May 11, 2012

Stirling and Washnock Earn NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released its 2012 winter postgraduate scholarship winners and Washington and Lee claimed two honorees among the 29 Division I, II and III men that were recognized.

Senior swimmers Brian Stirling (Skillman, N.J./Montgomery) and Chris Washnock (Greer, S.C./Greenville) were both tabbed to receive the scholarship for participation in a winter sport.  They join senior women's soccer player Kat Lawson (White Post, Va./Clarke County) who was awarded a scholarship in the fall, giving W&L three scholarship winners this school year, a new record at W&L.  The Generals have had 17 scholarship winners in the last nine years and 36 W&L athletes have been honored since 1970.

A neuroscience major, Stirling was a four-year letterwinner for the Generals, serving as a team captain for his senior year and earning First Team All-Bluegrass Mountain Conference honors all four years.  He holds the school record in the 100 butterfly (49.07) and was a member of the record-setting 200 medley (1:32.14) and 400 medley (3:24.93) relay teams.

"I am thrilled to have been awarded this scholarship," said Stirling.  "The award will surely help alleviate the costs for my graduate education.  I am indebted to my professors and coaches for nominating me and helping me reach my goals.  I couldn't be any more ecstatic that my teammate and friend, Chris, also received this honor.  We have been swimming competitively for most of our lives, and it feels great to end our last season on a high note."

Stirling competed at the NCAA Division III Championships all four seasons, earning All-America honors five times.  He garnered All-America laurels four times during the 2012 championship event, finishing ninth in the 100 butterfly and swimming on the ninth-place 200 freestyle relay team, the 10th-place 200 medley relay team and the 15th-place 400 medley relay team.

Stirling's future plans include working as a neuroscience technician at Dartmouth College for the next two years while applying to the school's neuroscience PhD program.

Washnock also earned four letters and served as a team captain for his final season.  A 2011 Capital One Third Team Academic All-America selection, he also received First Team All-Bluegrass Mountain Conference accolades all four years.  A religion and Spanish double-major, he competed at the NCAA Championships every year at W&L, earning All-America honors a total of five times.

The school record holder in the 200 backstroke (1:49.25), the 200 individual medley (1:53.91) and the 400 individual medley (4:00.03), Washnock finished 12th in the 200 backstroke and 14th in the 400 individual medley to earn All-America honors twice at the 2012 NCAA Championships.

"I am excited that W&L boasts three NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners this year, including two from the men's swim team, as it is not only a thrilling moment for me, but also testament to the power and support of the W&L academic and athletic programs," said Washnock.  "I am grateful for the support of my professors, coaches, and teammates who have guided me through the past four years in Lexington, and I plan to use my scholarship to fund a two-year master of arts in religion degree at Yale Divinity School, enrolling in the fall."

The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. Scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.

The one-time grants of $7,500 each are awarded for fall sports, winter sports and spring sports. Each sports season (fall, winter, spring), there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 scholarships for women. The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants.

--GENERALS--