May 11, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior track & field standout Stacey Cowan (Ferndale, Wash./Ferndale) is one of 29 student-athletes competing in winter sports who have been chosen to receive an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, the NCAA announced recently. Cowan is the fourth Irish track & field athlete (first since Steve Dziabis in 1983), and first female, to earn the prestigious $7,500 award, which is applied to the recipient’s pursuit of postgraduate studies. In addition, Cowan is the 39th Notre Dame student-athlete to be awarded the NCAA postgraduate scholarship — the first since women’s soccer defender Vanessa Pruzinsky in 2004 — and the 19th to garner All-America, Academic All-America and NCAA postgraduate scholarship honors during her career (first since former softball pitcher Jennifer Sharron in 2001).
Cowan will go down as one of the top high jumpers and multi-event specialists in the history of the Notre Dame women’s track & field program. Since arriving on campus in 2002, Cowan has recorded four of the top eight indoor high jump marks in school history (including a school-record 5-11.5/1.82 meters at the 2004 BIG EAST Conference Championships), as well as two of the top eight outdoor high jump clearances in the Irish record books. What’s more, she has been a pacesetter in the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon, setting school records in both competitions before they were broken earlier this year.
Cowan’s trophy case has filled up quickly as well. She is a seven-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection, with her most recent honor coming by virtue of her second-place tie at the 2006 BIG EAST Indoor Championships back in February. Furthermore, she has qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump four times (twice indoors, twice outdoors), highlighted by her 10th-place finish and All-America distinction at the 2004 NCAA indoor meet. She also has earned a berth to compete in the high jump at this year’s NCAA Mideast Regional, marking the fourth consecutive season she has qualified for regional competition (she has finished in the top four at two of her three prior Mideast Regionals).
Off the track, Cowan has been a standout in the classroom, compiling a 3.792 cumulative grade-point average as a student in the College of Science, where she is completing work on a pre-professional studies major and will graduate later this month. She also was named to the Dean’s List in both the fall 2004 and fall 2005 semesters, and last June, she was tapped as an ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Third-Team Academic All-America® selection, becoming the fourth Notre Dame female track & field student-athlete to garner that accolade (Theresa Rice in 1989, Alison Klemmer in 1999 and 2000, and Lauren King in 2004 were the others).
To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.200 (on a 4.000 scale) or its equivalent, and must have performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which the student-athlete was nominated. The student-athlete 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 also must intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a full-time or part-time graduate student.
Cowan and her Notre Dame teammates will be back in action Friday and Saturday in Atlanta at the Georgia Tech Invitational, a meet which will serve as the final opportunity for participants to attain qualifying standards for the regional meets. The NCAA Mideast Regional, which will feature no less than 26 Irish men’s and women’s athletes competing in at least 18 different events, is slated to take place May 26-27 in Knoxville, Tenn.
— ND —