INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Blugolds.com) - The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced its 2012 fall sports postgraduate scholarship winners March 18, naming former UW-Eau Claire volleyball and track & field member Liz Amici (Whitewater, Wis.) as one of the 29 male and 29 female student-athletes to receive the prestigious award.
"I'm honored to have been selected to receive this scholarship and appreciate all the help I received from (UW-Eau Claire coaches and faculty members) Kim Wudi, Jill Prushiek, Leslie Huntington and Rhetta Standifer during the nomination process and throughout my time at UW-Eau Claire," Amici said. "It's great to continue to see the benefits of playing collegiate sports while also being a dedicated student. As with any athletic award, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish anything without my teammates, coaches, family and friends."
To qualify for the scholarship, student-athletes must excel academically and athletically, be in their final year of eligibility and plan to pursue graduate study. Student-athletes must also maintain at least a 3.2 grade-point average and be nominated by their institution's faculty athletics representative. Created in 1964, NCAA postgraduate scholarships promote and encourage education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes.
"Liz is one of the most dedicated and passionate individuals I have encountered," head volleyball coach Kim Wudi said. "Her commitment to excellence is second to none, and she is most deserving of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship."
A four-time letterwinner in both women's track & field and volleyball, Liz Amici was the WIAC Player of the Year in volleyball and an AVCA second-team All-American middle hitter as a senior. She served as team captain for volleyball in both 2010 and 2011 while she was a track & field team captain during the 2011-12 season.
She was a multi-event performer in track, earning All-American honors in 2011 with a seventh-place finish in the pentathlon.
A two-time All-Conference selection in volleyball, Amici ranks third on the Blugolds' all-time career total blocks list with 418, third in block assists with 361 and 12th in attack percentage (.290). She led the team in blocking in 2009, 2010 and 2011 while leading the team in kills in 2011, a season she also earned team MVP honors.
"Few individuals could have achieved what Liz has with the grace and humility that she possesses," Wudi said. "Even as an alumnus, she continues to set an example for future Blugold student-athletes, and I am very proud to have had the opportunity to be her coach."
Academically, Amici was selected to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team while earning CoSIDA Academic All-District honors for volleyball in 2011. A business management major, Amici graduated with a 3.79 GPA in December 2011. She earned a Distinguished Management Major Award in 2011.
Outside the classroom, Amici was a volunteer coach for Eau Claire Air Volleyball Club in 2011-12. She was also a building manager in the McPhee Physical Education Center for three years (2009-2012). Amici interned for the Chippewa Valley Predators football team in 2010-11, the Minnesota Vikings in 2011 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the summer of 2012.
In the fall of 2012, she was one of three winners of UW-Eau Claire Athletics' inaugural Sandy Schumacher Courage Award, which is presented to a female Blugold student-athlete who, when confronted with a life-altering situation, used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event.
Currently, Amici is pursuing a Master's degree in Sport Management at the University of Minnesota. Last fall, she interned with the Golden Gophers, and in January, she accepted a full-time position at Target Field, where she serves as the Premium Suites Coordinator.
"Her achievements in volleyball and track & field only define part of who Liz really is," UW-Eau Claire professor and Faculty Athletics Representative Jill Prushiek said. "She carries her charismatic leadership style, effective communication skills and her strong work ethic to her work off the court and into the classroom. She is truly deserving of this award."
The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women (more than 450,000 student-athletes compete in the NCAA annually). The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants of $7,500 that can be used for research, books, tuition and other educational expenses at any graduate school.