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Three are Zimmerman Award-Winners



Above: Holly Zimmerman Memorial Award winners (with plaques) Julie Pietrycha, Stephanie Johnson and Brittany Garnelis.

By Jennifer Catone/Sports Information Staff

Garnelis, Johnson, Pietrycha are recognized with memorial award

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Seniors Brittany Garnelis (Ellington) and Julie Pietrycha (Newington) and junior Stephanie Johnson (Plantsville) have been selected as 2012/13 recipients of the Holly E. Zimmerman Memorial Award. The selections were announced by committee co-chairmen Diana Pepin and Peter Maneggia and the awards were presented between games of a Jan. 26 women's and men's basketball doubleheader at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

This year's recipients bring to 34 the number of individuals recognized with the award, which is named in memory of the late Holly Zimmerman, an Andover native who attended Eastern between 1989 and 1993. She was a Health and Physical Education (HPE) major, basketball player, and student athletic trainer who passed away in 1993.

"This year's winners are very deserving recipients of this award," said Pepin, the current Eastern softball coach who was a close friend of Zimmerman when they were both undergraduates. "They are respected by the entire Eastern community for their commitment to their academics and their unselfishness and loyalty. There were many qualified candidates for this award, and the task of choosing the winners was difficult, but the committee felt that these three individuals stood apart."

Garnelis is a Sport & Leisure Management (SLM) major with a concentration in Sport Management and a minor in Coaching. She is a member of the competitive cheerleading squad and will be heading to Daytona, FL in April to compete in the nationals. She is a member of the SLM/HPE Club and is also a student athletic trainer. Garnelis has a 3.61 overall GPA and has been selected to for the Excellence Expo & Exercise Science College Bowl and is a recipient of the Connecticut Recreation & Parks Association Scholarship.

Following graduation, Garnelis hopes to intern with the South Windsor Parks and Recreation Dept.

"Brittany is one of the most honest and strong workers  who is always punctual and willing to help in any way that she can," noted athletic trainer Tom Holton. "She handles herself in a professional manner and takes the lead in getting things done, then looks for more to do."

Johnson is majoring in SLM with concentrations in Exercise Science and Sport Performance. Johnson is an outfielder and third-year member of the softball program and also is a student-assistant in the athletic training room. Johnson is planning on attending graduate school and pursuing a doctorate in Physical Therapy.

"Stephanie is a loyal teammate and one of the most dedicated and hardest-working individuals on the softball team," praised Pepin. "She has a passion for the sport and is a role model for newcomers. As a friend and former roommate of Holly's, I can think of no better person to receive this award."

 Pietrycha recently wound up a four-year career with the Eastern swimming program, serving as a team captain this year and as the program's only four-year letterwinner.  She is a Sport & Leisure Management major with a concentration in Exercise Science and minor in Business with an overall 2.83 GPA. Hoping to pursue an advanced career following graduation, Pietrycha is currently interning at ProCare Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Willimantic.

"Julie's determination and loyalty have shined over the years, showing most clearly in her dedication and work ethic in practice," said Eastern head swim coach Maureen Fahey. "Academically, she strives to be the best that she can be. She is an integral and well-respected member of the Eastern swimming family whose quiet sense of humor brightens the days of her teammates and coaches alike."

A nine-person committee comprised of coaches, faculty, staff and student-athletes selected this year's three winners from an original candidate pool of  nine.

Female undergraduates who are junior or senior Health and Physical Education or Sports and Leisure Management majors are eligible for the award. Candidates must have made significant contributions to the Eastern intercollegiate athletic program as either members of an athletic team or as student athletic trainers and have an overall grade-point average of at least 2.70. The candidates must reflect Holly's qualities of loyalty, thoughtfulness and academic determination.






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