For the last three years (and four out of five), the NCAA’s Woman of the Year winner has been a swimmer. The odds of continuing that trend in 2012 got a whole lot tougher, as just three swimmers advanced from 430 nominees down to the top 10 from each division (30 total): Indiana’s Margaux Farrell, Sarah Jane Otey from the U.S. Cost Guard Academy, and Alisa Vereshchagin from Kenyon College.
In September, this will be narrowed to nine finalists (three from each division) who will be invited to Indianapolis for an awards ceremony on October 14th, where the 2012 Woman of the Year will be crowned.
This award is designed to encompass every possible aspect of the ideal of the student-athlete. The 30 finalists combined with a 3.87 cumulative GPA in their college careers; 20 NCAA Championships and 110 All-American awards; and they volunteered for 375 organizations while in college.
Among the three swimming finalists is Indiana’s Margaux Farrell. The middle-distance freestyle specialist placed 11th at the NCAA Championships last season in the 200 free, and represented France in London at the Summer Olympics. There, she took a bronze medal as part of France’s 800 free relay. She held a 3.84 GPA, and will now head to USC to pursue a Masters in broadcast journalism.
Otey, from the Division III Cost Guard Academy, is an NCAA Championship qualifier both as a swimmer, and as a member of the crew team (her focus this past season was rowing). Aside from the obvious leadership as a member of one of the military academies, for the duration of the 2009-2010 school year, she traveled to Peru on a humanitarian trip. She was also named the 2012 recipient of the Elite 89 Award at the Division III rowing championships, meaning she had the highest GPA of any senior who qualified for the championship event.
Vereshchagin is a member of the powerful Division III program at Kenyon, and has two individual National Championships to her name: the 200 breaststroke in 2009, and the 100 in 2011. As a senior, she was a first-team member of the Capital One All-American squad, holding a 3.79 GPA double majoring in biology and modern languages and literature. She also volunteered with Special Olympics and the Humane Society, and all of these accomplishments led to her winning the prestigious Pam Smith Award (the North Coast Athletic Conference’s equivalent of the Woman of the Year honor).
All three, along with the other 27 selections, would make fine winners of the award.
Past Winners of Woman of the Year Award:
- 1991 – Mary Beth Riley, Canisius College
- 1992 – Catherine Byrne, University of Tennessee
- 1993 – Nnenna Lynch, Villanova University
- 1994 – Tanya Jones, University of Arizona
- 1995 – Rebecca Lobo, University of Connecticut
- 1996 – Billie Winsett-Fletcher, University of Nebraska
- 1997 – Lisa Coole, University of Georgia
- 1998 – Peggy Boutilier, University of Virginia
- 1999 – Jamila Demby, University of California, Davis
- 2000 – Kristy Kowal, University of Georgia
- 2001 – Kimberly A. Black, University of Georgia
- 2002 – Tanisha Silas, University of California, Davis
- 2003 – Ashley Jo Rowatt Karpinos, Kenyon College
Full List of 2012 Nomineees
|Hillary Bach||I||Pac-12 Conference||Arizona State University||Softball|
|Chyna Balonick||II||Independent||Humboldt State University||Cross Country|
|Sharwil Bell||III||Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference||Rhodes College||Basketball|
|Simone Childs-Walker||III||Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Carleton College||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field|
|Christie Hope||II||Great Lakes Valley Conference||University of Wisconsin, Parkside||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field|
|Grace Collins||II||Sunshine State Conference||Barry University||Softball|
|Margo Cramer||III||New England Small College Athletic Conference||Middlebury College||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field|
|Margaux Farrell||I||Big Ten Conference||Indiana University, Bloomington||Swimming and Diving|
|Danielle Foxhoven||I||West Coast Conference||University of Portland||Soccer|
|Kate Griewisch||II||South Atlantic Conference||Lenoir-Rhyne University||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field|
|Stacey Hagensen||III||Northwest Conference||Pacific Lutheran University||Softball|
|Jazmyne Hefflefinger||I||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conf.||Delaware State University||Bowling|
|Kristin Hoffman||I||Mid-American Conference||Northern Illinois University||Volleyball|
|Kendra Huettl||II||Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference||Minnesota State University, Mankato||Softball|
|Glory Johnson||I||Southeastern Conference||University of Tennessee, Knoxville||Basketball|
|Rebecca Kamp||III||Michigan Intercol. Ath. Assn.||Calvin College||Volleyball|
|Kelsey Kittleson||III||Iowa Intercol. Athletic Conf.||Luther College||Softball|
|Lopez Mimendi Sofia||II||South Atlantic Conference||Lincoln Memorial University||Cross Country, Tennis|
|Christina Muir||II||Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||Ferris State University||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field|
|Sarah Jane Otey||III||New England Women’s & Men’s Athletic Conference||U.S. Coast Guard Academy||Rowing, Swimming and Diving|
|Brooke Pancake||I||Southeastern Conference||University of Alabama||Golf|
|Alexi Pappas||I||The Ivy League||Dartmouth College||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field|
|Elizabeth Phillips||III||University Athletic Association||Washington University (Missouri)||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field|
|Verena Preikshas||II||Independent||California State University, Stanislaus||Tennis|
|Tanya Schmidt||I||West Coast Conference||Santa Clara University||Volleyball|
|Carol Cayo Smith||III||Northern Athletics Conference||Milwaukee School of Engineering||Basketball, Tennis, Outdoor Track and Field|
|Neely Spence||II||Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference||Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field|
|Alisa Vereshchagin||III||North Coast Athletic Conference||Kenyon College||Swimming and Diving|
|Rebecca Wade||I||Conference USA||Rice University||Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track|
|Anne Wethe||II||California Collegiate Athletic Association||University of California, San Diego||Soccer|