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2017 Today’s Top 10 recipients

The NCAA will honor these exceptional former student-athletes at the 2017 Convention

The NCAA will honor 10 exceptional former student-athletes as the 2017 Today’s Top 10 Award winners at the 2017 NCAA Convention.

The award recognizes former student-athletes for their successes on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients completed their athletics eligibility during the 2015-16 academic year and will be recognized at the Honors Celebration during the Convention, which will be held Jan. 18-21 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The NCAA Honors Committee, which selects the honorees, is comprised of representatives from member schools and conferences, as well as nationally distinguished former college athletes.

Before 2013, the award recognized eight student-athletes and was known as Today’s Top VIII. The NCAA Honors Committee expanded the award to include 10 honorees to recognize the growing number of college athletes, sports and championship opportunities.

The 2017 Today’s Top 10 awardees are:

Logan Andryk

School: Milwaukee School of Engineering
Conference: Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference

Logan Andryk is only the second NCAA Division III student-athlete to earn both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Player of the Year and CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the same season. As a two-time captain for the men’s soccer team at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Andryk completed his career as one of just 31 players in NCAA history to earn All-America honors in each of his four seasons. He holds school records for goals (61), assists (60) and career points (182). He is also one of five players in collegiate soccer history to score 60 goals and record 60 assists. Away from the field, Andryk won a school-sponsored biomolecular engineering design contest as a senior. In addition, he was co-chair of the campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Elizabeth Aronoff

School: Emory University
Conference: University Athletic Association

Elizabeth Aronoff is a two-time NCAA champion in the 200-meter breaststroke and the 400-meter medley relay, holding Emory records in both events. The six-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America All-American was also a contributing member on four NCAA championship teams from 2013 to 2016, and was a nine-time individual conference champion. Aronoff’s performance in the pool was complemented by her outstanding academic record during her time at Emory. The 2016 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient was twice a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American. She also was a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America Academic All-American, and the 2016 Emory University Scholar Athlete. Aronoff graduated from Emory in 2016 with a degree in neuroscience and behavior biology and a 3.92 GPA. She also volunteered with the Special Olympics throughout her collegiate career.

Kendall Coyne

School: Northeastern University
Conference: Hockey East

Kendall Coyne was the 2016 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award recipient as the top player in Division I women’s ice hockey. As a two-time team captain, Coyne led Northeastern to its first NCAA tournament appearance in program history. In addition, Coyne was the United States’ leading scorer at the 2014 Winter Olympics, helping the team earn a silver medal. Coyne graduated from Northeastern in May 2016 as the all-time leading scorer in program history with 141 goals and 249 points, and as the all-time leading scorer in Hockey East history with 91 goals and 167 points in league games.  Her leadership on the ice led to accomplishments off of it, too. She was a Top 30 honoree for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. Coyne also was a Ronald McDonald House ambassador and was named Northeastern’s most outstanding female scholar-athlete. The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient is working toward a master’s degree from Northeastern in corporate and organizational communications.

Taylor Ellis-Watson

School: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Conference: Southeastern Conference

Taylor Ellis-Watson helped lead the Arkansas track and field team to two NCAA championships. The 11-time first-team United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-American holds two school records and is a three-time individual Southeastern Conference champion. Ellis-Watson represented the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games, where she earned a gold medal as a member of the women’s 4x400 relay team. Off the track, Ellis-Watson remained unstoppable. An NCAA Woman of the Year Top 30 honoree, she was a CoSIDA Academic All-American and was an NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Postgraduate Scholarship recipient. Ellis-Watson graduated in May 2015 with a degree in psychology and has since continued her studies at Arkansas, where she is pursuing a master’s in counseling.

