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2002 NCAA Woman of the Year

Tanisha Silas, University of California, Davis

 

UC Davis runner wins 'life race' with NCAA recognition

By Kay Hawes, The NCAA News, November 11, 2002

 

Tanisha Silas 2002 NCAA Woman of the Year

Tanisha Silas' specialty was the 400 meters, but it is her performance in the race of life that makes her stand out.

Silas, a former track student-athlete at the University of California, Davis, was named the 2002 NCAA Woman of the Year November 2 in Indianapolis.

A six-time all-American and three-time conference champion, Silas also graduated with honors in neurobiology, physiology and behavior -- all while volunteering as a peer counselor and as an intern in the pediatrics emergency room at the UC Davis medical center.

"By far this is the biggest honor I have ever received," Silas said when she accepted the award.

Silas also noted the need to advance women's athletics further. "Young women's athletics has come a long way, and if we all keep working together as a team, there's no limit to what we can accomplish."

It's a long way from the ghetto of Vallejo, California, to the stage of the Westin in Indianapolis at the 2002 NCAA Woman of the Year dinner, but it's a path that Silas set out on while she was very young. Now a medical student at UC Davis, Silas is fulfilling a dream she's had since junior high. She plans to become a family doctor and help those who need medical care the most.

"I saw a real need in my community for health care," she said. "People don't have insurance, so often they go without care."

But long before she even enrolled in college, Silas had to endure the violence and poverty of her childhood surroundings. Her brother and her best friend were murdered, and her dad was a foster parent, so she had a constantly changing cast of foster siblings.

"Drug dealers and prostitutes were common in my neighborhood," Silas said. "It was an unforgiving environment for a young girl who dared to dream of being the first in her family to go to college. Athletics was my escape from reality, something I initially did because I didn't want to go home after school."

Silas funneled that need to escape into her schoolwork and her running, where she excelled at both. She joined the track team at UC Davis and ran in the 400 meters and in the 1,600-meter relay. On the academic side, she posted four quarters with a perfect grade-point average and 15 consecutive quarters above a 3.000.

Far from being even a two-dimensional person, though, she also performed with the UC Davis Gospel Choir and sang for California Gov. Gray Davis' Healing Day in remembrance of the 9-11 victims.

When the choice was performing with the choir at Carnegie Hall in 2001 or competing in the NCAA championships, she chose athletics, helping lead her team to a tie for fourth in Division II.

"Nationals or Carnegie Hall? I just couldn't imagine letting down my coach, who had done so much for me and had supported me through so many things," Silas said.

When Silas accepted the award, she thanked her coach as well as an extraordinarily large number of family members, friends and mentors for their support. Without their assistance, Silas said, she wouldn't have her degree, her all-American titles or her future as a doctor.

"You know that cliche, 'it takes a village to raise a child' -- well, it really does take a village, particularly in the neighborhood where I grew up," she said. "I wouldn't be where I am today without the love and support of all of those people."

Silas credits her own ability to dream for her determination.

"I know my strength has been God and my ability to believe in myself. If you can envision it and picture it in your mind, you are one step closer," she said.

"Athletics has given me essential life tools that could not be learned in a classroom -- as well as the keys to achieve my dream. Medical school is my next relay. I'm confident I will thrive there because of my experiences as a student-athlete. Someday, when I am working as a family practitioner in an underserved community, I'll have one word of advice for other young girls: dream!"

Silas is the second student-athlete from UC Davis to be named NCAA Woman of the Year. Jamila Demby, also a track all-American, received the honor in 1999.

A winner worthy of recognition

The 2003 NCAA Woman of the Year, Tanisha Silas from the University of California, Davis, has an impressive list of accomplishments in academics, athletics and community service.

