The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Wednesday a list of 52 student-athletes who have been selected as 2018 Weaver-James-Corrigan Award recipients. Diver Dylan Grisell, beach volleyball player Vanessa Freire and softball’s Morgan Klaevemann have all been named ACC Postgraduate Scholars.
The student-athletes will be honored at the annual Cone Health ACC Postgraduate Scholarship Luncheon presented by ESPN on April 11. The luncheon will be hosted by the Nat Greene Kiwanis Club at the Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel Imperial Ballroom in Greensboro.
Since 1994, Florida State has had 55 student-athletes recognized as ACC Postgraduate Scholars.
The Weaver-James-Corrigan and Jim and Pat Thacker postgraduate scholarships are awarded to selected student-athletes who intend to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements. Each recipient will receive $6,000 toward his or her graduate education. Those honored have performed with distinction in both the classroom and their respective sport, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community.
A native of Toronto, Ont., and Biological Science major, Grisell became the first diver in Florida State history to earn back-to-back All-America honors on platform. At the 2016 NCAA Championships, Grisell placed seventh before taking ninth in 2017. He was awarded All-ACC accolades after winning silver on platform at the 2017 ACC Championships with a score of 391.95. Aside from competing at three NCAA meets, Grisell also performed in various international competitions for Canada, including the 2015 World University Games. Grisell was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American for At-large sports, earning third team honors in 2016 and second team in 2017. He was also a three-time All-ACC academic selection.
Freire is the third member of the beach volleyball team to receive the award in the same number of seasons. One of two senior captains this season, Freire’s 75 career dual wins ranks third all-time in Florida State history. She was most recently named the CCSA Preseason Player of the Year, and earned CCSA Tournament MVP honors in 2017 as she and her partner, Tory Paranagua, led the team to its second consecutive conference championship. The Windermere, Fla. native currently serves as the Vice President of Public Relations for the FSU Student-Athlete Advisory Council. Freire is one of only four beach players in program history to be a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll.
Klaevemann is an example of the true student-athlete. She has been an outstanding player on the diamond for Florida State softball, earning All-ACC First Team honors in each of her first three seasons, as well as receiving NFCA All-Region accolades each year, along with NFCA Second Team All-American honors in 2017. Even though we are in the first month of her senior season, she already ranks in the career top 10 in FSU history with 116 stolen bases (fourth), 112 walks (seventh) and 173 runs scored (seventh). Her career batting average of .379 is on pace to break the FSU record of .366, set by Shamalene Wilson from 1993-96. Academically, she has excelled in her major of Biological Science, receiving a spot on the All-ACC Academic Team each year. In 2017, she became just the second FSU softball player in program history to be named an NFCA All-American for her play on the field, as well as receive CoSIDA Academic All-America honors for her accomplishments in the classroom in the same season. Morgan has also made a significant impact in her community, helping serve throughout Tallahassee at local schools and picking up trash as part of FSU’s softball commitment to a local Adopt-A-Street program.
Senior Natalie Pierce was also one of nine student-athletes in the conference that will receive the Waver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award. She is the fastest breaststroker in Florida State history, owning both the 100 (58.25) and 200 (2:09.05) breast records in addition to being a part of both the 200 and 400 medley relay records. The Birmingham, Mich., native was the 2018 ACC champ in the 100 breast at 59.71 and runner-up in the 200 breast at a personal best of 2:09.05. Pierce was an All-American in 2017 after finishing fourth in the 100 breast at 58.25 at the NCAA Championships. Pierce was selected as the 2016-17 Golden Nole award winner and is a two-time All-ACC academic team member. She is majoring in international affairs.
The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award is named in honor of the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan, the first three ACC commissioners.
The league’s first commissioner, James H. Weaver, served the conference from 1954-70 after a stint as the Director of Athletics at Wake Forest University. His early leadership and uncompromising integrity are largely responsible for the excellent reputation enjoyed by the ACC today.
Robert C. James, a former University of Maryland football player, was named commissioner in 1971 and served in that capacity for 16 years. During his tenure, the league continued to grow in stature and became recognized as a national leader in athletics and academics, winning 23 national championships and maintaining standards of excellence in the classroom.
Eugene F. Corrigan assumed his role as the third full-time commissioner on September 1, 1987, and served until August of 1997. During Corrigan’s tenure, ACC schools captured 30 NCAA championships and two national football titles.
Prior to 1994, the Weaver-James postgraduate scholarships were awarded as separate honors. The Jim Weaver Award, which originated in 1970, recognized exceptional achievement on the playing field and in the classroom, while the Bob James Award, established in 1987, also honored outstanding student-athletes.