The One Love Foundation is pleased to announce that Kara Stroup of Temple University and Elijah Conte of the University of Delaware are the winners of the 2016 YRL Unsung Hero Award. The award is given annually to one male and one female Division I lacrosse player who demonstrate dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship – all qualities Yeardley Love exemplified throughout her life.
Kara and Elijah represent the best of college athletics, and were chosen from a pool of outstanding nominees. As winners of the award, they will receive a special bowl and the One Love Foundation will donate $250 to a charity of their choice.
Kara Stroup is a 2016 graduate and was a starting defender and captain of the Temple Women’s Lacrosse team. In addition to being a motivated and determined student-athlete, she is also a courageous advocate for mental health awareness. Kara struggled with depression and an eating disorder for many years in high school. With counseling and medical treatment, she has recovered, and has bravely shared her story with others in the hopes of breaking down the stigma around mental disorders. In doing so, she has been an inspiration to her team and the whole Temple community.
Temple coach Bonnie Rosen explains, “Kara is an amazing young woman who is truly making a difference in this world. I have no doubt that Kara not only helps to put a personal face to what mental health illness can do but that she also inspires young people to realize that they too can get through whatever darkness they are experiencing.”
A survivor of childhood cancer, Elijah Conte is a 2016 graduate of the University of Delaware, and a tri-captain and defenseman on the men’s lacrosse team. A lifelong athlete, Elijah has become an amazing role model for young people, and has used his platform as a student-athlete to help others. Elijah has forged special friendships with young cancer patients fighting a similar battle to his earlier experience, and has led his team’s efforts in raising money for the Headstrong Foundation. He also volunteers with McVey Mentoring and the B+ Foundation. Elijah is a true inspiration to all those who meet him.
Coach Bob Shillinghaw said “It is an honor and a pleasure for me to recommend Elijah Conte for the One Love YRL Unsung Hero Award. In my 42 years of coaching college lacrosse I have never met anyone so deserving of an award of this nature. Elijah is a terrific young man and has been a leader on our team, always providing a great example for our team and coaching staff.”
One Love profiled each of the ten YRL Unsung Hero Finalists this month. Each one has an amazing story and significant contributions to their teams and communities. The finalists were Conor McKemey of High Point University, James Chakey of Penn State, Joseph Radin of Marist, Bridget Vilbig of Ohio State, Mary-Sean Wilcox of University of Florida, Meg Gulmi of Cincinnati, and Brennan Donville and Maddie Kiep of Cornell.