Academics

  • First-year medical student at the University of California, Davis, medical school.
  • Graduated with highest honors with an undergraduate degree in neurobiology, physiology and behavior.
  • Won UC Davis Division of Biological Sciences Departmental Citation of Academic Excellence in 2002.
  • Completed honors thesis project focusing on macaque monkeys' vocalization and neural processing.
  • Won outstanding senior leadership award in 2001 and was named a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society.
  • Won Arthur Ashe Jr. National Sports Scholar Award in 2000.
  • Was a member of the dean's list from 1998 to the conclusion of her undergraduate degree.
  • Performed with UC Davis Gospel Choir an average of five times per quarter. Recorded a CD with the choir in 2002.

Athletics

  • Competed in indoor and outdoor track and field, becoming a six-time all-American and three-time conference champion.
  • Served as captain of the track and field team.
  • Helped lead her team to fourth-place finish in Division II in indoor track in 2001 and a fifth-place finish in outdoor track in 2000 and 2001.
  • Qualified for the NCAA outdoor track tournament in the 400-meter run in 2001.
  • Helped set a school record in the 2001 indoor 1,600-meter relay.
  • Helped set a school record in the 2000 outdoor 1,600-meter relay.
  • Ranks third in school history in the 400-meter run.

Community Service

  • Volunteered as an intern in the pediatrics emergency room and in the geriatrics department. Fed, bathed and comforted patients suffering from diabetes, HIV and the after-effects of strokes and heart attacks.
  • Served as a peer counselor to other student-athletes, giving presentations on topics ranging from time management to eating disorders.
  • Served as a track and field clinic instructor for the Special Olympics, training coaches to work with children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.
  • Coordinated volunteers from the track team to assist the Shriner's Hospital at its annual Thanksgiving outreach program.
  • Chaired the UC Davis Reception Committee for a celebration of the school's African-American graduates, which hosts 2,000 attendees each year. Duties included organizing the ceremony, fund-raising a budget of $13,000, managing the publicity for the event and choosing the speakers.
  • Coordinated volunteers from UC Davis to work at the Davis Stampede Road Race.

 

Woman of the Year finalists have achievement in common

The NCAA News, September 16, 2002

2002 NCAA Woman of the Year finalists

Ten finalists have been selected for the 2002 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which recognizes young women for their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community service.

The 10 finalists are: Shannon A. Bowles, University of Utah -- gymnastics; Ann Marie Brooks, University of Missouri, Columbia -- cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field; Morgan Buckner, Ferris State University -- volleyball and indoor and outdoor track and field; Alison Connolly, Middlebury College -- lacrosse and soccer; Angela Knopf, Colorado State University -- volleyball; Anna Denise Mickelson, University of Washington -- rowing; Sarah Moe, Gustavus Adolphus College, ice hockey; Jaimeeganleong "Jamie" Soohoo Reynolds, Cornell University -- lacrosse and volleyball; Katie C. Ryan, Boston College -- cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field; and Tanisha E. Silas, University of California, Davis -- indoor and outdoor track and field.

Following are some of the accomplishments of the 10 finalists.

Shannon A. Bowles
University of Utah
Gymnastics

  • Five-time all-American who led Utah to the NCAA championships in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002.
  • Named NCAA North Central Region 2002 Gymnast of the Year and Mountain West Conference Student-Athlete of the Year.
  • 2002 NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient.
  • Received James "Bud" Jack Scholar-Athlete Award as graduating female student-athlete at Utah with the highest grade-point average.
  • Graduated cum laude with majors in psychology and exercise and sports science.
  • Volunteered at Rape Recovery Center and with the Utah Men Against Sexual Violence.
  • Helped raise funds for National Adoption Exchange and also volunteered with children affected by the program.

Ann Marie Brooks
University of Missouri, Columbia
Indoor/outdoor track and field, cross country

  • Four time all-American in track and cross country. Served as captain for both track and cross country teams her senior year.
  • 2001 Big 12 Conference champion in the 5,000-meter run.
  • Led indoor track team to seventh place in NCAA championships in 2001 and led cross country team to third place in Big 12 Conference in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
  • 2001 Verizon At-Large Academic All-American; four-time GTE/Verizon District VII selection.
  • Graduated summa cum laude with degree in plant science and received a Big 12 Conference postgraduate scholarship.
  • Earned life sciences undergraduate research grant and was chosen as a Curator's Scholar and Bright Flight Scholar.
  • Active member of the Missouri Horticultural Club.
  • Volunteered for Boone County Council on Aging and assisted handicapped children and adults in riding horses for therapy.

