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By Jack Copeland
As the NCAA prepares to select its next Woman of the Year, Division III is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the selection of its first recipient of the award and recalling the achievements of all three graduates of Division III institutions who have been so honored.
This year marks yet another milestone for former Kenyon swimming champion Ashley Jo Rowatt Karpinos, who was selected as the 2003 Woman of the Year. She was inducted Sept. 21 into the Kenyon athletics hall of fame in recognition of her two individual and four relay titles (as well as 13 all-American finishes) in the Division III Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, where she was a part of three national-championship teams.
Ashley Jo Rowatt Karpinos
Class of 2003
Karpinos, an NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, graduated from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine and now is a sports medicine fellow at the university. She also serves as an instructor of internal medicine and pediatrics and has pursued interests in adult primary care and public health.
She hasn’t left her athletic roots behind. She’s part of the Vanderbilt sport medicine department’s Health Enhancement Committee, where she has been an advocate for women’s health. Karpinos, who is married to Kenyon teammate Justin Karpinos, also serves as primary team physician for Vanderbilt’s women’s swim squad.
The past two NCAA Woman of the Year selections also are graduates of Division III institutions.
Stevens Institute of
Class of 2011
Laura Barito, the 2011 honoree, was a standout in both swimming and track at Stevens Institute of Technology, where she majored in mechanical engineering. She also won a Division III individual title in each of her sports while racking up 22 all-America citations.
Barito, an NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, recently completed graduate work in sports biomechanics at the University of Delaware, where she also served as an assistant coach for the Blue Hen swim team. She has remained an active competitor, first qualifying for U.S. Swimming competition while at Delaware and more recently participating in CrossFit, which promotes fitness as a sport and in which she has achieved Level 1 certification as a trainer.
in St. Louis
Class of 2012
Elizabeth Phillips, last year’s honoree, was a seven-time all-American in cross country and track at Washington University in St. Louis, where she graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering. As a participant in NCAA championships, she became the first three-time winner of the Elite 89 award, which singles out a championships participant who has reached the pinnacle of intercollegiate sports competition while excelling academically.
Also an NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, Phillips now is a medical student at Pennsylvania, where she also has begun her second year as a volunteer coach specializing in distances for the Penn men’s and women’s track and field squad.
One of three women who are among the nine finalists for 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year could join Karpinos, Barito and Phillips as Division III honorees. They are Elena Crosley, who helped Bowdoin win the 2010 Division III Field Hockey Championship; Kaaren Hatlen, whose 2012 Pacific Lutheran softball squad won the 2012 Division III Softball Championship; and Lya Swaner, who helped East Texas Baptist to the 2010 softball title. The 2013 recipient will be announced October 20.