DURHAM, N.C. - Three-time NCAA Champion Becca Ward has
been selected as the winner of the ACC's Mary Garber Award, earning the
distinction as the conference's top female athlete of 2011-12 as voted on by
members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Ward claimed the 23rd Mary Garber Award alongside Boston
College football player Luke Kuechly, who was named the Anthony J. McKevlin
Award winner as the league's top male athlete. Ward is the first winner to earn
her acclaim entirely for achievement in a sport outside of ACC championship certification
A native of Portland, Ore., Ward is the first three-time
individual NCAA Champion in Duke athletics history, winning the 2009, 2011 and
2012 NCAA Women's Saber Championships. She is Duke's fourth recipient of the
Mary Garber Award and the winner of Duke's sixth such award overall, joining a
list that includes Vanessa Webb (women's tennis, 1998), Alana Beard (women's
basketball, 2003 & 2004) and Lindsey Harding (women's basketball, 2007).
Also the first fencer in league history to win the award,
Ward was a Capital One Academic All-America first team selection as a senior
and graduated from Duke with a degree in public policy.
A bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing,
China, Ward leaves Duke University as one of the most decorated
student-athletes in school history. The Mary Garber Award is the latest in a
number of accolades for Duke fencing's all-time wins leader, adding to a list
that includes NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, ACC Postgraduate
Scholarship recipient, two CoSIDA Academic All-District III citations and the
honor of Duke Female Student-Athlete of the Year.
Ward finished her four-year Duke career with a 272-7
(.975) record, setting the program record for career wins and wins in a season.
During her four years in Durham, she took the Duke fencing program to new
heights, leading the Blue Devils to a 10th-place NCAA finish in 2010, ninth
place in 2011 and ninth place again in 2012 for the program's first top-10
finishes. Additionally, the Duke women's fencing team set school wins records
during her final three years and cracked the USFCA Coaches Poll Top-10 this
The McKevlin and Garber awards are given in memory of
distinguished journalists from the region. McKevlin was a sports editor in
Raleigh, N.C., and Garber, of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, was a pioneer
as one of the first female sports journalists in the country.
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