Morgan Buckner
Ferris State University
Volleyball, indoor/outdoor track and field

  • Volleyball and track and field team captain.
  • Led track team to third-place finish in the conference and 15th overall in Division II indoor championships.
  • Named Ferris State's Most Valuable Athlete for 2002; won Ferris Award for outstanding female student-athlete of 2001-02.
  • Graduated with high distinction with majors in applied speech communication and recreation leadership management.
  • First-team Verizon Academic All-American for track in 2002. All-conference academic pick in volleyball and track.
  • Served as chapter president of Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society and earned national collegiate communication awards in 2001 and 2002.
  • Is a registered official with the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
  • Served as longtime volunteer at a children's home and as a volunteer guide at a wildlife center.

Alison Connolly
Middlebury College
Lacrosse, soccer

  • Led lacrosse team to Division III national championships in 1999, 2001 and 2002. Team captain for soccer in 1999-00 and lacrosse in 2001-02.
  • All-American as a defender in lacrosse and as a goalkeeper in soccer.
  • NCAA all-tournament team member in lacrosse in 2002. Also named as Inside Lacrosse Defender of the Year.
  • * Graduated summa cum laude in economics.
  • Member of Phi Beta Kappa and winner of Christian A. Johnson Prize in Economics, awarded each year to the Middlebury student graduating with the highest grade-point average in economics.
  • Winner of the Hazeltine-Klevenow Memorial Trophy, awarded each year to the Middlebury student best combining ability in athletics and excellence in scholarship.
  • Earned honorable mention in Ohio State University's national undergraduate essay contest in economics for essay, "Improving Current Policy to Effectively Reduce Overfishing."
  • Organized, planned and coached at soccer youth clinic. Also coached at lacrosse youth clinic and created program curriculum for junior sailing program.

Angela Knopf
Colorado State University
Volleyball

  • Member of the 2002 USA National Volleyball Team.
  • * All-time Colorado State leader in volleyball hitting percentage, service aces, total blocks and block assists.
  • Team captain and two-time first-team all-American. Led team to round-of-16 appearances in 1999, 2000 and 2001 Division I Women's Volleyball Championships.
  • Chosen as most valuable player for women's volleyball in the Mountain West Conference in 2001 and 2000.
  • Academic All-American in 2001 and 2000.
  • Dean's list honoree in mathematics 1998 - 2001.
  • Organized service project at community food bank, read to elementary students every week for a year and volunteered with prison ministry.

Anna Denise Mickelson
University of Washington
Rowing

  • Three-time NCAA champion and member of the United States National Rowing Team's Elite Eight that placed fourth at the World Championships in Switzerland.
  • Led Washington to NCAA titles in 2001 and 1999 and a runner-up finish in 2002.
  • Two-time all-American and two-time all-conference pick who began her career at Washington as a walk-on.
  • Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association National Scholar-Athlete for the West Region.
  • First-team Pacific-10 Conference academic selection in 2002, 2001 and 2000.
  • Served as secretary for Washington Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
  • Student leader for Athletes in Action, teaching sports to children. Also led Athletes in Action bible studies, volunteered with Adopt-a-Family programs and helped the homeless.

Sarah Moe
Gustavus Adolphus College
Ice hockey

  • Division III and Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
  • Team captain and two-time all-American. Led her team to third-place finish in NCAA championship in 2002 and first place in the conference from 1999 to 2002.
  • Graduated magna cum laude in psychology and criminal justice.
  • Member of Phi Beta Kappa and honor societies in psychology and political science.
  • 2002 first-team Verizon Academic All-American.
  • Member of Gustavus Adolphus Student Senate and Student-Athletic Advisory Committee.
  • Assisted juvenile delinquents at community learning center; served as victim advocate for organization assisting victims of sexual assault; and mentored young hockey players as part of the Hockey Buddy program.

