STAMFORD, CONN.,-- Capping an illustrious collegiate career which saw her lead the Notre Dame women's soccer team to the 1995 NCAA championship and the 1996 title game, Jennifer Renola, a goalkeeper from Los Gatos, Calif., has been named the 1997 GTE Academic All-America Fall/Winter Women's At-Large Team Member of the Year.
The GTE Team was announced today by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Renola, a senior with a 3.67 Grade Point Average (GPA) as an English major, was the 1996 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Player of the Year. Starting all of Notre Dame's 26 games, she allowed just 16 goals for an 0.775 goals against average. Her play led the Fighting Irish to its second consecutive NCAA title game, a loss to North Carolina. With Renola in net, Notre Dame defeated the Tar Heels in the 1995 title game, ending North Carolina's 11-year NCAA championship winning streak.
Kristin Goldthorpe, a senior swimmer from Denison, was named the Team Member of the Year in the College Division. A native of North Canton, Ohio, Goldthorpe powered the Big Red to a fourth place finish in the NCAA Division III swim championships. A political science-communications major, she has a 3.93 GPA.
GTE Academic All-America Women's Fall/Winter At-Large Teams --
Joining Renola on the university division's first team are two other soccer standouts -- Notre Dame teammate Amy Van Laecke and Wisconsin's Julie Johnson. Both seniors, Van Laecke is from Granger, Ind. (3.78/chemical engineering); and Johnson lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. (4.00/geology/geophysics).
Also on the team is Meredith Willard, a gymnast at Alabama who was the 1996 NCAA All-Around champion. The senior from Clemmons, N.C., has a 3.94 GPA in marketing. She defends her title at next week's NCAA championships at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
The 29 first team members have an average GPA of 3.90, with seven posting perfect 4.00s and 15 others recording 3.90 and above.
The GTE Academic All-America Teams are selected by a vote of the 1,800-member CoSIDA. To be eligible, an athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.20 on a scale of 4.00. Sports information directors nominate eligible athletes from their schools who are named to district teams prior to being voted upon on the national level. CoSIDA has been selecting Academic All-America teams since 1952.
GTE, one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world, has been the exclusive sponsor of the Academic All-America program since 1985.
To extend its support of college athletics, GTE recently became the "Official Telecommunications Consultant" to the NCAA as well as the Pacific-10, Big Ten and Big 12 conferences.