Allin Named Fighting Illini Spirit Award Winner
May 1, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Women's soccer Big Ten Defender of the Year Jenna Carosio (Novi, Mich.) and two-time Big Ten golf champion Luke Guthrie (Quincy, Ill.) garnered the prestigious Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor Tuesday night at the Fighting Illini Scholar-Athlete Awards Reception, held at the Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium. The Scholar-Athlete Reception is an annual event that recognizes graduating student-athletes and others who have excelled both athletically and academically.
The Medal of Honor is awarded annually at each conference school to a male and female senior student-athlete who demonstrates proficiency in scholarship and athletics. The award was first endowed in 1914 and has become the top annual award the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics bestows. Carosio and Guthrie were just two of more than 120 Fighting Illini student-athletes, managers and athletic trainers recognized at the 22nd annual event that honors the best and the brightest that Illinois athletics has to offer.
Guthrie, the 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year, sealed his place as one of the top golfers in school and conference history by winning his second straight Big Ten individual title and leading the Illini to a fourth consecutive conference championship. A first-team All-American in 2011, Guthrie carried that success into his senior season by earning first-team All-Big Ten honors for the third time and notching three of his seven collegiate tournament victories. The Quincy, Ill., native is on pace to set the career stroke average record and was honored with the Les Bolstad Award for low season stroke average in the Big Ten in 2012.
Off the course, Guthrie is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection majoring in management in the College of Business and has been involved in Robeson Elementary Reading Night, Big Brothers Big Sisters Holiday Party, Jock Jams, and served as a Salvation Army bell ringer.
"Luke came to the University of Illinois as a very highly recruited golfer with the intention of doing great things, and he has not disappointed himself," golf coach Mike Small said. "He takes personal responsibility for the entire team and its actions, and because of that, Luke has grown into a true leader. He represents all of the qualities that every institution desires out of its graduating student-athletes."
After spending three years as a reserve midfielder from 2008-10, Carosio assumed leadership duties as the Illini center back in 2012, securing Big Ten Defender of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten and NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region First Team while leading Illinois to the Big Ten Tournament Title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. In her only season playing defense, Carosio started all 24 games and was the only Illini to play every minute of the season. She helped the Orange and Blue set a program record for most wins in a single year, 17, after bouncing Notre Dame from the NCAA Tournament - the first squad in the history of NCAA women's soccer to send out the defending National Champions in the opening round.
Carosio's academic and charitable works are equally as impressive. This year, Carosio earned NSCAA Academic All-America Second Team honors while simultaneously taking the opportunity to visit with students at Yankee Ridge and Kenwood Elementary Schools and the Carle Pediatrics Center, also volunteering with the SAAC clothing drive and the Thanksgiving basket program. Carosio is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and 2009 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honoree, capping a stellar career with NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region and Capital One Academic All-District Third Team laurels this season.
"Jenna Carosio is a case study I use to argue that leaders are not born, but made," soccer coach Janet Rayfield said. "Made, however, because the desire to lead is there from the beginning and is complimented by the willingness to learn from those before you. It would appear that Jenna made a significant leap in her role on this team between her junior and senior seasons, both on and off the field. From reserve midfielder to starting central defender and from quiet follower to demanding but compassionate senior captain, Jenna became a driving force in the success of the 2012 season."
The Fighting Illini Spirit Awards, which are given to the male and female athletes who best exemplify the spirit, courage, effort and dedication of the Fighting Illini, also were handed out at the Colonnades Club. Sophomore quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (Kansas City, Mo.) won the male Spirit Award, while senior tennis player Amy Allin (Dallas, Texas) took home the female Spirit Award this year.
The Leadership Academy Awards were presented to athletes who exemplify leadership skills and service in the community. Carosio was awarded the Leader of Distinction honor, while Allin, senior soccer player Julie Ewing (Batavia, Ill.), senior volleyball player Rachel Feldman (Normal, Ill.), senior gymnast Kelsey Joannides (Frederick, Md.), senior swimmer Kristen Manias (Lakeville, Minn.) and junior soccer player Shayla Mutz (Homer Glen, Ill.) were given the Leader of Merit honor.
The men's cross country team and women's swimming & diving team were recognized for having the top team GPAs among Illinois' 19 varsity sports, and six individuals were honored for having the top GPA in their respective classes. Gymnast Alex Varga (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) and volleyball player Anna Dorn (Munster, Ind.) had the top GPAs among sophomores, while tennis player Bruno Abdelnour (Aleppo, Syria) and swimmer Erin Lamb (Naperville, Ill.) were best among juniors, and Hunter Mickow of track and field (Princeton, Ill.) and swimmer April McKee (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) were the senior GPA honorees.
In addition to the awards handed out, finalists for Dike Eddleman Male and Female Athlete of the Year and Newcomer of the Year also were announced. The Eddleman and Newcomer winners will not be announced until the conclusion of the spring sports seasons in June. Click here for a full list of nominees and see below for award winners from the evening.
Fighting Illini Spirit Award
Leadership Academy Awards
Leader of Merit
Fighting Illini Outstanding Team GPA Awards
Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award Winners