Feb. 18, 2004
Notre Dame soccer standout Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.) – a fifth-year defender and former finalist for national player-of the-year honors who graduated in May 2003 with a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average as a chemical engineering major – has been named the 2003-04 BIG EAST/A?ropostale Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and will receive a $4,000 stipend applicable to graduate studies. The winner is determined by the BIG EAST’s Academic Awards Committee, with Pruzinsky chosen from a pool of 15 candidates that may encompass student-athletes from any of the 13 BIG EAST women’s sports.
Senior distance runner Todd Mobley (West Bloomfield, Mich.) was Notre Dame’s nominee for the BIG EAST Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, which was presented to St. John’s soccer player Chris Wingert. As his school’s nominee, Mobley received a $2,000 stipend to be used for postgraduate studies (baseball pitcher J.P. Gagne was Notre Dame’s 2002-03 men’s recipient).
Pruzinsky is Notre Dame’s sixth student-athlete to receive the prestigious BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in the last nine years and the third Irish women’s soccer player so honored, joining goalkeeper Jen Renola and forward Jenny Streiffer in that distinction. Notre Dame’s other previous honorees include hurdler Errol Williams, basketball center Ruth Riley and softball catcher Jarrah Myers.
Since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in the 1995-96 academic year, Notre Dame has produced one-third of the BIG EAST overall Scholar-Athlete Awards (6 of 18), with no other school producing more than two recipients during that time.
When the men’s and women’s basketball Scholar-Athlete Award winners are included, Notre Dame’s total of recipients grows to nine (followed by Boston College with four and St. John’s with three). Forward Pat Garrity was the men’s basketball recipient in 1998 while Riley (’01) and guard Alicia Ratay (’03) have received the women’s basketball Scholar-Athlete Award.
(See a complete listing of Notre Dame’s annual BIG EAST scholarship recipients below).
Pruzinsky – the third chemical engineering major ever to graduate from Notre Dame with a 4.0, Pruzinsky has accepted a position with one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms, Merck (based in Union Station, N.J.). She plans to pursue a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biophysics.
Pruzinsky earlier was honored by the College Sports Information Directors of America as the women’s soccer Academic All-American of the Year in 2003. She is a finalist for the overall CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year Award and was one of eight finalists for the Socrates Award, a national student-athlete program recognizing those who best exemplify excellence in athletics and academics (six of the finalists were football players). Pruzinsky also received the Notre Dame College of Engineering’s prestigious Steiner Prize, recognizing all-around excellence. She was a finalist for the 2001 Missouri Athletic Club national player-of-the-year award and returned in 2003 from a severe ankle injury that sidelined her for most of the 2002 season.
Pruzinsky also is being considered for the NCAA Walter Byers Scholarship (a $25,000 stipend) and will be nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award later this year. She helped the Irish compile an 82-12-4 record during her four healthy seasons (.857).
For a more detailed release on Pruzinsky, including bio. notes, see the link below:
Mobley owns a 3.78 cumulative GPA as a mathematics and business double major in the College of Science, in addition to compiling a 3.83 GPA in Notre Dame’s Master’s of Business Administration program. He earned All-America honors at the 2001 and ’03 NCAA Cross Country Championships, helping the ’01 team claim a sixth-place finish. He received CoSIDA Academic All-District V honors in 2002 and plans to pursue masters level studies in accountancy. He has qualified for the upcoming BIG EAST Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships in the mile, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters. His top career finishes in BIG EAST competition include third in the 2002 outdoor 10,000 meters and eighth in the 2001 cross country.
Notre Dame’s 18 annual recipients of the respective men’s and women’s $2,000 BIG EAST scholarships (or $4,000, if applicable) include four women’s soccer players – Renola, Shannon Boxx (’99), Streiffer (’00) and Pruzinsky (’04) – and the following six men’s cross country and/or track-and-field student-athletes: shut putter Mike Fleisch (’96), distance runner Jeff Hojnacki (’97) and Marc Striowski (’02), Williams (’98), pole vaulter Mike Brown (’99) and Mobley (’04).
Other recipients of the men’s stipend have included swimmer Ray Fitzpatrick (’00) and baseball pitchers Mike Naumann (’01) and J.P. Gagne (’03). The other five women’s recipients include softball third base/outfielder Jenna Knudsen (’96), volleyball outside hitter Jaimie Lee (’98), Riley (’01), Myers (’02) and rower Ashlee Warren (’03).