Nicole Hensley

School: Lindenwood University
Conference: College Hockey America

Lindenwood (Missouri) women’s ice hockey goalie and exercise science major Nicole Hensley graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She shattered records on the ice: Hensley holds every school goalie record, the single-game saves record in Divisions I and II (90), and she’s the only women’s college goalie to record more than 4,000 career saves. In two starts at the international level, Hensley has posted two shutouts and has helped the United States finish first at the 2016 World Championships and 2016 Four Nations Cup. In the classroom, Hensley was the first three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American in Lindenwood school history and was a 2016 CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-America selection. And she ended her career on a high note, being named the 2015-16 Lindenwood Female Student-Athlete of the Year. She is currently working toward her MBA from Lindenwood.

Christopher “C.J.” Krimbill

School: Case Western Reserve University
Conference: University Athletic Association

Throughout four seasons on the men’s tennis team at Case Western Reserve, C.J. Krimbill led the way for the Spartans. During that time, the team qualified for all three of its NCAA tournament berths in school history (2013, 2014 and 2016).  Krimbill won the 2014 NCAA Division III doubles championship and reached the quarterfinals in singles competition. As a four-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American, Krimbill is only the second University Athletic Association player to record more than 200 wins and was the conference’s 2015 most valuable player. He ended his college career with the most singles and doubles wins in school history and his .804 doubles winning percentage is a school record. Krimbill’s wins in the classroom were just as frequent. The chemical engineering major graduated in 2016 with a 3.94 GPA. He was also named a 2016 first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and is an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.

Haylie McCleney

School: University of Alabama
Conference: Southeastern Conference

Haylie McCleney was a force on the diamond while leading the Alabama softball team to three consecutive Women’s College World Series appearances from 2014 to 2016. As a four-time all-Southeastern Conference selection, McCleney holds Alabama career records in batting average (.447), triples (16), walks (199) and on-base percentage (.569). She was also a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association first-team All-American and excelled in international competition. She helped the United States to a gold medal at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Women’s World Championship. As a Top 30 honoree for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, McCleney’s success was never limited to the diamond. She was a two-time CoSIDA Softball Academic All-American of the Year as well as a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and the 2015 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The exercise science major graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA and is currently working toward her master’s in exercise science and health promotion at Florida Atlantic University.

Tiffany Mitchell

School: University of South Carolina, Columbia
Conference: Southeastern Conference

Tiffany Mitchell finished her basketball career at South Carolina as just the third player in school history to record at least 1,500 points, 300 assists and 200 steals. As a leader on the court, Mitchell was a two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and led the Gamecocks to three conference titles and four NCAA tournament appearances, helping propel the team to the 2015 Women’s Final Four. Mitchell was a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Wade Trophy and Wooden Award. She also earned the 2016 President’s Award – the highest annual award given to a Gamecock student-athlete – which recognizes the winner for his or her cumulative career accomplishments in academics, athletics, service and leadership. Mitchell was a two-time U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-American, a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and made the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll all four seasons.

Dak Prescott

School: Mississippi State University
Conference: Southeastern Conference

During his career playing quarterback at Mississippi State, Dak Prescott shattered records on the field while also earning both his bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and his master’s degree in workforce leadership. Prescott broke 38 school records – 15 career records, 15 single-season records and eight single-game records – and led the Bulldogs to their first No. 1 national ranking. He was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection. He was named the 2016 Senior Bowl Most Outstanding Player, the 2015 Belk Bowl Most Valuable Player and the 2013 Liberty Bowl MVP. Prescott, who was Mississippi State’s 2015 Senior Class Award Winner, made the SEC’s fall academic honor roll three straight years. A fourth-round 2016 NFL draft pick, Prescott is now the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

Jason Vander Laan

School: Ferris State University
Conference: Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Jason Vander Laan earned a degree in applied math and actuarial science while leading the Ferris State football team under center. As a two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner, which recognizes the player of the year in Division II, Vander Laan finished his four years as the top rushing quarterback in NCAA football history with 5,953 career yards. He rushed and passed for over 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons at Ferris State. A two-time captain at Ferris State, he was a three-time American Football Coaches Association All-American and a two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Vander Laan also thrived in the classroom. He was the Division II Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year, a two-time GLIAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Campbell Trophy finalist, which recognizes a football player across all divisions for academic achievement.