COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Rachelle Beanlands (women’s soccer) and Michael McCarney (men’s lacrosse) have been named the University of Maryland’s 2016 Big Ten Medal of Honor award winners, announced Tuesday.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor is the conference's most exclusive award and was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." Big Ten schools currently feature almost 9,500 student-athletes, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100 years of the Medal of Honor, almost 1,400 student-athletes have earned this distinction.
A four-year letterwinner for the Maryland women’s soccer team, Beanlands will graduate in May with a 3.8 GPA with a double major in neurobiology and environmental sciences. Beanlands was a five-time academic all-conference honoree who earned national recognition in 2014 when she was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team.
“It’s an incredible honor to be selected among a great group of elite student athletes,” Beanlands said. “We have an extremely high standard for athletics as well as academics. I’m incredibly thankful to have been selected.”
The Ottawa, Ontario native is one of the most decorated goalkeepers in Maryland women’s soccer history, holding the school’s all-time records in games played and started by a goalkeeper (78), and minutes played by a goalkeeper (7,019). She sits third in career saves (274), fourth in goals against average (1.10) and fourth in shutouts (18.2).
McCarney is a four-year letterwinner for the Maryland men’s lacrosse team set to graduate in May with a 3.71 GPA in finance. A three-time academic all-conference honoree, McCarney has also been on Maryland’s Honor Roll six time and the Dean’s List five times. He serves as the men’s lacrosse team’s community service chair, in addition to being involved with Meals on Wheels, Soup Kitchen and Boy Scout volunteer work.
“It’s really special to be selected among all my peers here at the University of Maryland,” McCarney said. “We have a great group of student athletes so to be able to represent them is truly an honor.”
The Dallas, Texas, native has been a part of one of the most successful classes in Maryland men’s lacrosse history, which needs just one more win to tie the program record for most victories over a four-year span. McCarney, who has played more than 40 games for the Terrapins, has helped lead Maryland to back-to-back NCAA Final Fours.
“Rachelle and Michael are a pair of outstanding representatives of the University of Maryland,” said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. We take great pride in their tremendous accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. They are exceptional role models and leaders who have made significant impacts as student-athletes during their time In College Park.”
"I would like to congratulate Rachelle and Michael on this very prestigious honor ,” Dr. Nick Hadley, faculty athletics representative, said. “They have continued to uphold the standard of excellence established in Maryland Athletics.”
The Big Ten, the nation's oldest collegiate conference, is commemorating the 102st anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2016.