NCAA Taps Alums For 'Top 6' Honor

Clark, Leary Among 12 Finalists

Two Harvard graduates joined the company of two Olympic athletes and three NCAA champions as finalists for the acclaimed NCAA Today's Top Six Award.

Three-sport dynamo Ceci Clark '92 and All-America women's lacrosse goalie Sarah Leary '92 are two of 12 finalists who will complete for the award, which will be presented at the NCAA conference in Dallas this January.

Other finalists include Olympic gymnasts Scott Keswick and Missy Marlowe, NCAA track star Steve Holman, and 1992 woman's basketball player of the year Susan Robinson.

The award is given to the six collegiate athletes who have displayed exceptional qualities in sports, academics and extracurricular activities. The NCAA will nominate six additional candidates before choosing the winners.

"[Clark and Leary] are very deserving," women's lacrosse coach Carole Kleinfelder said. "They were leaders at Harvard for the four years that they were here."


Clark, who was chosen by Radcliffe as one of the two top female athletes last year, excelled in three sports: field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse.

"I've never seen anyone with her natural talent," said women's lacrosse player Brooke Earley. "She's fast and she's strong and she's smart."

"She was probably one of the most selfless people I know," said teammate Francie Walton. "She was a quiet but effective leader."

An All-America and Ivy League Player of the Year in field hockey and lacrosse, Clark guided the field hockey team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance and the lacrosse team to three NCAA finals in four years.

During her time at Harvard, Clark also volunteered in homeless shelters and schools. She now teaches high school in Alexandria, Va.

Leary, the Crimson's starting lacrosse goalie for three years and last year's National Goaltender of the Year, was twice a First Team All-American and three-time All-Ivy selection.

"Intensity--that's the word," Earley said of Leary's performance on the field. "She's very honest and direct and she expects a high level of performance from everyone."

As an active member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Foundation for Women's Athletics, Leary organized its annual phone-a-thon and other activities promoting women's athletics.

Although both Harvard candidates may fit all the Top Six qualifications, chances are only one will join this year's group.

"They look strong to me compared to the others, but both come from the same school and the same sport," Kleinfelder said.

"I hope that won't be held against them," she said, "but I'm afraid it may be."

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