Nine finalists are trying to succeed 2009 honoree Lacey Nymeyer as the NCAA Woman of the Year.
NCAA selects top 30 honorees for the 2010 Woman of the Year: The top 30 honorees for the 2010 NCAA Woman of the Year award have been named by a committee of representatives from various NCAA schools and conferences. Read more »
NCAA announces conference Woman of the Year honorees: More than 100 NCAA student-athletes representing multiple sports and all three divisions have been selected as Woman of the Year nominees by their conferences and by independent institutions. Read more »
The NCAA has selected nine finalists for the 2010 Woman of the Year award.
The Woman of the Year award honors female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate career in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, community service and leadership.
A committee of representatives from NCAA schools and conferences selected the top nine finalists from a pool of 30 honorees. Those individuals were identified from an initial pool of 452 conference and independent honorees representing all three NCAA divisions and multiple sports.
The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the national winner. The recipient of the 20th annual award will be announced during the 2010 NCAA Woman of the Year awards event, to be held Oct. 17 in the Indiana Convention Center's 500 Ballroom.
The 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year was University of Arizona women's swimming student-athlete Lacey Nymeyer.
Woman of the Year finalists include:
Lisa Koll, Iowa State University
Conference: Big 12 Conference
Sports: Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Excerpt from personal statement: “I have learned there is no substitute for passion or teamwork and that being a part of something greater than one’s self is unsurpassed in its ability to generate connections between people.”
Koll, a cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field student-athlete, was the first woman to win four straight Big 12 Conference titles in the same event (10,000 from 2007-2010). Koll is the all-time women's collegiate record holder in the 10,000 meters (31:18:07), and the fifth person to win the national title in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, the same year, a record that hadn't been touched since 1998.
Koll graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in biology. While a student at Iowa State, she was ranked in the highest two percent in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences during her sophomore, junior and senior years.
A seven-time Big 12 First-Team Academic All-Conference recipient, Koll was named the Women's Division I Outdoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2008. She served three years as team captain and regularly participates in motivational and outreach presentations for youth.
Brittany Rogers, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
Conference: Southeastern Conference
Major: Elementary Education
Excerpt from personal statement: “It would be inaccurate to claim I am the person I am today purely by my own exertion, for I am simply a piece of the puzzle, a representation of the incredible mentors I encountered in my lifetime.”
A four-time all-SEC First Team member, Rogers was named the 2006 SEC Freshman of the Year and selected for the SEC All-Tournament Team. In addition, Rogers was selected to the SEC All-Defensive Team for two consecutive years and was a top- 25 finalist for the USA Softball Player of the Year. Her team made appearances in the 2008 and 2009 Women's College World Series and she was named to the 2009 Women's College World Series All-Tournament Team. She was also named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association First Team All-American in 2008.
Rogers' community service involvement includes three years of coordinating the Alabama softball team's Project Angel Tree, and the Halloween Extravaganza for local children. Rogers also remains active in the community by speaking to young softball players and youth at various elementary schools.
Rogers, a recipient of the Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar award, and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, has appeared on the University of Alabama's President's List and Dean's List multiple times. An elementary education major, she was a member of the campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years and served as the organization's president for 2008-09.
Justine Schluntz, University of Arizona
Conference: Pacific-10 Conference
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Sport: Swimming and Diving
Excerpt from personal statement: “Studying engineering as a female generated many challenges, but by working through these, I learned to persevere in the face of adversity in any setting.”
After suffering a season-ending injury her freshman year, Justine Schluntz began to mentor younger athletes and get involved in the community around her. Justine has volunteered for Big Brothers/Big Sisters for two years, taught swim lessons to children and volunteered with Casa de los Ninos, in which she spent time with children and helped distribute Christmas gifts.
Schluntz, a 2010 Rhodes Scholar, will research the viability of harnessing tidal energy from the oceans to use as a renewable resource at Oxford University. She was a finalist for the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship and the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. The University of Arizona presented Schluntz with the Robie Medal at commencement, which is given to a student who exhibits “promise for the future.”
Schluntz was an NCAA National Champion for the 200- and 400-meter medley relay two consecutive years and was named to the Pac-10 First Team All-Academic Swim Team for three consecutive years. A 16-time NCAA all-American, she helped Arizona win the 2008 Division I women's team championship.
In addition to being named Athletics Academic Champion and Distinguished Scholar, she was named the Athletics Valedictorian at the University of Arizona and graduated summa cum laude.
Lyndsay McBride, University of Indianapolis
Conference: Great Lakes Valley Conference
Major: Graphic Design
Excerpt from personal statement: “If you would have told me my freshman year that I would become a national champion and an All-American, start a non-profit organization or go to Africa, I would have laughed. I have learned how much you can accomplish just by taking all the little steps to get where you want to be, inch by inch.”
McBride is the co-founder of Inches International which is an effort to raise money for scholarships to support schools and hospitals in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The idea to create the nonprofit was conceived after McBride and a classmate traveled to Liberia to assist in the building of a school.
Chosen as the Freshman Art Student of the Year, McBride has used her artwork to raise $34,000 for the Elkhart Women's Care Center. McBride was selected to the GLVC Academic All-Conference Team, and to the University of Indianapolis dean's list her freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years.
