Senior Stephanie Madia closed out her exceptional college career with a second-team Academic All-America&amp;reg; citation on Thursday, becoming the third Irish women's track &amp; field athlete ever to earn All-America and Academic All-America&amp;reg; honors in the same year. <i>(photo by Marcus Snowden)</i>

Two Irish Women's Track & Field Athletes Selected For Academic All-America Honors

June 22, 2006

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Two members of the Notre Dame women’s track & field team have been selected to the 2006 ESPN The Magazine/College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America® Track/Cross Country Team, it was announced Thursday. Senior Stacey Cowan (Ferndale, Wash./Ferndale) is the second Irish female track & field athlete ever to be cited as a first-team Academic All-America® selection, and she is the second multiple Academic All-American in the program’s history, having been named to the third team in 2005. Meanwhile, senior Stephanie Madia (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) wrapped up an exceptional college career with her first Academic All-America® plaque, earning second-team status.

Notre Dame was one of four schools in the country to have two women’s track Academic All-Americans, joining Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska in that group. With a combined total of five men’s and women’s track & field/cross country athletes receiving the Academic All-America® designation this year, Notre Dame had more honorees than any other school in the country. NCAA men’s outdoor track & field champion Florida State and Nebraska were next with four selections each.

The five Academic All-Americans also represent a new high-water mark for the Irish track & field/cross country program, with the previous record being three honorees in 2005 (Cowan, Todd Mobley and Sean O’Donnell). Notre Dame has a substantial history of track & field Academic All-America® citations, beginning with Theresa Rice’s first-team award in 1989. There have now been 17 Irish harriers have garnered the prestigious national academic honor a total of 23 times, with this marking the first time Notre Dame has had more than one Academic All-American in women’s track & field/cross country in a single season. As an institution, Notre Dame ranks second all-time with 172 Academic All-America® honorees, including a school-record 14 during the 2005-06 academic year.

Voting for the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team was conducted by CoSIDA, a 2,000-member organization consisting of sports public relations professionals for colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. To qualify, student-athletes must hold at least sophomore status, own a minimum GPA of 3.2 or better, and be a key contributor on the track for their team.

Cowan recently completed her college career as one of the top high jumpers and multi-event athletes in school history. She was a seven-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection, taking second in the high jump at the 2006 BIG EAST Indoor Championships back in February in Akron, Ohio. In addition, she was a four-time qualifier in the high jump for the NCAA Championships (twice indoors, twice outdoors), having earned All-America honors in 2004 with a 10th-place finish. She owns four of the top eight indoor high jump marks and two of the top eight outdoor marks in school history, highlighted by a school-record indoor clearance of 5-11.5 (1.82 meters) at the 2004 BIG EAST Championships.

Off the track, Cowan was a standout in the classroom, compiling a 3.792 cumulative grade-point average in the College of Science, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in pre-professional studies last month. Soon to be a four-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star, she also was named to the Dean’s List in both the fall 2004 and fall 2005 semesters. Furthermore, she was named as a recipient of an NCAA postgraduate scholarship earlier this year, completing a rare triple crown of honors with her All-America and Academic All-America® citations that only 18 other student-athletes in school history have been able to accomplish.

Madia just concluded a superb career that saw her emerge as one of the top distance runners in the country. An All-American in both track and cross country each of the past two years, she finished third at the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships, tying the best individual finish ever by a Notre Dame runner and leading to her selection as one of four finalists for the Honda Sports Award in cross country. She then went on to place sixth in the 5,000-meter run at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships, resulting in her second track All-America plaque (and first during the indoor season). She was a qualifier for the NCAA Mideast Regional in both the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, and advanced to the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5,000 with a fifth-place regional finish. Last year, Madia was an All-American in the outdoor 5,000 meters with her fifth-place showing in the NCAA finals.

An exceptional student who is the third Irish female track & field athlete to complete the All-America/Academic All-America® double in the same year (joining Alison Klemmer in 1999 and Lauren King in 2004), Madia graduated from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business last month with a bachelor’s degree in finance, sporting a 3.52 cumulative GPA. She also was a Dean’s List selection and a two-year member of Notre Dame’s Academic Honors for Student-Athletes program. In addition, she was chosen as a recipient of the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete postgraduate stipend, which she plans to apply to her pursuit of an MBA in graduate studies.

Here’s a full rundown of the record-setting 14 Notre Dame student-athletes who earned ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America® honors during the 2005-06 season:

First Team
Erika Bohn (women’s soccer)
Stacey Cowan (women’s track & field)
Megan Duffy (women’s basketball)
Chris Quinn (men’s basketball)
Annie Schefter (women’s soccer)

Second Team
Lauren Brewster (volleyball)
Stephanie Brown (softball)
Stephanie Madia (women’s track & field)
Sean O’Donnell (men’s track & field)
John Stephens (men’s soccer)

Third Team
Thomas Chamney (men’s track & field)
Greg Lopez (baseball)
Tim Moore (men’s track & field)
Meghan Murphy* (women’s lacrosse)
* – voted to Academic All-America® women’s at-large team

— ND —