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2005 NCAA Woman of the Year

Lauryn McCalley, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

 

McCalley Named 2005 NCAA Woman of the Year

For Immediate Release: Saturday, October 29, 2005
Contact: Crissy M. Schluep, Assistant Director of Public and Media Relations
Lauryn McCalley, photo by Stephen Nowland, NCAAPhotos

Lauryn McCalley, NCAA 2005 Woman of the Year

INDIANAPOLIS---Lauryn McCalley, a former diving standout at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the 2005 NCAA Woman of the Year.

McCalley received the award – one of the most prestigious that the NCAA bestows – at the 15th annual NCAA Woman of the Year Awards Dinner tonight, October 29, at the Westin Indianapolis. The award honors academic and athletics excellence, as well as community service and leadership.

A selection committee comprised of representatives from NCAA member schools chose 51 state winners representing the states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico from 352 nominees. The state of Arizona did not submit any nominees. Ten finalists were selected from the state winners. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics selected McCalley from the 10 finalists.

McCalley, a Moultrie, Georgia native, is the second Woman of the Year from Tennessee and the sixth swimming and diving student-athlete to be named Woman of the Year. The 1992 Woman of the Year, Catherine Byrne, was also a member of the swimming and diving team at Tennessee.

Claiming a 3.93 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) in microbiology, McCalley expects to graduate in May 2006 and plans to attend the University of Georgia to become a compounding pharmacist. McCalley was a recipient of the NCAA postgraduate scholarship and one of three finalists for the NCAA Walter Byers Scholarship. She was also consistently named to the Tennessee Thornton Center Honor Roll, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Honor Roll, won the SEC Scholar Athlete Award, and as a senior, was named a SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship Recipient. McCalley was also named one of Glamour magazine’s 2004 Top Ten College Women.

McCalley also excelled in the pool and was a member of the United States National Team from 1995-2004. She earned all-America honors and first-team all-SEC honors throughout her collegiate career and was named the SEC Freshman Diver of the Year. McCalley is no stranger to success, being named the Tennessee Swimmer/Diver of the Year in 2002-03 and recipient of the Tennessee No Guts No Glory Award in 2003-04, all while serving as team co-captain.

While not studying or competing, McCalley found time to serve in a leadership role as the Tennessee Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President, representing female student-athletes on the Tennessee Athletics Board and serving on the Athletes in Action Leadership Team. She served as president of Homeless Holiday Dinners and Baskets, worked with the mentoring program at Colquitt Regional Hospital and was a member of the Read Aloud program for children. A member of the Chi Omega Sorority, McCalley was active with the Faith Promise Church Involvement and Service and served as a mentor for the Florence-Crypton Pregnancy Agency.

"My goals have not changed since I was young, but they have deepened," cCalley said in her personal statement on her nomination form. "Because of being a student-athlete, these dreams have now transformed into reality. The benefits of being a student-athlete have been manifold. First, the discipline that diving has taught me is invaluable and has helped me achieve my goals. Secondly, I have learned to focus under pressure, a much needed skill in life. Lastly, I have learned the hard way Winston Churchill’s famous quote, ‘Never, never, never, never, never, never give up.’ These three life lessons learned from being a student-athlete will travel with me and help me reach my goals as I go to the University of Georgia to be a compounding pharmacist."

Last year’s Woman of the Year was Kelly Albin, a lacrosse standout from Division II University of California, Davis. Albin graduated magna cum laude with a degree in food science with a microbiology emphsis. She was the third winner from UC Davis since the award’s inception in 1991. The University of Georgia has also produced three national award winners.

 

Woman of the Year finalists show diversity of character, skill

The NCAA News Online, September 12th, 2005

Ten finalists have been selected for the 2005 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The honor recognizes senior student-athletes for their outstanding athletics, academic and community-service achievements.

The 10 finalists are Michelle Reeser, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (gymnastics); Alisha Williams, Western State College of Colorado (cross country, track and field); Leah Geib, University of Delaware (field hockey); Melissa Lehman, Barry University (volleyball); Jennifer Skolaski, University of Iowa (swimming and diving); Richelle Simpson, University of Nebraska, Lincoln (gymnastics); Deirdre Dlugonski, Pennsylvania State University (swimming and diving); Janiva Willis, Winthrop University (softball); Lauryn McCalley, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (swimming and diving); and Lindsay Hagerman, Washington and Lee University (tennis).

