University of Virginia

Three share what AAPI heritage means to them

Here are three stories from those who have competed in college sports across all three divisions of the NCAA on what AAPI heritage means to them.

From There to Here: Carla Williams

When Carla Williams was being recruited to play basketball at Georgia in the mid-1980s, she didn’t even know athletics administrators existed.

Virginia football coaches commit recruiting violation

Seven Virginia football coaches committed a recruiting violation by having in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts during an evaluation period.

Cross Their Hearts

University of Virginia student-athletes Ryan Lukacovic and Michael Rhoads took up riding for a reason.

One to Watch: Meghan O'Leary

Meghan O’Leary competed in volleyball and softball at the University of Virginia. But when her competitive fire remained lit after college, she relied on those collegiate experiences as she found a new path to the Olympics in a new sport: rowing.

1998 NCAA Woman of the Year


Boutilier named 1998 NCAA Woman of the Year

The NCAA News, October 26, 1998
By Kay Hawes, Staff Writer

Peggy Boutilier 1998 NCAA Woman of the Year

INDIANAPOLIS -- Peggy Boutilier, a senior lacrosse and field hockey student-athlete at the University of Virginia, was named the 1998 NCAA Woman of the Year at the eighth annual NCAA Woman of the Year Awards Dinner at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis October 18.

The award recognizes young women in intercollegiate athletics for their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community service.

Robin Roberts, ESPN and ABC sports commentator and anchor, shared the evening's master of ceremonies duties with 1992 Olympic gold medal swimmer Summer Sanders, who hosts Nickelodeon's game show "Figure it Out" and serves as a sideline reporter with the Lifetime Television Sports Team covering the WNBA.

In an evening themed, "Heroes in Life," the NCAA also honored and celebrated the achievements of all 51 state nominees for Woman of the Year, giving special recognition to the 10 finalists.

The awards dinner also featured a special video presentation honoring last year's winner, swimmer Lisa Ann Coole of the University of Georgia. Coole was killed in an automobile accident earlier this year. Coole had become the first swimmer in Georgia history to earn seven first-team all-American awards.

An ESPN broadcast on December 10 at 1 p.m. (EST) will feature highlights from the awards dinner.

A 'chance to give back'

Boutilier plans to share both her love for learning and her love for sports when she begins her career teaching elementary school children.

"I am truly honored to be here," Boutilier said as she accepted the award. "I'm really excited about getting my master's degree in education because it's my chance to give back to children what I've been so lucky to receive."

Boutilier is enrolled in a five-year program at Virginia and will graduate next year with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and a master's degree in elementary education.

She says she is happiest when she's busy, and her experience as a two-sport student-athlete, involved leader and dual-major student ought to prepare her for her future.

"I love working with children," she said. "And every day is different. In the elementary classroom, you teach science, math, reading and all kinds of different things. It lets you be creative, and you have to be on your toes," she said.

Boutilier is used to being on the run. She has excelled at two varsity sports on two teams ranked No. 1 in the same year, and she was the first student-athlete in school history to be voted by her teammates as the Most Valuable Player on two teams the same year.

As team captain, she led Virginia's lacrosse team to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 1998 and a runner-up finish in the NCAA championship. She set a school record with 71 consecutive starts in lacrosse. In 1998, she led the team in scoring as a defender, scoring 37 goals. Boutilier is a member of the 1998 U.S. National Lacrosse Team, and she was named Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association Player of the Year for two straight years.

Boutilier also served as Virginia's field hockey team captain and was selected its most valuable player in 1997. She was a south regional all-American, and she started in a school-record 88 games. She also led the team to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in school history. Boutilier also was a 1994 U.S. Olympic Festival gold medalist in field hockey.

Boutilier was named Virginia's Outstanding Female Athlete for 1997-98 for her accomplishments in lacrosse and field hockey.

