CHAPEL HILL – UNC field hockey star Loren Shealy has been named Sports Illustrated’s inaugural female College Athlete of the Year in recognition of her success on and off the field.

“My immediate reaction is that it’s really exciting but also a little embarrassing because it’s a lot of attention,” Shealy said.

The junior from Charlotte is majoring in business and is a member of the prestigious Robertson Scholars program, through which she attends Duke in addition to UNC. She just finished her semester in Durham.

“I like to call it going behind enemy lines. In front of UNC fans, I’ve always hated Duke,” she said. “But it is an amazing campus and the professors are awesome.”

Shealy commuted five hours a week between the two campuses, while also traveling for field hockey.

“It’s a lot of time management to be honest. It’s looking at your schedule a week in advance,” she said. “You have to make the tough decisions to stay in and study as opposed to doing something else. But it is very doable if you set your mind to it.”

Shealy graduated early from high school and enrolled at UNC in the spring of 2011. In the fall, she was named the Heels’ rookie of the year.

Last season she ranked second on the team in goals (16), helping Carolina reach the NCAA final for the fourth straight year and claim their second consecutive ACC title.

Shealy also won the Elite 89 award, given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average participating at each of the NCAA championship sites.

“I’m really excited not only for me but for the sport of field hockey and the University of North Carolina,” Shealy said.

To top it all off, she was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team as well as the All-ACC Academic Team this past Spring.