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‘High expectations’: Athletics announces 2015 LEaD Huskies

January 30, 2015
Mary Grace Kelly

Mary Grace Kelly

Eight Northern Illinois University sophomore student-athletes have been named to the newest class of “LEaD Huskies.”

NIU Faculty Athletics Representative Matt Streb and Sean T. Frazier, associate vice president and director of Athletics made the announcement earlier this week.

Introduced in 2013, the Leadership Enhancement and Development – or LEaD – Huskie program is designed to identify younger student-athletes who have shown the ability to succeed academically and have potential to serve as leaders both on their respective teams and outside the classroom.

This year’s LEaD Huskies are Alex Elias (women’s soccer), Kayti Grable (softball), Richard Hall (men’s soccer), Mary Grace Kelly (volleyball), Megan Greenfield (gymnastics), Kali Kossakowski (softball), Taylor Perkins (cross country) and Shane Wimann (football). The group, who was nominated by their coaches and selected by Streb, Frazier and NIU Athletics senior administrators, boasts a cumulative GPA of 3.8.

“We have high expectations for this class of LEaD Huskies,” Streb said. “They have a combined GPA of 3.8 and many have already received impressive athletic accolades. They are model student-athletes and are excellent representatives of our athletics department. They truly represent our commitment to developing champions in the classroom, in competition and in life.”

Participants in the program are exposed to different resources designed to foster development of their leadership skills.

Richard Hall

Richard Hall

The student-athletes work closely with Streb and athletics administrators, interact with business leaders and others in their chosen careers and hear from guest lecturers in different disciplines. They receive guidance on how to put themselves in position to compete for NCAA and conference awards and scholarships, how to apply for admission in graduate school, and the best ways to prepare to enter the job market.

Each year, NIU coaches nominate one sophomore from their program to be chosen as a LEaD Huskie.

Nominees must excel in the classroom with a GPA at or above 3.5 and must be a candidate either currently or in the future for significant athletic awards, including all-conference and/or All-American recognition.

The 2014 LEaD Huskies are Cristina Alvarez (women’s tennis), Simon Formont (men’s tennis), Nicole Gobbo (women’s soccer), Drew Hare (football), Mackenzie Lewis (women’s soccer), Emily Naegele (softball), Leah Raffety (cross country), and Johnny Zubek (baseball). Additionally, the initial class of Frederic Cadieux (men’s tennis), Amanda Corral (women’s basketball), Lauren Noonan (women’s soccer), Dusty Page (men’s soccer), Mackenzie Roddy (volleyball), Amanda Stepp (gymnastics), Rob Sterling (football) and Nelle Youel (women’s tennis) are currently completing their senior seasons.

For more information on NIU athletics, visit