"Her work ethic and the balance she has in her life enable her to do all that," Virginia's field hockey coach Missy Sanders told The Baltimore Sun. "It's difficult to maintain the level of skill she has in field hockey when you only play half a year. It's the same thing with lacrosse, but she makes a real commitment to what she does."

Boutilier's commitment to academics is also apparent. A GTE Academic All-American in 1996 and 1997, Boutilier has been honored with Virginia's prestigious Gray-Carrington Scholarship, which is awarded to a Virginia student who excels in the areas of personal integrity, achievement, leadership and humility.

She's also the recipient of the Atlantic Coast Conference's Weaver-James Corrigan Scholarship and the National Association of College Directors of Athletics Preseason Games Scholarship. Boutilier has a 3.600 grade-point average (on a 4.000 scale), and she was the Eastern College Athletic Conference's Scholar-Athlete of the year for 1997-98. Boutilier was also selected to "Live on the Lawn," an honor reserved for only the most accomplished students at Virginia.

"She likes to be busy," Virginia lacrosse coach Julie Myers told The Washington Post. "The amazing thing is that with all the things that she was involved in, nothing was ever hurt because of her involvement with something else. She does a great job balancing all the things that she does. She never cut any corners. I don't think most people could do all the things she does, and she ends up doing so well."

Boutilier is also committed to serving and leading others. She has tutored students in public school, and she's a founding member of Virginia's Student Council Athletic Student Affairs Committee, which promotes interaction between athletes and the entire university community. She also has received the Virginia athletics department's Ernest Ern Award for outstanding contributions to student life. A member of the Student-Athlete Mentor Council at Virginia, Boutilier was named the Outstanding Student-Athlete Mentor for 1997-98.

Last year Boutilier was president of the Captain's Council, a panel of all Virginia team captains, and a representative on the athletics department's Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Committee. Boutilier is also a member of Virginia's Raven Society, which recognizes excellence in academics and school service, and a member of Virginia's IMP Society, which recognizes unselfish contribution to the improvement of student life.

This year, Boutilier is student-teaching as she prepares for her career in elementary education. She says she would also like to pass on her love for lacrosse and field hockey to young people by coaching on the high-school level. She credits athletics for teaching her many of the values she now holds -- including sportsmanship, dedication, perseverance and team work.

"I started playing sports in the sixth grade," she said, recalling her first attempt at lacrosse. "I've never played anything but team sports, and I just love working toward a common goal."

Whatever goal Boutilier sets, she's likely to achieve it. "She's the most outstanding person I've ever had the opportunity to work with," Myers said. "(Her teammates) call her 'Perfect Peggy' because there's nothing she can't do. But she has worked at it. Everything doesn't just fall her way. She takes charge of situations and creates all of her own success."

In spite of her success, Boutilier was surprised when her name was called. "It's something I never would have thought I could win," she said. "I'm overwhelmed to be chosen from all these outstanding scholar-athletes."

This year more than 400 NCAA member institutions submitted nominations for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which is presented by Rawlings.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must have participated in an NCAA-sponsored sport, be a varsity letter-winner, have a minimum cumulative grade-point-average of at least 2.500 on a 4.000 scale and have completed intercollegiate eligibility by the end of the 1998 spring season.

A committee made up of representatives from NCAA member institutions selected the 51 state winners, then selected 10 finalists. The 1998 NCAA Woman of the Year was selected from among the finalists by the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics.



  • Maria Abatjoglou, Tennis, Kansas

    Maria Abatjoglou excels academically, and she has applied the same type of zeal to her efforts on the tennis court for Kansas. Her team reached the final round of the 1998 NCAA team competition and was the regional team champion.

    Abatjoglou won the singles title at the Washington Invitational and earned second place at the 1997 Ohio State Invitational.

    A two-time first-team GTE Academic All-American, Abatjoglou served as president of the Kansas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for two years and was a member of the KU Athletic Corporation Board. She also has done volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and the Social Service League.