The 10 finalists were chosen from 51student-athletes recognized as state winners in August. Recipients also represented Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. There were no nominations from the state of Arizona.

The finalists will attend the annual Woman of the Year awards dinner October 29 in Indianapolis, at which time the 2005 Woman of the Year will be announced.

Following are some of the accomplishments of the 10 finalists.

Richelle Simpson
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Gymnastics

Academic achievements: International studies and French double major; graduated with distinction from Nebraska in May 2005. National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches scholastic academic all-American, 2002-05. Two-time first-team academic all-Big 12 Conference selection. University of Nebraska Female Student-Athlete of the Year, 2005. Recipient of Big 12 and NCAA postgraduate scholarships, 2005.

Athletics accomplishments: Team captain, 2004-05. Top-three finisher at NCAA championships in all-around and floor exercises (2002, 2003, 2005). Earned multiple all-America honors in all-around and floor exercises. Member of Big 12 team champion, (2003, 2005). Big 12 all-around champion, 2003. Member of the Canadian National Team, 2003.

Service and leadership: Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member. Team Spirit Hospital volunteer. Coordinated fund-raising for domestic violence. Volunteer speaker at area middle and elementary schools.

Excerpt from personal statement: "My student-athlete experience has shaped who I am and will define my future success. Sports have taught me a work ethic second to none and also how to be humble with success. Athletics has helped me mature as a confident, poised and determined young woman."

 

Deirdre Dlugonski
Pennsylvania State University
Swimming and diving

Academic achievements: Kinesiology major; graduated in May 2005 with the highest grade-point average in the department. Selected to ESPN the Magazine's academic all-District II Women's At-Large first team, 2005. Four-time College Swim Coaches Association of America academic all-American. Three-time academic all-Big Ten Conference. Member of dean's list every semester.

Athletics accomplishments: Team captain, 2002-2005. Earned multiple all-America honors for relay performances. Member of several Big Ten championship relay teams. Member of Big Ten champions (2002, 2005).

Service and leadership: Member of Women's Leadership Initiative, 2003-05. Involved with the Penn Pal program, writing letters to classrooms of elementary school students. Volunteered at Special Olympics. Taught stroke techniques to children at Penn State swimming sports camps.

Excerpt from personal statement: "As a student-athlete, I have learned that some of the best experiences in life also are the most challenging. I learned that working hard to achieve goals means making sacrifices. During my career at Penn State, I gained many things, the most important of which is the opportunity to know what it feels like to be part of something bigger than myself."

 

Janiva Willis
Winthrop University
Softball

Academic achievements: Physical education athletic training major; graduated in May 2005. Four-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association all-American scholar-athlete. Four-time Big South Conference presidential scholar. Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year, 2005. Big South all-academic team, 2005. Member of the president's list and dean's list.

Athletics accomplishments: Team captain, 2004-05. Three-time all-Big South selection. Member of Canadian National Summer Team, 2002. Alternate on Canadian Olympic Team, 2004.

Service and leadership: Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member. Volunteer reader with elementary school children. Helped fund-raise for literacy programs. Worked with cerebral palsy students. Volunteered for Big Brother/Big Sister program.

Excerpt from personal statement: "By being a student-athlete, I found that I gained better time management skills and self-discipline. Being far away from home, the team became my family away from home. The lifelong relationships that I have developed with my coaches and teammates have filled the void of my family not being able to be there."

 

Lauryn McCalley
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Swimming and diving

Academic achievements: Microbiology major; expects to graduate in May 2006 and plans to become a compounding pharmacist. Recipient of NCAA postgraduate scholarship, 2004-05. NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship finalist, 2004-05. Southeastern Conference H. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, 2004-05. SEC scholar-athlete award, 2001-05. SEC honor roll, 2002-05. Glamour's Top Ten College Women, 2004.

Athletics accomplishments: Team co-captain, 2001-05. Earned all-America honors, 2001-04. Earned first-team all-SEC honors, 2001-04. Named SEC Freshman Diver of the Year, 2001-02. University of Tennessee Swimmer/Diver of the Year, 2002-03. Tennessee No Guts No Glory Award, 2003-04. Member of the United States National Team, 1995-2004.

