team captain, was the leader of an Irish defense that ranked second nationally in scoring defense, only allowing 12.8 points per game. The senior made 113 tackles and collected seven interceptions. Te’o registered three-straight 100-plus tackle seasons and ranks third in Notre Dame history for career tackles with 437.

His seven interceptions tied him for second in the Football Bowl Subdivision and leads all FBS linebackers. Te’o owns the school record for interceptions by a linebacker in a single season and no FBS linebacker registered more single-season interceptions than Te’o since 2001. He generated nine total turnovers (two fumble recoveries), which was tied for tops in the FBS. Te’o played a role in 11 of the 23 turnovers forced by Notre Dame’s defense. He has also hurried a pair of passers on two occasions that directly resulted in interceptions.

Te’o was Notre Dame’s 81st different player and 97th total selection to earn consensus All-America status – both more than any other school. The Irish have produced at least one consensus All-American in 30 of the last 44 seasons.

Tracy has enjoyed an impressive final campaign as a member of the Notre Dame cross country and track and field programs. She had a strong cross country campaign in ’12 as she led the Irish in three meets while earning all-BIG EAST and NCAA Great Lakes all-region honors. Her 96th-place finish at the NCAA Championship meet was the best for Notre Dame as she led her team to a 15th-place finish. Tracy placed 15th at the ’12 BIG EAST Cross Country Championships and won the individual title at the National Catholic Championships.

Tracy set the Notre Dame school and Meyo track mile record this season with a time of 4:33.53 at the Alex Wilson Invitational. She earned All-America honors for the first time in her career as she finished eighth in the mile at the `13 NCAA National Indoor Championships. Tracy was named BIG EAST Women’s Track Athlete of the Week in early April after setting two meets records at an outdoor meet in Louisville as she finished first in both the 1,500 meters (4:17.12) and 800 meters (2:07.12). Her 1,500 meter time ranks as one of the best nationally during the spring outdoor season, while her time in that event and the 800 meters tops all BIG EAST competitors to date.

Golic, a first team Capital One Academic All-American, started all 13 games at guard on a Notre Dame offensive line that ranked as one of the most productive in school history. He was selected to the Allstate Good Works Team for being a leader in the local community as well as excelling in the classroom and on the football field. Golic started 17 of the 40 career games he played.

He was part of an Irish offensive line that helped Notre Dame average more than 200 yards per game in both rushing and receiving in the regular season, a first for the program since the 1977 national championship squad. Golic helped Notre Dame average 5.0 yards per rush in the regular season – the highest per carry average for the Irish since 1996 (5.2 yards per carry). Notre Dame also was one of just two offensive lines from a Bowl Championship Series conference to average better than 200 yards on the ground as well as through the air and yield just 16 sacks or less in the regular season. He also helped the Irish run for at least 200 yards seven times during the season, including six of the last nine contests.

Golic was very active in a variety of service projects both at Notre Dame and throughout the South Bend/Michiana community. He participated in the Irish Experience Camp and League, the Kelly Cares Christmas Shopping with Kids, the annual Pediatric Christmas Party, the Bald and Beautiful, Hope Ministries, reading to children at local elementary schools and routinely seniors at the Hearth at Juday Creek.

Moros co-captained the Irish this season and helped them claim the BIG EAST conference crown to earn an automatic berth into this year’s NCAA championship field. In his senior season, he compiled a 23-6 singles mark (13-6 during the spring). He was named MVP of the Tom Fallon Invitational and garnered all-tournament team honors at both the Tribe Invitational and Olympia Field Country Club Invitational. Moros also was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on March 19 for the first time in his career as he finished undefeated at No. 3 singles and led the Irish to a 2-1 record at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic.

Moros’ community service projects included his involvement with Adopt a Family, Faculty Hit Clinic, Kids Clinic and the Pediatric Christmas Party. He and his family were very involved with the non-profit organization Replay Sports where the Moros family collected used sports equipment for needy children in his father’s home country of Venezuela. Annually, he also worked with the Notre Dame Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC)

A three-year member of the Irish women’s lacrosse team, Shawhan has played in 16 games this year and dished off one assist in helping Notre Dame to a 12-4 record. She has played in 46 games during career with the Irish on defense and has scored three goals and dished off two assists.

A member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council, Shawhan participated in Notre Dame’s Urban Plunge program in Philadelphia and Baltimore during the winter of her sophomore and junior years and spent three days on each of those occasions helping at homeless shelters, food kitchens, hospitals, immigration legal service centers and women’s shelters. She also has been involved with Irish Experience Camp and the Pediatric Christmas Party, as well as the Walk for Juvenile Diabetes.