McBride, a recipient of the H. Merrill Underwood Art Department Scholarship, was 2009 NCAA Division II women‟s golf national champion and the 2010 GLVC Women's Golfer of the Year. She was a member of the campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as the women‟s golf student-athlete representative.
Mary Slinger, Concordia University, St. Paul
Conference: Northern Sun Intercollegiate League
Excerpt from personal statement: “Trust humanity—I believe trust to be the most important transferrable quality that I gained via sports. I leave many aspects of my life up to faith and believe to be better because of it.”
Slinger owns the title for the most all-time digs in Concordia's history, finishing her career with 2,349 digs. A member of the Concordia volleyball team that was NCAA Division II champion in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Slinger was a 2009 American Volleyball Coaches Association First Team All-American and voted NSIL Libero of the Year three times.
She participated in two service trips – one to Guatemala and the other to Nicaragua. Slinger was a member of the Tetra Delta Science Club for four years during which she served stints as vice president and president.
A recipient of an NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award, Slinger also received the Willis R. Kelly Scholar Athlete award which is provided to the NSIC top female student-athlete. A dean's list student, Slinger was a President's Scholarship recipient 2006-10 and a 2009 First Team Academic All-American.
Natalja Stanski, Grand Valley State University
Conference: Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Major: Biomedical Science
Excerpt from personal statement: “Throughout my four years in college, I have been privileged enough to enjoy numerous experiences that have greatly shaped the person I am today. As an athlete in particular, I learned a lot about my ability to persevere, as my struggles with injuries allowed me to test the limits of my fortitude.”
A 2009 NCAA Elite 88 Award recipient, Stanski was a Metropolitan Hospital Child Life volunteer, tutored other student-athletes in math and science at the Student Support Center, was a member of Athetes Who Care, and was named to the Grand Valley State dean's list all four years.
Stanski received the GLIAC Commissioner's Award in 2008 and 2009 and was the Becky Wilson Award Winner for Academic Excellence (soccer) in 2008 and 2009. She was named 2009 ESPN the Magazine Scholar Athlete of the Year (First Team Academic All-American). In addition, Stanski was named to the 2007, 2008 and 2009 GLIAC All-Academic Team.
A defender and team captain, Stanski was a member of Grand Valley State's 2009 NCAA Division II national championship team.
Hannah Baker, Wartburg College
Conference: Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Sports: Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
Excerpt from personal statement: “…I have had the privilege of working alongside individuals with varying backgrounds and beliefs. This opportunity has shown me the value of diversity and challenge of utilizing various leadership styles toward a common goal.”
A three-year member of the conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee who served as president in 2009-10, Baker received an NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Award for co-leading, designing and organizing Kids' Day 'n Knight Multi-Sport Clinic.
Chosen as the Class of 2010 graduation speaker at Wartburg, Baker was a three-year team captain, represented her school at the NCAA Regional Leadership Conference and received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
She was a four-time national champion in the 4x400 meters, claiming the 2007, 2008 and 2009 outdoor championships and 2009 indoor championship in that event. Baker was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American First Team in 2009.
Melissa Mackley, Gustavus Adolphus College
Conference: Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Sport: Ice Hockey
Excerpt from personal statement: “Becoming an active student leader has propelled me to discover my passions. I have developed a sense of creativity and innovation, skills that I have used to aid others in finding their passions.”
A Habitat for Humanity volunteer and four-year member of Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, Mackley is a recipient of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and made the Gustavus Adolphus dean's list every semester.
A member of Gustavus Adolphus' 2010 Division III women's ice hockey semifinals team (third-place game), Mackley was a two-time team captain, was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America First Team, and is a four-time MIAC conference champion. She was named to the All-Conference First Team in 2008-09 and 2009-10, was selected to the MIAC All-Rookie Team in 2006-07, and was awarded MIAC Player of the Week honors twice in 2008-09 and once in 2009-10.
The Gustavus Adolphus Student-Athlete of the Month for January 2009 and February 2010, Mackley was named to the American Hockey Coaches Association All-America First Team in 2008-09 and 2009-10 and received her team's Most Valuable Player Award in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Ruth Westby, Emory University
Conference: University Athletic Association
Major: Environmental Science/Political Science
Sport: Swimming and Diving
Excerpt from personal statement: “The opportunity for a balanced experience at Emory appealed to me. I worked unconditionally in the pool but actually spent most of my time in the library, and while my teammates became my family, I loved meeting people who were dedicated in other ways.”
A five-time NCAA champion in the 50-meter freestyle in 2008, 200- and 800-meter freestyle relays in 2009, and 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays in 2010, Westby was also named a seven-time all-American in 2010 and was the most decorated swimmer in school history with 27 All-American certificates out of 28 possible events.
Westby was named to the dean's list four times and was twice selected a team captain. She received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and volunteered for the Special Olympics. She was also a 100 Senior honoree, awarded by the Emory Alumni Association for up to 100 students in the senior class for being excellent models of citizenship and leadership.
Among her other activities, she mentored incoming freshmen at Emory, participated in fund-raising for the Court-Appointed Special Advocate Association and Cystic Fibrosis, served on a committee for Relay for Life, took part in the Emory Ethics Department's Summer Servant Leadership program and studied community conservancies during a month-long trip to Africa.