Service and leadership: Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president, 2004-05. Served on University of Tennessee Athletics Board, 2004-05. Worked with Mentoring Program at Colquitt Regional Hospital. President of Homeless Holiday Dinners and Baskets. Member of Read Aloud Program for children. Faith Promise Church Involvement and Service Chairman, 2001-05.

Excerpt from personal statement: "My goals have not changed since I was young, but they have deepened. Because of being a student-athlete, these dreams have now transformed into reality. These life lessons learned from being a student-athlete will travel with me and help me reach my goals as I go to the University of Georgia to be a compounding pharmacist."

 

Lindsay Hagerman
Washington and Lee University
Tennis

Academic achievements: American history major; graduated in June 2005. NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, 2004-05. Received 2005 Marjorie Berkley Award, given to the outstanding female student-athlete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Virginia Sports Information Directors academic all-state team, 2004. Two-time ODAC Women's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Athletics accomplishments: Team co-captain, 2004-05. NCAA Division III singles champion, 2005. Earned NCAA all-American honors in singles (2002-04) and doubles (2003-04). Intercollegiate Tennis Association Senior of the Year, 2005. ODAC Player of the Year, 2004-05). Voted team MVP, 2002, 2004, 2005. ITA National Co-Rookie of the Year, 2002. Washington and Lee Freshman Female Athlete of the Year, co-recipient, 2002.

Service and leadership: Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member. Represented Washington and Lee at NCAA Division III Regional Leadership Conference, 2004. Served as a teacher's assistant and tutor. Helped raise funds for cystic fibrosis. Tutored at elementary, middle and high schools.

Excerpt from personal statement: "Athletics has taught me how to excel under pressure. Playing for a team in an otherwise individual sport enhanced my mental toughness, and this matured sense of confidence and determination has benefited me in other aspects of my life, academically and personally. Athletics taught me how to take risks and turn failures into success."

 

Michelle Reeser
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
Gymnastics

Academic achievements: Accounting major; graduated in May 2005. Southeastern Conference Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year, 2005. Four-time academic all-SEC. Member of National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Three-time Scholastic all-American. College of Commerce and Business Administration scholar-athlete award, 2004. Intern with Deutsche Bank in London; Jamison, Money, Farmer & Co., PC; and Ernst & Young.

Athletics accomplishments: Member of 2002 NCAA national championship team. Member of the 2003 SEC championship team. Four-time letter-winner in the all-around. Second-/third-team all-American.

Service and leadership: Visited patients on Valentine's Day at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Four-year participant in and 2004 organizer of bake sale for Project Angel Tree. Talked with elementary-school children about goal-setting. Served as receptionist and greeter and assisted with craft activities at the Children's Hands On Museum.

Excerpt from personal statement: "I have learned so much from my time at the University of Alabama, both in and out of the classroom, lessons I know will propel me to success in my postcollegiate life. I have learned the necessity of discipline, the bedrock that has supported my success in both the classroom and gym. And I've come to know that only through perseverance can you reach your full potential."

 

Alisha Williams
Western State College of Colorado
Cross country/track and field

Academic achievements: A May 2005 summa cum laude graduate; majored in accounting and business administration. Four-time academic all-American. Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, 2004 and 2005.

Athletics accomplishments: Member of the 2001 and 2002 national championship cross country teams. Registered top-three finishes at the NCAA indoor track and field championships in the mile (2002, 2003, 2004) and 5000 meters (2003). Finished in the top three in the 1500- and 3000-meter races at the NCAA outdoor championships, 2002, 2004-05 and 2001-02, 2005, respectively. First-team all-RMAC selection in indoor track.

Service and leadership: Helped low-income citizens and the elderly prepare tax returns. Served as peer tutor for students in accounting and math. Tutored third-graders in reading as part of America Reads program. Elected to serve as a voting member of the Student Government Association (SGA), 2001-02. Served as vice-president of internal affairs for the SGA, 2003-04.

Excerpt from personal statement: "Deciding to compete as a collegiate athlete was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Setting high goals and being given the opportunity to achieve them has been one of the greatest benefits of being a student-athlete. My coaches, teammates and professors have always encouraged me to set high goals from myself; for that I am grateful."

 

Leah Geib
University of Delaware
Field hockey

Academic achievements: A May 2005 graduate; majored in communications with a concentration in mass communication and a minor in leadership. NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, 2005. Two-time Colonial Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year in field hockey.

Athletics accomplishments: Team captain, 2004. Member of the 2004 conference championship team. Four-year letter-winner. Second-/third-team all-American, 2004.

