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For the second year in a row, North Carolina’s Loren Shealy has been honored as the winner of the NCAA Elite 89 Award for field hockey. The award, presented at the NCAA Field Hockey Championship banquet on Thursday evening, recognizes the student-athlete with the highest overall grade point average competing at each NCAA championship site.

Shealy, a junior forward from Charlotte, is majoring in business and carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

It’s the third consecutive year that a UNC field hockey player has claimed the award. Before Shealy won back-to-back honors, Marta Malmberg, now a senior on the UNC team, won in 2011.

The award is now in its fifth year and UNC remains the only school to have won the field hockey honor more than once.

“Loren continues to amaze us all,” UNC coach Karen Shelton says. “To achieve at the level she does academically while also devoting a substantial amount of time to a varsity sport is exceptional. As the captain of our team, she sets an outstanding example of the best in academics and athletics.

“Also, I’m thrilled to have a Tar Heel honored for the third year in a row. Loren can’t win if our team doesn’t make the final four, and I’m very proud that Carolina field hockey represents excellence both on and off the field.”

Shealy, who was elected the 2013 captain by a vote of her teammates, has scored seven goals and contributed nine assists this season for the No. 3 Tar Heels (18-5), who lost to Connecticut on Friday in the NCAA Championship semifinals.

The Elite 89 program was founded by the NCAA to recognize “the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers.”

Shealy, the first student-athlete to be part of the prestigious Robertson Scholars program at UNC, is one of seven Tar Heel student-athletes to have won the NCAA award. Bill Dworsky was the inaugural men’s soccer winner in 2009 and Kristi Eveland won for women’s soccer the same year. Meredith Newton won for women’s lacrosse in 2010, and Marta Malmberg won for field hockey in 2011. Shealy was one of three Tar Heels to win in 2012, joining Caitlin Ball (women’s soccer) and Paige Hanson (women’s lacrosse).


Published November 22, 2013.