Academic and Athletic Excellence

The Rams Club scholarship student-athletes earn Academic All-America honors in the 2020-21 academic year.

Chris Gray and Sara Daavettila stand side by side in front of a blue swath.

The Rams Club scholarship student-athletes earn Academic All-America honors in the 2020-21 academic year.

Chris Gray from men’s lacrosse and Sara Daavettila from women’s tennis (Photo by Jeffrey Camarati)

Four Tar Heel student-athletes earned Academic All-America honors, recognizing outstanding academic and athletic performance during the 2020-21 school year. The Academic All-America teams are selected and awarded by the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Sara Daavettila ’21 from women’s tennis and Chris Gray from men’s lacrosse both earned the recognition for the at-large teams, which cover the sports of beach volleyball, bowling, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, rowing, skiing, swimming/diving, tennis, men’s volleyball, water polo and wrestling. Gray was named to the men’s second team and Daavettila to the women’s third team.

They join two members of the women’s soccer team ­– Brianna Pinto ’22 and Rachel Jones ’21 – as The Rams Club scholarship student-athletes honored for their achievements on the field or court, as well as in the classroom. Pinto was named to the Academic All-America second team and Jones to the third team. UNC-Chapel Hill is one five schools nationally and the only one in the Atlantic Coast Conference with multiple honorees on the women’s soccer team.

Sara Daavettila
Daavettila, a communication studies major from Williamston, Michigan, was the recipient of the 2021 Honda Sport Award for women’s tennis. She ranks second in program history with 149 career singles victories and the only player in program history – and just the fourth from an ACC program – to reach the NCAA Singles Quarterfinals on three occasions. She was the 2021 ACC Player of the Year and a seven-time ITA All-America selection while helping UNC to four ACC Championships.

A member of three ITA National Team Indoor Championships and the 2019 ITA Fall National Championship singles titleist, Daavettila holds the distinction of being the only player to receive the ITA Indoor Tournament Most Outstanding Player on more than one occasion.

Chris Gray
Gray, a management & society major from Wading River, New York, was honored as the Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the ACC Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A consensus first-team All-America selection and a top-five finalist for the Tewaaraton Award as player of the year, he is the first Tar Heel to be named USILA Lt. Col. J.I. (Jack) Turnbull Outstanding Attackman of the Year. He set a program record for points in a season with 91, breaking a mark that had stood since 1973, and helped lead UNC to a share of the ACC Championship and to Championship Weekend for the first time since 2016.

An ACC Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, he will begin working toward his MBA at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School this fall.

Brianna Pinto
Pinto, a midfielder from Durham, North Carolina, was one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy as national player of the year. A two-time All-America first team selection, she earned All-ACC honors for the third year in a row and finished the 2020-21 season tied for third in the nation in points and goals. Pinto is a business administration major in the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. The third overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, she now plays for NJ/NY Gotham FC. She plans to earn her undergraduate degree in May of 2022.

Rachel Jones
Jones, a senior forward from Lawrenceville, Georgia, earned third-team All-America honors as well as first-team All-ACC and All-Region recognition. She ranked second on the team in goals (6), assists (6) and points (18) in 2020-21. Outside of soccer, she serves as president of UNC’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council and also serves on the conference SAAC. She was a 2021 recipient of UNC’s Top 10 Scholar-Athlete Award, which recognizes the top cumulative grade point averages among graduating student-athletes. She completed her degree in public policy in May 2021 and plans to begin her studies at the UNC School of Law while playing her final season of eligibility for Carolina this fall.

Scholarships at Carolina

The University made the bold commitment to raise $1 billion by December 31, 2022, to create opportunity through scholarships and fellowships for students who have earned their place at Carolina. Simply put, these are students Carolina needs in order to attract and retain the very best. Support scholarships to ensure that Carolina continues to set the bar for student achievement by recruiting, enrolling and retaining the most talented scholars from North Carolina and beyond.

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