Tar Heels Honor Leaders of Distinction

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Twenty-six UNC student-athletes have been recognized as Tar Heel Leaders of Distinction, honoring their excellence within the framework of the Richard A. Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy. The 2021-22 class brings the total number of award winners to 352 over UNC’s 18 years of Leadership Academy programing.
The Leader of Distinction Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Leadership Academy and recognizes student-athletes for extraordinary leadership. Nominations may be submitted by coaches, staff and fellow student-athletes.
Three of the honorees – Ally Mastroianni (women’s lacrosse), Emma Trenchard (women’s lacrosse) and Rachel Jones (women’s soccer) – were recognized for the second year in a row. Most Leaders of Distinction are seniors, so two-time winners are rare, with this trio bringing the all-time total of two-time recipients to 32.

This year’s Leaders of Distinction span 16 different teams, with gymnastics (four), women’s lacrosse (three), women’s swimming & diving (three), rowing (two), men’s soccer (two), and women’s soccer (two) boasting multiple winners.
Over the course of the Leadership Academy’s history, Leaders of Distinction have come from all 28 of UNC’s varsity sports.
2021-22 Tar Heel Leaders of Distinction
Drew Aldridge        
Gymnastics • Los Angeles, Calif.
Tucker Burhans      
Swimming & Diving • Clemmons, N.C.
Brian Cernoch        
Tennis • Rockville, Md.
Aleigh Gambone   
Soccer • Clifton, Va.
Ryan Gerard
Golf • Raleigh, N.C.
Chris Gray    
Lacrosse • Wading River, N.Y.
Santiago Herrera   
Soccer • Barquismeto, Venezuela
Lilly Higgs    
Swimming & Diving • Cornelius, N.C.
Rachel Jones
Soccer • Lawrenceville, Ga.
Sophie Lindner       
Swimming & Diving • Matthews, N.C.
Julianna Love         
Gymnastics • San Diego, Calif.
Heidi Lowe  
Swimming & Diving• Cornelius, N.C.
Nicole Lu      
Golf • Taipei, Taiwan
Ally Mastroianni
Lacrosse • Martinsville, N.J.
Jaelynn Murray      
Basketball • Columbia, S.C.
Sarah Cate Niles    
Rowing • Cary, N.C.
Jamie Ortega          
Lacrosse • Centereach, N.Y.
Nik Pry          
Baseball • Pinehurst, N.C.
Alec Smir
Soccer • Greensboro, N.C.
Shailyn St. Brice     
Gymnastics • Mooresville, N.C.
Cassie Sumfest       
Field Hockey • Lewisburg, Pa.
Emery Summey    
Gymnastics • High Point, N.C.
Emma Trenchard  
Lacrosse • Windsor, Conn.
Alessandra de Vito
Rowing • Newton, Mass.
Madison Wiltrout
Track & Field • Connellsville, Pa.
Troy Yearwood
Track & Field • Chesapeake, Va.



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