DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University student-athletes Jacob Kasper and Lisa Maguire have been honored as National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Athletes of the Year. The duo are two of 500 All-American Athletes of the Year for the 2017-18 school year representing 230 schools and were nominated by Alex Merrill, assistant sports performance coach at Duke.
The All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year Award program recognizes collegiate and high school athletes whose athletic accomplishments, in the opinion of their strength coach, reflect their dedication to strength training and conditioning. These athletes are also recognized for their academic and personal accomplishments and their integrity as student-athletes.
Kasper, a three-time All-ACC honoree, had a memorable senior season in capturing his second All-America award with a career-best fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Along the way to his podium finish, Kasper broke the Duke single-season wins record with 38 victories and became the fourth Blue Devil to reach 100 career wins. The 2018 ACC Champion at heavyweight, Kasper went undefeated in league action and lost just two matches during the regular season. He completed his career with a 107-38 record and left his name in the Duke history book as the lone Blue Devil to win a Southern Scuffle title after he captured a second consecutive crown in 2018. Equally as successful in the classroom, Kasper earned his third NWCA All-Academic selection and also was named to the All-ACC Academic Team for the fourth time.
“Jacob has made one of the biggest transformations I’ve seen during my time at Duke,” said Merrill. “He came in as freshman who wrestled at 184 pounds and is now a two-time All-America at Heavyweight. The time and dedication he placed on his training is a major reason why he is now the winningest wrestler in Duke history. Not only did he lead the team on the mat, but he did so in the weight room as well. I couldn’t be more proud of our time together these last five years.”
Maguire, a four-year letterwinner with the Blue Devils, has been a part of two ACC Championship squads, while appearing in 32 career tournaments. She helped the Blue Devils advance to the match play semifinals as a freshman and to NCAA appearances each of her four seasons. A native of Cavan, Ireland, Maguire owns two top 20 finishes at Duke.
“Seeing Lisa develop over the last four years has been a true pleasure,” commented Merrill. “As a freshman, I could see the drive and determination Lisa had to become a great athlete. Very few golfers push themselves to the limits that Lisa does with her training and I'm honored I have been able to witness her development, in the weight room, and on the golf course.”