Sports Illustrated’s College Athlete of Year
Loren Shealy, granddaughter of Tom “Sonny” and Edwina Shealy who live on Hill Top Way in Blowing Rock, won Sports Illustrated’s female College Athlete of the Year award last week.
The rising junior field hockey player at UNC-Chapel Hill won the award in its first year of existence.
Cornell wrestler Kyle Dake was named Sports Illustrated’s male College Athlete of the Year.
Shealy was second on the field hockey team with 16 goals and helped lead the Tarheels to the national championship game against the University of Maryland.
“Loren is a natural athlete,” Sonny Shealy said. “She’s a really good golfer. She had a hole-in-one on hole No. 2 at the Blowing Rock Country Club. It’s a par 3 hole. She gave up golf to concentrate on field hockey.”
A graduate of Charlotte Country Day School, Shealy was named an All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic this year.
She is also the first athlete to become a Robertson scholar, a program that allows her to take classes at both UNC and Duke University. She is one of 18 Carolina students to be awarded the scholarship. She is currently majoring in business administration.
For Shealy, donning the light blue-and-white uniform as a Tarheel athlete is a family tradition.
Her father, Tommy Shealy Jr., played baseball for UNC and graduated from the university in 1984.
“I played baseball at the University of Georgia and graduated there in 1952,” said Sonny Shealy. “I was a pitcher. I wasn’t great, but I was pretty good.”
The elder Shealy said that his granddaughter’s story is in the current issue of Sports Illustrated, but he has yet to find the new edition at newsstands in Blowing Rock.
According to Dana Gelin at UNC-Chapel Hill’s sports information department, Loren Shealy is currently participating as a member of the Team USA field hockey team.
Sports Illustrated’s editors and writers picked Shealy over four other finalists: Oregon’s Liz Brenner (volleyball and basketball), Northwestern’s Taylor Thornton (lacrosse), Baylor’s Brittney Griner (basketball) and LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan (track).