Craig, Longland and Anastassatos Win Give Back Like Jack Awards

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RENO, Nev. – Softball’s Ariel Craig, swimming and diving’s Nikki Longland and Wolf Pack specials events director Kim Anastassatos are the winners of the University of Nevada’s 2013-14 Give Back Like Jack Community Service Awards.

Nevada Athletics presents its Give Back Like Jack Community Service Awards annually to the student-athlete and staff member who best exemplify the dedication to community service that was the hallmark of longtime Reno and Sparks philanthropist Jack Reviglio’s life. This year marks the first time that two student-athletes have shared the award.

“Ariel, Nikki and Kim all share the commitment the Reviglio family has to community service, and we are thrilled to present them with the Give Back Like Jack Award,” Nevada Director of Athletics Doug Knuth said. “It is so important to give back to the people of northern Nevada who support our student-athletes, teams and athletics department so much.”

A senior pitcher on the Wolf Pack softball team, Craig performed more than 175 hours of community service this year. The Poway, Calif., native spent 169 hours at Renown Children’s Hospital and participated in other events at the Ronald McDonald House, the Boys and Girls Club and Stead Elementary School. Craig is expected to earn her degree in human development and family studies this spring and has plans to pursue a career as a child life development specialist.

“Ariel has been a productive member of our program for four years now,” said Matt Meuchel, the Wolf Pack softball coach. “She struggled academically for her first year but has turned it around and has been an excellent student since then. She has been a leader in our community service much of her career and is a great student-athlete.”

A local product from Sparks, Longland is a certified emergency medical technician and has volunteered more than 350 hours in the Northern Nevada Medical Emergency Room and more than 60 hours as a volunteer in the Student Outreach Clinic on campus. An Academic All-Mountain West honoree, she has also participated in team community service activities such as the pen-pal program with Mt. Rose Elementary School, Reading Week at local elementary schools, Holiday Helpers through the Boys and Girls Club, food packing at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and the tissue balloon races at the Great Reno Balloon Races. Longland expects to earn her degree in biology this spring and will start medical school at the University of Nevada in August.

“Nikki’s commitment to the Reno-Sparks community is outstanding,” Nevada swimming and diving head coach Abby Steketee said. “As a certified EMT, Nikki has put that certification to use on campus and in the community. The entire swimming and diving team is extremely proud of Nikki’s unique contribution to the community.”

Anastassatos has dedicated herself to serving the community throughout her career as the coach of Nevada’s spirit program and as the director of special events. She and her team contributed 889 hours of community service in 2013-14, volunteering at numerous events and venues, including the Reno-Tahoe Open, the Reno Rodeo, the Boys and Girls Club and Relay for Life just to name a few.

“Kim always goes the extra mile to engage the community with the Wolf Pack,” said Mike Samuels, associate athletics director for external operations. “As our head cheer coach, she is always willing to send her team out into the community to help generate exposure and good will. She never says no to any request and always goes above and beyond to ensure we are well represented.”

The winners will each receive a plaque commemorating the honor, while a plaque honoring all recipients is displayed prominently in the Hall of Champions at Legacy Hall.

Past winners include men’s basketball student-athlete Keith Fuetsch and women’s basketball coach Jane Albright in 2012, and women’s basketball student-athlete Aja Johnson and women’s swimming and diving coach Abby Steketee in 2013.