The NCAA announced the 9 finalists for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year program today. As per the rules of the program, the 9 finalists are made up of 3 athletes from each of the 3 NCAA divisions. One swimmer made the final cut: Hannah Orbach-Mandel, a Division III star from Kenyon College.
Orbach-Mandel just finished up her senior season with Kenyon this past Spring, winning two NCAA Division III titles in her final campaign. She won 3 NCAA titles in total, all of which were relay titles. In 2018, Orbach-Mandel was on the title-winning 400 medley relay, and in 2019 she was a member of the winning 400 and 800 free relays. Individually, Orbach-Mandel had 8 top-8 finishes at DIII NCAAs, with a high-finish of 2nd in the 500 free in 2018 (her junior year). Her efforts at NCAAs assisted Kenyon in earning 3 runner-up team titles.
She also won 8 North Coast Athletic Conference titles during her 4 years at Kenyon, helping the Ladies to 3 conference team titles. Orbach-Mandel set 4 Kenyon team records during her NCAA career, and currently holds 3 NCAC records as well.
Outside of the pool, Orbach-Mandel has also been wildly successful. She was named the recipient of Kenyon’s North Coast Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete Award. Orbach-Mandel was twice-named a CoSIDA Google Cloud Academic All-American, and a was a 4-time CSCAA Scholar All-American. She was also a 3-time member of the NCAA Academic Honor Roll, a member of the Kenyon Merit List, and was inducted to both the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society and Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honor society. Additionally, Orbach-Mandel was awarded an NCAA post-graduate scholarship, a prestigious scholarship that is only awarded to a maximum of 126 student-athletes every year.
In terms of Orbach-Mandel’s extracurricular activities, she was a member of Kenyon’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council this past year, volunteered at Salvation Army, a local elementary school, participated in the NCAC Branch Rickey Mentorship Program, and was a Kenyon orientation team leader.
“When I was informed that I had made it to the top-nine, it brought me to tears because I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. I am so proud of everything I was able to achieve while at Kenyon and being recognized for this award just adds to those feelings of pride,” said Orbach-Mandel of making the final 9. “However, this honor is the result of the support and love of many people: my family, friends, coaches, teammates and professors. I am so grateful for the people in my life now and while I was at Kenyon, because through all the ups and downs, their support has been unwavering.”
Kenyon head swim coach Jess Book gave her thoughts on Orbach-Mandel’s advancement as well. “At this level of recognition, the women being honored are exceptional in all facets of their lives. Hannah is as amazing as anyone I’ve worked with: she is passionate, compassionate, driven and dedicated. Where she distinguishes herself is in her joy for sport. Hannah treated swimming like a close friend. Someone to laugh with, someone to cry with, someone to celebrate, and someone worth her love. She is as amazing as anyone we’ve worked with, and I am very proud to see her recognized by the NCAA.”
Kenyon Swimming and Diving has had an excellent track record with the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Since 2003, 8 Kenyon swimmers have made the top 30, seven of which went on to make the top 9.
There were 3 other swimmers this year who made the top 30 cut for the award, but didn’t advance to the top 9: Anelise Diener (Texas – DI), Colleen Doolan (Tufts – DIII), and Franzi Weidner (Hawaii – DI).
There will be a ceremony on October 20th in Indianapolis, where the top 30 will be celebrated, and the winner will be announced.
Here are the rest of the top 9 finalists by division:
- Virginia Elena Carta – Duke University/Golf
- Angela Mercurio – University of Nebraska, Lincoln/Track & Field
- Ginny Thrasher – West Virginia University/Rifle
- Chelsea Abreu – Adelphi University/Lacrosse
- Krissy Ortiz – Lynn University/Golf
- Hailey Tucker – Southwestern Oklahoma State University/Basketball
- Monica Feeley – Vassar College/Field Hockey
- Marin McCoy – Swarthmore College/Soccer