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Five App State Student-Athletes Receive BCBS Finish Line Scholarship

Five App State student-athletes have been awarded the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) Finish Line Scholarship.

The scholarship was established to assist women student-athletes as they complete final years of competition and receive their degrees. Each recipient of the Finish Line Scholarship was nominated by their athletic program for exemplifying values of leadership, integrity and community. The recipients are McKenzie McCullen (softball), Mary Pierce Barnes (softball), Leah Hurwitz (field hockey), Elizabeth Fuller (cross country/track & field), and Jasmine Donohue (cross country/track & field).

“Working with North Carolina colleges and universities, Blue Cross NC is helping to level the playing field for women athletes,” said Cheryl Parquet, Director of Community Engagement and Marketing Activation for Blue Cross NC. “The Finish Line Scholarship program will not only assist the recipient student-athletes, but also support healthier and more inclusive communities across the state.”

“Thank you to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for their support of App State Athletics and our women student-athletes,” Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said. “These five scholarship recipients are among the many Mountaineers who excel academically and athletically and pave the way for future generations of women leaders and role models.”

Additionally, Blue Cross NC is awarding each scholarship recipients’ high school alma mater with funding to support the next generation of women athletes in North Carolina.

McCullen is a senior infielder from Durham, N.C. In her first season with the Mountaineers in 2022 she batted .281 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs, starting in all 52 games for the Black and Gold. “I am so grateful to have received this scholarship from Blue Cross NC,” McCullen said. “I am excited to be a leader as a female student-athlete to be a positive influence for those in my community and within my sport. I plan on using my major in psychology to work in the healthcare system once I graduate.”

A native of Waxhaw, N.C., Barnes started every game in center field for the Mountaineers and was an All-Sun Belt selection in 2022. She was second on the team in batting at .313, while notching nine doubles and driving in 36 runs on the season. A four-year starter, Barnes returns to the Mountaineers as a graduate student for the 2023 campaign. “I am very honored to receive this scholarship from Blue Cross NC,” Barnes said. “I am proud to shine light on the accomplishments of female athletes and I will do my best to be a positive role model.”

Hurwitz helped App State Field Hockey to the program’s first MAC Championship game appearance in 2022. The junior from Chapel Hill, N.C., played in 22 games this past season, helping the team to a program record-tying 14 wins, including a 10-game winning streak. “I am tremendously honored to have been selected for the Finish Line scholarship,” Hurwitz said. “The prospect of being a leader to my teammates and other student-athletes at App State is exciting and I look forward to positively impacting the field hockey team, the art department and my community.”

A senior from Broughton, N.C., Fuller was part of the 4×400-meter relay team that placed eighth at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships last spring. She also competed individually in the 400 meters and 800 meters. “I am extremely honored to receive this scholarship from Blue Cross NC,” Fuller said. “It makes me even more excited to make a difference in my community, explore future healthcare professions, and lead my fellow student-athletes into the upcoming track season.”

Donohue finished fifth at the Sun Belt Championships in the 1,500 meters last spring after posting top-10 finishes earlier in the season at the Charlotte 49er classic and the War Eagle Invitational. She was named the Sun Belt Track Athlete of the Week after clocking a personal best in the 5,000 meters at the Duke Invitational. “I am exceptionally grateful to have received this scholarship from Blue Cross NC,” Donohue said. “My leadership contributions to the athletics program here at App State and being among the female athletes will be beneficial to my career in healthcare as a nurse after completing my education at App State. “