Shealy named College Athlete of the Year

Loren Shealy, a rising junior on the North Carolina field hockey team, has been named Sports Illustrated’s College Athlete of the Year in recognition of her academic and athletic success.

“We’re honored that Loren has been recognized this way,” UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham says. “She’s outstanding in all areas, truly an example of a student who is excelling at the highest levels both academically and athletically.”

Shealy, a finance major from Charlotte, N.C., is a Robertson Scholar, through which she attends Duke in addition to UNC. She is the first UNC or Duke athlete to become a Robertson Scholar.

Shealy ranked second in goals for the 2012 Tar Heels, who won their second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference title and reached field hockey’s NCAA Championship game for the fourth year in a row. At the championship, Shealy received the NCAA Elite 89 Award as the player at the final four site with the highest GPA. Shealy was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team as well as the All-ACC Academic Team.

“I’m thrilled to see Loren honored with this award,” UNC head field hockey coach Karen Shelton says. “She’s an outstanding representative of our program and our University. While she’s very intelligent and athletically gifted, she also works so hard to be successful and maximize her potential and it’s great to see that recognized.”

Shealy was the focus of a story on unc.edu in November 2012. Here’s the article: 

Sophomore Loren Shealy is a talented player on Carolina’s top-ranked field hockey team. She’s also an academic star with a 4.0 G.P.A.

This year Shealy garnered a new title – Robertson Scholar. It’s a title that no other Carolina or Duke athlete has ever had. The Robertson Scholars Program is a joint undergraduate scholarship program between UNC and Duke University that was created in 2000 with a gift from UNC alumnus and businessman Julian H. Robertson and his wife, Josie, to foster collaboration and intercollegiate scholarship between the two schools their sons attended.

Scholars are selected based on their academic achievement, intellectual curiosity, force of moral character, exceptional leadership potential and interest in working with others.

“I feel very fortunate to have the chance to study at two of the best academic institutions anywhere, to meet new people and to explore the world,” says Shealy, who was selected in April as part of the Robertson First-Year Selection Program.

UNC’s Head Field Hockey Coach Karen Shelton nominated Shealy, a finance major.

Shelton says Shealy is “one of those rare kids who inspires you with her work ethic, her curiosity, her commitment to excellence, her motivation to be the best at whatever she does and her willingness to put in in the work.”

Shealy says doing well in school makes her feel good and just as proud as the team’s #1 ranking. The Tar Heels are in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

“I also know that I will not make a career of professional sports, so making sure I have a solid plan that will serve me well in whatever I do is really important. I’ll always want to play and be involved in field hockey because I’m so passionate about it, but I have lots of passions and I want to pursue them, too,” Shealy says.

And she has. In summer 2011, Shealy participated in the Coach for College program, an academic and sports training camp run by collegiate athletes for kids in Vietnam. This past summer, Shealy spent her Robertson program “community-building” experience in the Mississippi Delta working with two other Duke Scholars on a summer youth enrichment project.

As part of the Robertson program, Shealy will live and take classes at Duke during the spring 2013 semester. As a Carolina athlete, Shealy says that should prove to be interesting.

“Of course I’m familiar with their field hockey players and have great respect for their programs, but I’ll admit that I’m excited about experiencing this rivalry up close and personal from a slightly different perspective. It’s the best thing ever!”

Read Sports Illustrated’s article and watch the video about Shealy.

Read more about Shealy at GoHeels.com and at Carolina Connections.

Published May 22, 2013.