May 24, 2004
New York, NY - Rebecca Brakeley of Middlebury College, Gail Decker of James Madison University and Theresa Sherry of Princeton University have been named finalists for the inaugural Diane Geppi-Aikens Scholarship awarded by CSTV: College Sports Television to the senior women's college lacrosse player who has excelled on and off the field. The winner will be announced at the Tewaaraton Trophy Awards Dinner Thursday, June 3 at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. College Sports TV will televise the ceremony Thursday, July 1, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
The $5,000 scholarship honors the student-athlete who has displayed the same extraordinary leadership, character and perseverance exhibited by Geppi-Aikens, the Hall of Fame coach of the Loyola (Md.) women's lacrosse team who passed away last summer from brain cancer just weeks after leading the Greyhounds to the NCAA Final Four.
"Diane Geppi-Aikens displayed a tremendous amount of grace, dignity and courage in leading her Loyola teams to success on the field while battling cancer and raising a family off it," said Brian Bedol, president and CEO, CSTV. "We were privileged to have followed Coach and her team in its drive for a national championship last season. She was an inspiration to all who met her, and we feel that this scholarship is the most fitting way of honoring her memory."
The 2004 Diane Geppi-Aikens Scholarship Finalists
Rebecca Brakeley, Senior, Defender, Middlebury: MVP of the Division III national championship game as the undefeated Panthers captured its fifth national title...carries a 3.7 grade point average as a neuroscience major and has been awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship...plans to attend medical school...captain of Middlebury's women's lacrosse and field hockey teams...led the field hockey team to the 2003 NCAA national championship game...an artist whose sketches of the Middlebury Panther mascot grace school stationary.
Gail Decker, Senior, Midfielder, James Madison: 2004 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year...broke several school records, including career goals (201), points (267), starts (75) and game-winning goals (11)...led the nation in points per game and goals per game this season...a team captain and four-year starter...named All-Conference the past three seasons...carries a 3.5 grade point average as a speech communications major, with a minor in human resource development...led JMU to the NCAA quarterfinals this month.
Theresa Sherry, Senior, Attack/Midfielder, Princeton: two-time first-team All-American and the 2004 Ivy League Player of the Year...will finish her career among the Top 5 in Princeton history in both goals and points...a team captain...scored game-winning goal in overtime in last year's NCAA Championship game...anthropology major...also a starter on the Princeton women's soccer team which has advanced to the NCAAs in each of her four years...has sung the national anthem before all of Princeton's regular season home soccer and lacrosse games.
Diane Geppi-Aikens was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2002 after having cancerous brain tumors removed on three previous occasions. She coached the 2003 season in a wheelchair. College Sports TV chronicled Loyola's memorable 2003 season in its documentary, Season of Hope: The Diane Geppi-Aikens Story, which followed Geppi-Aikens and her team on the sidelines during games and practices, on the team bus, in the locker room and at home. She passed away on June 29, 2003, at the age of 40.
The Diane Geppi-Aikens Legacy
Over 15 seasons at Loyola, Geppi-Aikens posted a 197-71 record, guiding her teams to 10 NCAA Tournaments appearances, seven trips to the Final Four and one National Championship GameShe won three National Coach of the Year awards, and produced 35 All-Americans and three Academic All-Americans.
In 2003, she led Loyola to its most successful season ever, running up a 15-1 regular season record and #1-ranking heading into the NCAA tournament, where it defeated Maryland-Baltimore County and Yale before losing to Princeton in the Final Four.
As a student-athlete at Loyola, Geppi-Aikens was an All-American lacrosse goalie and also lettered in volleyball.
CSTV's establishment of the Diane Geppi-Aikens Scholarship is part of the network's commitment to covering and promoting women's college sports, and women's lacrosse in particular. The network is televising the NCAA Division I, II and III Women's Lacrosse Championships this season as part of its CSTV Lacrosse package. CSTV Lacrosse's regular season schedule included games featuring each of the 2004 Women's Final Four teams - Princeton (2003 champion), Georgetown, Virginia and Vanderbilt, as well as other prominent women's programs such as Maryland, Penn State and Ohio State. College Sports TV is also televising the Women's US Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates National Championship. The CSTV Lacrosse regular season schedule was produced in partnership with US Lacrosse, the national governing body of lacrosse.