SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University Department of Athletics paid tribute to the 28th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day on the evening of January 30, celebrating this year’s theme, “Passing the Torch, Blazing the Trail”. The Lions celebrated for the 24th straight year on University Campus by honoring Jen Adams, renowned women’s lacrosse player and head women’s lacrosse coach at Loyola University Maryland, as this year’s recipient of the Saint Leo Women in Sport Achievement Award.
Saint Leo, which has one of the longest-running Girls and Women in Sports Day celebrations in the state of Florida, honored Adams as the 21st recipient of the award. Along with honoring Adams, the Department of Athletics celebrated the hard work and dedication Saint Leo female student-athletes put into their academics and athletic programs day in and day out.
The celebration included the presentation of the Saint Leo University Dining Services Scholarships, awarded to one female student-athlete from each varsity team. The scholarships this year were awarded to Melissa Jackson (Basketball), Natalie McCormick (Cross Country), Alyssa Barrett (Golf), Katie Krause (Lacrosse), Christina Lodato (Softball), Victoria Ecker (Soccer), Rachael Cunio (Swimming), Katy Zaatini (Tennis), and Yaidi Santiago (Volleyball).
The final student-athlete award for the evening, the Elaine
Evans Spirit of Saint Leo Award, was bestowed upon women’s
golfer, Heather Petronis.
Formerly the Spirit of Saint Leo Award, the honor was renamed the Elaine Evans Spirit of Saint Leo Award in 2004 after the untimely passing of women’s basketball player Elaine Evans. The honor is presented annually to a female student-athlete for her contributions to the community, and is presented to an individual who goes above and beyond what is asked of her while showing the true spirit of the University’s core values. The award was presented by Elaine Evans’ father, Phil, as well as scholarship benefactor Dr. Bob Cabot.
The event culminated with the final award of the evening, the 2014 Saint Leo Women in Sports Achievement Award, given to Jen Adams.
Regarded as the finest female lacrosse player of all time, Adams has put together arguably the greatest collegiate women’s lacrosse career in the sport’s history, leading the University of Maryland to four-straight national titles from 1998-2001, including a 21-0 record in 1999 and a 23-0 mark in 2001.
In her four year career, she racked up honors just as fast as she scored goals, and for her efforts she has been named to the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse 25th Anniversary Team in April 2007, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
A native of Brighton, Australia, Adams was named a three-time national attacker of the year, and was the first female recipient of the Tewaaraton Trophy in 2001, honoring her as the nation’s best female lacrosse player. In addition, Adams was a three time All-American, 2000 and 2001 Honda/Broderick Award for women’s lacrosse excellence on the field and in the classroom, CoSIDA Academic All American, and two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Female Athlete of the Year.
She finished her storied career with 267 goals, 178 assists, and 445 total points. Her marks for total points stands today as an NCAA record, and her goals total still holds at her alma mater.
Adams’ efforts were not done yet, as she continued her success on the international level, leading the Australian National team to gold medals in the U-19 World Championships in 1995, and World Cup in 2005. In addition she helped Team Australia to two silver medals in the 2009 and 2013 World Cups.
In 2004, Adams decided to Pass the Torch and enter the coaching realm. She had stints at the University of Denver and Maryland, before becoming the head coach of the Greyhounds at Loyola University of Maryland.
In five seasons, she has guided Loyola to two BIG EAST Championships (2011 and 2012), and three consecutive NCAA Championship appearances where the Greyhounds have won their first round of the tournament for a school-record three-straight seasons. In addition, she has led Loyola to a 27-12 BIG EAST record, and a 4-2 BIG EAST Tournament mark, all while securing a career record of 64-31 as a head coach, a mark that places her among the top-25 winningest active coaches.
On National Girls and Women in Sports Day, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students, and parents across the country show their support of the Day and of this year's theme, "Girls in Sports, and Investment in the Future." It is through various scholarships and awards that Saint Leo honors and thanks those who have made a lasting impact on women’s sports for years to come.