Jaimeeganleong "Jaimee" Soohoo Reynolds
Cornell University
Lacrosse, volleyball

  • Four-time all-American in lacrosse and member of the NCAA 2002 all-tournament team.
  • Led Cornell's lacrosse team to winningest four-year period in school history and the program's first two NCAA tournament appearances.
  • * Ended lacrosse career as Cornell's all-time leader in goals, points, ground balls and draw controls.
  • Ended senior volleyball season in the top 10 in the Ivy Group in assists and service aces.
  • Verizon Academic All-American in lacrosse and volleyball.
  • Recipient of the Richie Moran Red Key Leadership Award for outstanding senior athlete (in academics, athletics and ambassadorship) at Cornell.
  • Inducted into Cornell's Quill & Dagger Senior Honor Society. Also a member of Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Society and the Golden Key National Honor Society.
  • Served as teaching assistant for chemical engineering class at Cornell; built houses with Habitat for Humanity; and tutored elementary and college students.

Katie C. Ryan
Boston College
Indoor/outdoor track and field, cross country

  • * Two-time all-American in cross country. Served as captain for cross country and track teams.
  • Led cross country team to fourth-place NCAA finish and first-place conference finish in 2000.
  • Graduated cum laude in information systems and mathematics.
  • 2002 first-team Verizon Academic All-District.
  • Three-time Boston College Outstanding Female Scholar-Athlete. Winner of 2002 Boston College Leadership Award. 2002 Winner of Boston College Eagle of the Year.
  • Member of Pi Mu Epsilon National Mathematics Honor Society and Golden Key National Honor Society.
  • Volunteered with Meals on Wheels; tutored at Boston College Neighborhood Center; and served as pen pal to youngsters as part of student-athlete advisory board project.

Tanisha E. Silas
University of California, Davis
Indoor/outdoor track and field

  • Six-time all-American and three-time conference champion. Captain of track team.
  • Helped lead team to fourth-place finish in Division II in indoor track in 2001 and fifth-place finish in outdoor track in 2000 and 2001.
  • Graduated with highest honors with degree in neurobiology, physiology and behavior.
  • Won UC Davis Division of Biological Sciences Departmental Citation of Academic Excellence in 2002.
  • Completed honors thesis project focusing on macaque monkeys' vocalization and neural processing.
  • Performed with UC Davis Gospel Choir an average of five times per quarter. Recorded a CD with the choir in 2002.
  • Volunteered as intern in pediatrics emergency room and in geriatrics department. Fed, bathed and comforted patients suffering from diabetes, HIV and the after-effects of strokes and heart attacks.
  • Served as instructor for Special Olympics; coordinated volunteers from track team to assist Shriner's Hospital; coordinated volunteers from UC Davis to work at the Davis Stampede Road Race; and served as peer counselor to other student-athletes, giving presentations on topics ranging from time management to eating disorders.

 

State winners selected for 2002 Woman of the Year award

The NCAA News, September 2, 2012

2002 NCAA Woman of the Year logo

The NCAA has chosen 50 Woman of the Year state winners for 2002. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia were represented. Wyoming was the only state from which there were no nominations.

The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics and community leadership.

The state winners this year represent 16 different sports, with 27 student-athletes chosen from Division I, 12 from Division II and 11 from Division III.

Each member institution was invited to submit a nominee. For the third year, schools were permitted to nominate two candidates

if one of the candidates was an ethnic minority. Twenty-seven schools did so, down from 28 last year.

This year, 342 student-athletes were nominated, with 175 of those nominations from Division I, 62 from Division II and 105 from Division III.

A committee composed of representatives from member schools selected the state winners, and that same committee will select 10 finalists from among those winners. Selections are based on grade-point averages, athletics achievements and community service.

The 10 finalists will be announced in the September 16 issue of The NCAA News.

