Our Sports Reign On NCAA Woman of the Year Award Nominee List

According to a press release, NCAA member schools nominated 535 female student-athletes for the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE PRESS RELEASE ON NCAA.ORG

Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award is rooted in Title IX and recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their NCAA eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.

The nominees competed in 24 sports across all three NCAA divisions, including 251 nominees from Division I, 107 from Division II and 177 from Division III. Multisport student-athletes account for 141 of the nominees.

A whopping 128 of those nominees competed in indoor track & field, 112 competed in outdoor track & field and 51 competed in cross country. Breaking it down further, 111 of those nominees competed in both indoor track & field and outdoor track & field, while 43 were involved in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field.

Two of the past three winners of the NCAA Woman of the Year Award were track & field athletes: Angela Mercurio of Nebraska in 2019; Keturah Orji of Georgia in 2018 (You might remember that Orji also won The Bowerman that year).

Dating back to 1991, 11 winners competed in at least one of our sports, including three of the first four recipients: Mary Beth Riley of Canisius in the inaugural year of 1991; Nnenna Lynch of Villanova in 1993; Tanya Hughes of Arizona in 1994.

Past Winners of NCAA Woman of the Year Award

Name
Program
Sport(s)
Year
Mary Beth Riley
Canisius
Cross Country
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
1991
Nnenna Lynch
Villanova
Cross Country
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
1993
Tanya Hughes
Arizona
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
1994
Jamilia Demby
UC Davis
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
1999
Tanisha Silas
UC Davis
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
2002
Anne Bersagel
Wake Forest
Cross Country
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
2006
Laura Bariot
Stevens
Swimming & Diving
Outdoor Track & Field
2011
Elizabeth Phillips
WashU
Cross Country
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
2012
Ifeatu Okafor
Texas Tecg
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
2013
Keturah Orji
Georgia
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
2018
Angela Mercurio
Nebraska
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field
2019

The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female college athletes by nominating them for the Woman of the Year award. Schools can recognize two nominees if at least one is a woman of color or international student-athlete.

Next, conferences will select up to two nominees each from their pool of member school nominees. All nominees who compete in a sport not sponsored by their school’s primary conference, as well as associate conference nominees and independent nominees, will be considered by a selection committee. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose 10 women from each division to make up the Top 30.

The selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division from the Top 30, and the nine finalists will be announced this fall. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will choose the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year later this fall