Shawhan was one of the project leaders in which she and her teammates would pair up with a child from a shelter in South Bend to play games and take him/her to the library. As part of the Field of Growth program, she spent two weeks in Uganda teaching lacrosse to young women while also instilling values of confidence and independence. She also helped build a school while in Uganda to help assist the young women in their daily lives.

Lewis-Moore was drafted in the sixth round as the 200th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens after enjoying a stellar senior campaign. One of four captains for the Irish this season, he played in 45 games during his Notre Dame career and made 42 starts. Lewis-Moore had 180 career stops (22 for loss and 12 sacks) in his four seasons. He suffered a torn ACL in the National Championship game against Alabama, but did register 40 tackles (8.5 for loss and six sacks), third best on the team in both categories, during 2012 and helped anchor a Notre Dame defense that ranked among the units in all of college football last season.

A four-year member of the Irish tennis program, McGaffigan captained the Irish in her senior season and was a member of Notre Dame that won four BIG EAST Championship crowns. She owns a 74-47 career singles record and 87-41 mark in doubles play. A three-time member of the BIG EAST All-Academic Team, McGaffigan was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) Midwest Region Rookie of the Year in 2010. She also earned all-BIG EAST honors that same season.

McGaffigan posted a 19-8 overall singles record during this past season, including a 17-6 mark at the number four spot. She also finished with a 22-10 mark in doubles play, seeing action mainly at the number one doubles position with teammate Jennifer Kellner. By winning the BIG EAST crown, McGaffigan and her teammates earned a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA championships.

Odegard, a three-time monogram winner on the men’s track and field team, participated in the heptathalon and the decathalon while recording a 3.78 grade point average in Biological Sciences and was named to the Dean’s List in five of his first seven semesters at Notre Dame. He plans on doing his graduate work at the University of Missouri.

When not training for his multi-sport events on the track, Odegard was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was active in community service, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Notre Dame Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Salomon will graduate in May from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters with degrees in English and Psychology. She plans on attending graduate school at Northwestern University while working towards a Ph.D in Psychology.

She has accumulated a 3.57 grade point average and has been selected to the Dean’s List three times in her academic career. A three-time member of the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team, Salomon started a service club at Notre Dame called the “High Five Club” that served as a mediator between Take Ten, an anti-bullying program that teaches school children how to handle bullies and the Notre Dame student body.

Baseball’s Patrick Veerkamp (Sr., Fort Wayne, Ind.) was the winner of the Top Gun Award as the senior with the highest grade-point average. He has been a member of the Dean’s List during all seven semesters at Notre Dame and has earned a 4.0 in two of those semesters. A pre-professional studies major in the College of Science, he owns a 3.915 grade point average and will attend medical school beginning in the fall of ’13.

A four-year member and two-year monogram winner with the Irish baseball team as a pitcher; he owns a 7.22 career earned run average and 2-2 record that also includes 23 strikeouts in 16 appearances. Veerkamp has not played this season after suffering a season-ending injury when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament, a common injury for pitchers that required Tommy John surgery.

The Chuck Linster Award winner went to Olivia Lee (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) who is a member of the cheerleading squad. She turned in a 3.928 grade point average and will graduate with a degree in American Studies. She will begin working in Chicago following graduation.

A full rundown of the award winners from Wednesday night’s OSCARS event are as follows:

2012-13 Byron V. Kanaley Award Recipients   Skylar Diggins (Women's Basketball)   Kim Holden (Women's Swimming)   Mike Johnson (Hockey)   Dillon Powers (Men's Soccer)   Manti Te'o (Football)   Rebecca Tracy (Women's Track/Cross Country)
2012-13 Christopher Zorich Award Mike Golic, Jr. (Football) Blas Moros (Men's Tennis) Molly Shawhan (Women's Lacrosse)
202-13 Francis P. O'Connor Award Kapron Lewis-Moore (Football) Chrissie McGaffigan (Women's Tennis)
2012-13 TOP GUN Award Patrick Veerkamp (Baseball)
2012-13 Chuck Linster Award Olivia Lee (Cheerleading)
2012-13 The Trophy Award Softball Cheerleading
2012-13 Top Team GPAWomen's Golf, 3.776/3.616 (spring '12, and overall)Women's Cross Country, 3.487 (fall '12)
2012-13 Monogram Club Postgraduate Scholarship Dean Odegard (Men's Track & Field) Meghan Salomon (Rowing)