Baltimore, Md. - The One Love Foundation in honor of Yeardley Reynolds Love announced its finalists for the 2013 Yeardley Reynolds Love ("YRL") Unsung Hero Award Wednesday. Frankie Kelly and Zoe Skinner of the UNC lacrosse teams are both finalists.
Kelly, a junior midfielder from Lutherville, Md., is one of five finalists for the men's award while Skinner, a junior defender from Baltimore, Md., is one of the five finalists for the women's award.
The University of North Carolina is the only school to have finalists for both the men's and women's awards.
Established in 2011, the YRL Unsung Hero Award celebrates the selfless acts of initiative and commitment performed by Division I lacrosse players. These outstanding student-athletes are recognized based on the following criteria: dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship. The award winners (one female, one male) will be announced in late-May, leading up to the culmination of the NCAA lacrosse season.
Formerly given to lacrosse players in the ACC Conference, the award became open to all Division I programs this year. The award recognizes accomplishments of student-athletes who help their team achieve success in ways that may not be measured in goals, saves or ground balls. The honor is meaningful because it places value on characteristics that are often undervalued in the competitively charged environment of college athletics.
"We would like to thank every lacrosse program that submitted a nomination," said Sharon Robinson, a member of the YRL Unsung Hero Award selection committee. "We were so impressed with the student-athletes that were nominated and wish we could reward them all. It is so reassuring to see how these future leaders are contributing to their communities in a positive manner. Our goal is to continue growing this award as well as its prestige in college athletics, so we can celebrate the good in college athletics and continue to honor Yeardley's legacy."
Five women and five men have been selected as finalists for the 2013 YRL Unsung Hero Award. These finalists will be represented on the award's website, http://www.joinonelove.org/UnsungHeroes, and in the June issue of Inside Lacrosse magazine, the award's media partner.
School: University of North Carolina
Hometown: Lutherville, Md.
Frankie brings a mix of academic prowess, faith, impeccable character and love of the game to North Carolina Lacrosse. Even though he is not the most vocal guy on the team, he is a respected leader in the locker room because of his overall enthusiasm and positive attitude. Frankie volunteers his time for team community outreach activities such as reading books at elementary schools, building houses with Habitat for Humanity and visiting patients at UNC hospitals. Additionally, he spearheaded an effort among all UNC varsity athletes to donate extra soap and shampoo bottles they acquire at hotels on road trips to the local homeless shelter in Chapel Hill. Frankie is a versatile athlete and beyond willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win games.
School: Loyola University
Hometown: Pasadena, Md.
In his first year at Loyola University, Jason missed much of fall practice with a hand injury, but he quickly became close with his teammates and coaches, and showed leadership qualities early on. Displaying initiative, courage and leadership in December, he reached out to the director of youth lacrosse in Newtown, Conn. to ask how Loyola Lacrosse could assist in the wake of the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jason then organized a clinic, gathering 13 of his teammates during their winter break to travel to Newtown and put on a free clinic for the youth in town. On the field, Jason has stepped in to a role on the Greyhounds' rope unit as a long-stick midfielder in his first collegiate season.
School: Cornell University
Hometown: Orangeville, Ontario
Jason embodies the student-athlete who works hard to achieve success through great character, and leadership by example. In addition to the lacrosse team, he is a member of the Sphinx Head Honor Society, a group that recognizes members of the Cornell senior class who have given their time and passion to the university during their undergraduate years. Jason's commitment to community service includes involvement in numerous projects such as the 21 Run and Save the Day 3 vs. 3 youth lacrosse tournament. Last fall, Jason helped with the Oswego, N.Y. flood relief efforts after one of the worst floods in that area's history. A co-captain of the lacrosse team, Jason was awarded the team's "Hard Hat" for the 2012 season given each year to a junior that the coaching staff feels demonstrates a blue-collar approach to the game of lacrosse; driven and selfless, not always the most talented player on the field, but consistently the hardest worker.
School: Binghamton University
Hometown: North Rockland, N.Y.