Service and leadership: Golden Key International Honor Society alumni representative/director (2005) and vice-president (2003-05). Female student representative on university's athletics governing board. Volunteered as peer mentor for Delaware student-athletes with Blue H.E.N.S. Mentor. Served as Student-Athlete Advisory Council Sportsmanship Committee chair. Worked as a counselor for Holy Angels After School Care Program. Served as coach and counselor with U.S. Field Hockey Association Futures Program.

Excerpt from personal statement: "During my four years of undergraduate studies, I have devoted my time to juggling various jobs and extracurricular activities such as intercollegiate athletics, community service and campus-based organizations. It's been a rewarding challenge to be involved in so many endeavors and still remain in the top 2 percent of my class. My success in the classroom is due to the strong foundation that athletics laid for me. Being a student-athlete refind my leadership skills, strengthened my habits of disciplined work and broadened my personal character."

 

Melissa Lehman
Barry University
Volleyball

Academic achievements: A communications studies major and public relations and sport management minor; graduated in May. Nominated for Communication Studies student of the year, 2005.

Athletics accomplishments: Team captain, 2003-04. Member of NCAA Division II national championship teams in 2001 and 2004. All-Sunshine State Conference second-/third-team selection at setter and defensive specialist, 2001.

Service and leadership: President of the National Communication Association Honor Society. Served as a mentor to area youth in volleyball fundamentals and the college student-athlete experience. One of seven Barry students selected to present aspects of college life to high-school guidance counselors as part of the Sunshine State Tour Student Panel. Served as secretary-treasurer (2004-05), team representative (2001-04), and chair of the public relations committee (2003-04) for campus SAAC.

Excerpt from personal statement: "My athletics career has taught me to maintain poise in pressure situations, to work with diverse personalities and cultures while working toward a goal, and to prepare to be the best. I also learned the value of laughter. Though competition is never easy, laughter became my antidote. It brought joy to my daily life, reduced team stress and brought a balance to my life that helped me make the most of every day."

 

Jennifer Skolaski
University of Iowa
Swimming and diving

Academic achievements: A May 2005 graduate; majored in social work. NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, 2005. Named Big Ten Conference scholar-athlete, 2003-04. Two-time academic all-Big Ten, 2002-03, 2003-04.

Athletics accomplishments: Team co-captain, 2003-04, 2004-05. Two-time all-American. Became the first female swimmer at Iowa to qualify for NCAA national meet all four years. Three-time second-/third-team all-Big Ten selection in the 200-yard breaststroke. Competed at the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.

Service and leadership: Chair of the campus SAAC, 2004-05. Served as a volunteer with Hawkeye Pride, a program that tutors fourth- and fifth-graders and encourages leadership skills. Honored by the University of Iowa Health Center for volunteering more than 100 hours. Ronald McDonald House volunteer.

Excerpt from personal statement: "My goal had always been to be a top athlete, and I was closest to achieving this my sophomore year when I finaled at nationals. I dreamed of repeating this, but I was faced with coaching turnovers and personal injuries. By my senior year, I felt I had overcome these obstacles and was physically and mentally ready to accomplish this ultimate goal. I had the opportunity to work with distinguished coaches, teammates and other athletes who pushed and motivated me to always work harder and strive for more. Most importantly, this experience showed me that I could be a leader and a role model in my everyday actions."

 

State stars shine in 2005 WOTY kickoff

The NCAA News Online, August 29th, 2005

The campaign to crown the 15th annual NCAA Woman of the Year has begun with the selection of 51 state winners, including representatives from Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. There were no nominations from the state of Arizona.

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

Chosen by a committee of representatives from member institutions, 29 of the 2005 state honorees are from Division I, while 16 represent Division II and six are from Division III. They represent 15 sports.

The committee of institutional representatives also will select 10 finalists from the 51 state winners, based on grade-point average, athletics achievement and community service. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will chose the national winner from among the 10 finalists. Finalists will be revealed in the September 26 issue of The NCAA News.

The 2005 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced during the annual awards dinner October 29 in Indianapolis. ESPN personality Danielle Sargent and Kara Lawson, former University of Tennessee, Knoxville, women's basketball standout and a 2003 Woman of the Year top-10 finalist currently playing in the WNBA, will serve as emcees for the evening.

