June 30, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – As a parting achievement to culminate her college career, four-time University of Notre Dame national champion Molly Seidel was honored for an exceptional senior cross country/track & field campaign by being named the 2015-16 Mary Garber Award winner by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) on Thursday. The award signified Seidel being recognized as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) top female athlete from the past academic year, the first Irish student-athlete to receive the award since Notre Dame joined the ACC in the fall of 2013.
Seidel (Hartland, Wisconsin/University Lake School) is the 26th overall Mary Garber Award winner, given in memory of one of the country’s first female sports journalists and a pioneer at the Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal. Seidel shared ACC athlete of the year honors with Clemson consensus All-America quarterback Deshaun Watson, who claimed the 63rd Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the conference’s top male athlete in 2015-16.
Another congrats to Molly Seidel, the 2015-2016 ACC Women’s athlete of the Year! pic.twitter.com/KgPPwgXi6v
– Notre Dame XC/TF (@NDXCTF) June 30, 2016
“Commenting that Molly has been outstanding for us this year would be an understatement,” Notre Dame head coach Alan Turner said. “She has been prodigious. She has elevated not only herself to lofty heights, but has raised the expectations of our program. Not only is Molly tops on the track she is tops in the classroom, being named a first team Academic All-American as well.
“Being named ACC female athlete of the year speaks volumes not only for her, but for our program and our university,” Turner added. “The Notre Dame Family is extremely proud of her.”
Seidel capped a standout cross country season in 2015 by winning her first national title in the sport with a time of 19:28.60 at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships last November. She previously claimed the 2015 ACC Championship 6K with a time of 19:36.20, and the top spot at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional 6K by clocking in at 20:04.40, on the road to the national championship meet.
A 2015 cross country All-America selection, Seidel also secured ACC Women’s Cross Country Performer of the Year, ACC Women’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and was tabbed as the Honda Sport Award winner as the top female athlete nationally in cross country. She represented Notre Dame along with other 2016 Honda Sport Awards winner at the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) ceremony on June 27 in Los Angeles.
In recognition of outstanding achievement in cross country, Seidel was recently announced as Notre Dame’s nominee for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year award, one of a record 517 student-athletes across the country in consideration for the award. The NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.
Seidel, who entered 2016 as the defending ACC Indoor champion in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter events, carried the momentum from the successful cross country campaign into her final collegiate track season. Seidel achieved the ACC repeat with a time of 9:02.24 in the 3,000m and added a victorious 15:19.64 in the 5,000m to once more sweep the events at the 2016 ACC Indoor Championships in February. The stellar runs set the stage for a dominant outing at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships in March, where Seidel logged Notre Dame school record times in the 3,000m (8:57.86) and 5,000m (15:15.21) to double as the NCAA champion in both distances.
Along with first team USTFCCCA Track & Field All-American recognition during the 2016 indoor season as the 3,000m and 5,000m national champion, Seidel also doubled on the all-ACC first team. She added ACC Women’s Indoor Track & Field Scholar-Athlete recognition to her academic accomplishments for the competitive year.
Seidel’s four combined national championship victories (2015 NCAA Outdoor 10,000m, 2015 NCAA Cross Country 6K, 2016 NCAA Indoor 3,000m and 2016 NCAA Indoor 5,000m) are a Notre Dame record. Seidel claimed six combined All-America citations (two cross country, four track) during her Irish career, to go along with nine all-ACC scrolls and four all-ACC academic team nods.
A standout in the classroom with a cumulative 3.54 GPA in the College of Arts and Letters (biological anthropology major with a minor in sustainability), Seidel was the lone College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-AmericaÂ® representative from Notre Dame for the spring 2016 season. She become the third female student-athlete to claim first team Academic All-AmericaÂ® honors in Irish track & field/cross country history, as announced by CoSIDA on June 24.
Seidel was the first Notre Dame recipient of a CoSIDA Academic All-AmericaÂ® team citation in women’s track & field/cross country since Rebecca Tracy was a second team honoree in 2013. Seidel joined Theresa Rice (1989, cross country) and Stacey Cowan (2006) as female track & field/cross country CoSIDA Academic All-AmericaÂ® first team performers at Notre Dame in her second straight year on the national ballot, repeating as a CoSIDA All-Academic District V first team (2015-16) performer.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.