Shane has not only been a consistent four-year performer on the field for the Bearcats, he also has been a standout in the classroom and community. This past summer he spent over two weeks in Uganda with the Fields of Growth grassroots lacrosse program. While there, Shane ran lacrosse clinics, visited schools and orphanages, donated time to help the program build the 'Hopeful School' in Masaka. Since his return, he has committed himself to helping this cause and recruited his teammates to raise money for program. A senior midfielder and Captain, he has seen action in nearly 40 games over three-plus seasons while maintaining a 3.8 cumulative GPA.
School: Ohio State University
Hometown: Ijamsville, Md.
Trey has a vocal presence in the locker room and is looked at as a leader among his teammates. He is active in the community, both in Columbus and near his hometown of Ijamsville, Md. Trey is one of the first Buckeyes to volunteer when opportunities arise, donating his time to various causes including the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, the 2nd and 7 Foundation, the World War II Honor Flight activities, the Heinzerling Foundation and Lacrosse the Nations. When Ohio State hosted the Operation Military Kids Hero Camp, Wilkes was one of the main organizers of the lacrosse team's participation. On campus, he is a peer educator who speaks to various varsity teams on campus about current issues, including balancing athletics and academics and the social responsibilities of college student-athletes. A faceoff specialist, he puts his team and teammates first. Wilkes is a three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, as well as an Academic All-Big Ten and Academic All-ECAC choice.
School: University of North Carolina
Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
Zoe leads many community service projects and pushes her teammates behind-the-scenes. Last summer, she spent time in Vietnam with the Atlantic Coast Conference Student-Athletes Coach for College Teacher program, teaching English and coaching volleyball to 5th grade children in Southern Vietnam, an experience she calls one of the most enriching of her lifetime. Skinner is also the women's lacrosse liaison with Carolina Athletics Outreach in which she coordinates the team's volunteer efforts with UNC Hospitals, Murdoch Development Center, New Hope Elementary School, Share Your Christmas Foundation and UNCLaxForKellie. She does the same on the field, tirelessly working behind-the-scenes to improve her teammates in practice.
School: Temple University
Hometown: Sewell, N.J.
Jackie is described as a player filled with passion for lacrosse, for teammates, for play, and for life. Temple Lacrosse partners with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, which has given Jackie the opportunity to form relationships with critically-ill children and their families. She often leads the way in organizing Alex's Lemonade Stands, play dates, cards, phone calls and more to their adoptees. After suffering two season ending knee injuries in her junior and senior year, Jackie continues to be a huge contributor on the field for Temple, and has also inspired her teammates to be the best they can be from the sideline.
School: The College of William & Mary
Hometown: Charlottesville, Va.
Ellen dedicates her life to making a difference on and off of the field by her relentless hard work. A 4.0 student at William & Mary, Ellen is known for being a well rounded student-athlete. Outside of lacrosse, Ellen volunteers her time at the University of Virginia conducting research and working on analyzing data to improve clinical care of patients post surgery. She is pursuing an opportunity next semester to work at a health clinic to get an up-close and personal experience with medicine and patients. Ellen is a leader not only by example, but with her words of encouragement and competitiveness. In the game of lacrosse, she is always striving for excellence by training outside of practice to work on her stick skills, shooting, body language and vocal strengths as a leader.
School: University of Notre Dame
Hometown: Fulton, Md.
Molly's community service extends far and wide from South Bend, to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Uganda. She spent two weeks in the summer of 2012 in Uganda teaching lacrosse to young women in order to help instill values of confidence and independence. While in Uganda, Molly and her fellow student-athletes also helped build a school and assist the people living there in everyday life. During her time in South Bend, Molly is a part of the Student-Athlete Advisory Counsel (SAAC) where she has assisted in a variety of service projects including the Irish Experience League, Pediatric Christmas Party and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fundraising walk. Molly played in all 16 regular season games for the Irish this season and has been a solid contributor throughout her playing career.
School: University of Delaware
Hometown: Medford Lakes, N.J.Alex has played a tremendous role in reconnecting alumni with the Delaware Lacrosse family, first as a mentee in their mentoring program, and next as the leader for the program's Love the Game Around the World project. Last year as a freshman, Alex worked with her former mentor, now alumni, to launch an idea that turned into action by the current Alumni Board. Alex rallied her teammates around the service efforts of an alumni who is currently serving the mission efforts of the Musana orphanage in Uganda, Africa. Delaware now provides shelter, meals, educational opportunities and care for two orphans and helping to spread the game of lacrosse worldwide.