As part of the Woman of the Year weekend of activities, honorees will be working with youth and the Association's character-building program Stay in Bounds at the NCAA Hall of Champions.

This year's state winners were chosen from a pool of 352 nominations, 76 more than in 2004 and the most since 2000, when there also were 352 candidates for the honor. The pool showed an increase in diversity as well, specifically in African-American, international, Asian/Pacific Islander and Latina/Hispanic student-athletes.

Division I submitted 188 applications. Fifty-six nominations came from Division II and 111 were received from Division III. The numbers represent increases in submissions for all three divisions over last year, with Division I submitting 50 more applications and Divisions II and III registering more modest gains at 14 and 15, respectively.

Kelly Albin, a lacrosse student-athlete from the University of California, Davis, was recognized as the 2004 NCAA Woman of the Year. Albin is the third winner from UC Davis since the award's inception in 1991. The University of Georgia also has produced three national award winners.

State Name School Sport
Alaska Mindy Lindquist University of Alaska Anchorage Basketball, track and field, volleyball
Alabama Michelle Reeser University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa Gymnastics
Arkansas Jayme Butts University of Arkansas, Little Rock Soccer, swimming
California Ogonna Nnamani Stanford University Volleyball
Colorado Alisha Williams Western State College of Colorado Cross country, track and field
Connecticut Kristen Graczyk University of Connecticut Soccer
Washington, D.C. Colleen Kelly Georgetown University Cross country, track and field
Delaware Leah Geib University of Delaware Field hockey
Florida Melissa Lehman Barry University Volleyball
Georgia Samantha Arsenault University of Georgia Swimming
Hawaii Tracie Uchima University of Hawaii, Manoa Softball
Iowa Jennifer Skolaski University of Iowa Swimming
Idaho Tania Vander Meulen University of Idaho Cross country, track and field
Illinois Courtney Koester Northwestern University Basketball, lacrosse
Indiana Kate Endress Ball State University Basketball
Kansas Kendra Wecker Kansas State University Basketball
Kentucky Stephanie Leimbach Northern Kentucky University Softball
Louisiana Janice Ezegbunam Southeastern Louisiana University Track and field
Massachusetts Jennifer Walker Bentley College Field hockey
Maryland Stephanie LaGue Goucher College Swimming
Maine Kelly Cyr Saint Joseph's College (Maine) Soccer
Michigan Lindsey Gallo University of Michigan Cross country, track and field
Minnesota Heather Hamilton University of Minnesota Duluth Track and field
Missouri Sara Murray Truman State University Soccer
Mississippi Bernadette Sayles Delta State University Basketball
Montana Margot Merrill-Johnson Montana State University-Billings Soccer, tennis
North Carolina Shannon Davis Winston-Salem State University Bowling, softball
North Dakota Kinsey Coles North Dakota State University Cross country, track and field
Nebraska Richelle Simpson University of Nebraska, Lincoln Gymnastics
New Hampshire Erin Osborn Dartmouth College Lacrosse, soccer
New Jersey Mary Mewherter Georgian Court University Basketball, soccer
New Mexico Christina Spence University of New Mexico Golf
Nevada Alyssa Chin University of Nevada Swimming
New York Kate Chambers Hartwick College Water polo
Ohio Jill Boo Denison University Swimming
Oklahoma Valentina Medina Oklahoma State University Cross country, track and field
Oregon Julie Elliott University of Portland Track and field
Pennsylvania Deirdre Dlugonski Pennsylvania State University Swimming
Puerto Rico Yarisel Rodríguez University of Puerto Rico, Cayey Track and field, volleyball
Rhode Island Carly Muise Bryant University Softball
South Carolina Janiva Willis Winthrop University Softball
South Dakota Marci Miller University of South Dakota Track and field
Tennessee Lauryn McCalley University of Tennessee, Knoxville Swimming
Texas Jamie Carey University of Texas at Austin Basketball
Utah Lindsey Metcalf Brigham Young University Track and field, volleyball
Virginia Lindsay Hagerman Washington and Lee University Tennis
Vermont Brittany Cronin Middlebury College Soccer
Washington Corrie McDaniel Seattle Pacific University Gymnastics
Wisconsin Tara Schmitt University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point Basketball, soccer, track and field
West Virginia Lauren Deschamps Wheeling Jesuit University Soccer
Wyoming Shauna Smith University of Wyoming Track and field