A national winner will be selected by the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics from among the 10 finalists. That winner will be announced at the 2002 NCAA Woman of the Year dinner November 2 at the Westin Indianapolis Hotel in Indianapolis.

Last year's national winner was Kimberly A. Black, a swimmer from the University of Georgia.

Woman of the Year State Winners

STATE

NOMINEE

SCHOOL

SPORT

Alabama

Andree Pickens

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Gymnastics

Alaska

Aurore de Maulmont

University of Alaska Anchorage

Skiing

Arizona

Brianna Glenn

University of Arizona

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Arkansas

Mary Hamner

University of Central Arkansas

Tennis

California

Tanisha E. Silas

University of California, Davis

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Colorado

Angela Knopf

Colorado State University

Volleyball

Connecticut

Suzanne Bird

University of Connecticut

Basketball

Delaware

Aimee Alexander

University of Delaware

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Cross Country

District of Columbia

Devin McCalla

George Washington University

Gymnastics

Florida

Michelle Davison

University of Miami (Florida)

Swimming

Georgia

Andrea Pawliczek

Emory University

Soccer, Basketball

Hawaii

Petra Gaspar

Brigham Young University, Hawaii

Tennis

Idaho

Jeanne Orm

Boise State University

Soccer

Illinois

Susan DeNigris

North Central College

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Indiana

Kelly Komara

Purdue University

Basketball

Iowa

Angie Nielsen

Central College (Iowa)

Volleyball

Kansas

Heather Leverington

Emporia State University

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Kentucky

Michelle Cottrell

Northern Kentucky University

Basketball

Louisiana

Britni Sneed

Louisiana State University

Softball

Maine

Tina West

University of Southern Maine

Soccer, Softball

Maryland

Jill Krebs

Western Maryland College

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Cross Country, Swimming

Massachusetts

Katie C. Ryan

Boston College

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Cross Country

Michigan

Morgan Buckner

Ferris State Univeristy

Volleyball, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Minnesota

Sarah Moe

Gustavus Adolphus College

Ice Hockey

Mississippi

Ambrosia Davida Scott

Jackson State University

Softball, Volleyball

Missouri

Ann Marie Brooks

University of Missouri, Columbia

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Cross Country

Montana

Jessica Blake

Montana State University-Bozeman

Basketball

Nebraska

Kelli Brummer

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Volleyball, Outdoor Track and Field

Nevada

Jenni Ashcroft

University of Nevada

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

New Hampshire

Julie Ann Sheehan

Colby-Sawyer College

Basketball

New Jersey

Janet Lynne Gallo

Monmouth College

Field Hockey

New Mexico

Courtney Choate

University of New Mexico

Tennis

New York

Jaimeganleong Soohoo Reynolds

Cornell University

Volleyball, Lacrosse

North Carolina

Katie Sabino

North Carolina State University

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Cross Country

North Dakota

Jill Theeler

North Dakota State University

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

Ohio

Katherine Dunne

College of Wooster

Field Hockey

Oklahoma

Stacey Dales-Schuman

University of Oklahoma

Basketball

Oregon

Gina Schmidt

Oregon State University

Volleyball

Pennsylvania

Brandy Workinger

Juniata College

Volleyball

Rhode Island

Katie Willett

Providence College

Field Hockey

South Carolina

Mechelle Chanai Lewis

University of South Carolina, Columbia

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field

South Dakota

Shauna Brockman

South Dakota State University

Volleyball

Tennessee

Diane Slinden

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Outdoor Track and Field

Texas

Rosalyn Reades

University of North Texas

Basketball

Utah

Shannon A. Bowles

University of Utah

Gymnastics

Vermont

Alison Connolly

Middlebury College

Lacrosse, Soccer

Virginia

Heather Sagan

Liberty University

Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Cross Country

Washington

Anna Denise Mickelson

University of Washington

Rowing

West Virginia

Nicole Farrell

Wheeling Jesuit University

Volleyball, Golf

Wisconsin

Allison Erickson

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

Volleyball