  • Kellee Booth, Golf, Arizona State

    A member of three Arizona State NCAA championship women's golf teams, Booth also finished fourth individually at the 1998 tournament.

    Booth received the 1997-98 Honda Award for Golf and also was named the 1998 Marilyn Smith Award Winner, an honor that goes to the top female college senior golfer in the nation.

    An NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient, Booth also has chaired the student-athlete advisory council and served as a student-athlete representative to the intercollegiate athletics board. She also has raised funds and assisted with public relations activities for the All Saints Catholic Newman Center.

  • Merritt Booth, Gymnastics, Alabama

    Merritt Booth is an experienced NCAA championships competitor. As captain of the Alabama gymnastics team, she led the squad to a third-place finish in the 1998 championships. She also helped Alabama finish first in 1996, second in 1995 and ninth in 1997.

    A three-time first-team all-American and three-time second-team all-American, Booth also is a four-year all-academic choice.

    Booth also has instructed young gymnasts at the Alabama Gymnastics Camp, worked with handicapped children at the Stallings Rise Center, and helped raise money for Project Angel Tree, which purchases and delivers holiday gifts.

  • Peggy Boutilier, Lacrosse/Field Hockey, Virginia

    As team captain and most valuable player in lacrosse, Peggy Boutilier led Virginia to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 1998 and a runner-up finish in the NCAA championship.

    A member of the 1998 United States National Team, Boutilier twice was named the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association Player of the Year.

    She also was Virginia's field hockey captain and most valuable player, leading the team to its first NCAA semifinal appearance.

    She received the university's Gray-Carrington Scholarship, awarded to a student who excels in the areas of personal integrity, achievement, leadership and humility.

    Boutilier also is a founding member of the university student council's athletics student affairs committee, which promotes interaction among athletes, other students and the entire university community.

  • Amy Steele Gant, Volleyball, Brigham Young

    Amy Steele Gant won just about every available Western Athletic Conference volleyball honor during her career at Brigham Young.

    She was named WAC Player of the Week seven times, 1997 WAC Tournament most valuable player, 1997 first team all-WAC and 1997 WAC Player of the Year. She was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year twice, in 1995 and 1997, and this year was invited to play on the U.S. National Volleyball team.

    In addition to her WAC athletics honors, Gant also was an all-WAC academic selection in 1995 and 1997.

    She organized the Brigham Young volleyball team's participation in food drives and visits to retirement homes, and she also taught weekly church youth classes. In addition, Gant volunteers at volleyball clinics for youth groups.

  • Heather Heitsenrether, Field Hockey, Wooster

    As a sweeper for Wooster's field hockey squad for four years, Heather Heitsenrether earned first-team all-American honors in 1997 and was a second-team selection in 1996.

    Heitsenrether was named North Coast Athletic Conference defensive player of the year in 1997 and played in the North/South All-Star Game the same year.

    In 1998, Heitsenrether won the NCAC Scholar-Athlete Award and the David Guldin Award for the Outstanding Female Scholar Athlete.

    At Camp Milestone, Heitsenrether helped emotionally disturbed children. She also was a church school teacher at Westminster Presbyterian Church and volunteered in the classroom to help autistic children.

  • Nada Kawar, Track and Field, UCLA

    Nada Kawar has gone the distance in the NCAA championships, the World Championships and the Olympics. She finished third in the shot put in the 1998 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a personal best throw of 58 feet, 4 1/2 inches, and she also placed sixth in the discus.

    Kawar represented Jordan in the shot put at the World Championships in 1997, and she placed 24th in the 1996 Olympics, also competing for Jordan.

    A 1998 first-team GTE Academic All-American, Kawar also is a member of the UCLA Pre-Med Society and the Golden Key National Honor Society. She worked as a camp counselor and coach at the UCLA Throwing Camp for three summers and has spoken to several youth groups.

  • Katherine Kearns, Cross Country and Indoor/Outdoor Track and Field, Northwest Missouri State

    An outstanding runner for Northwest Missouri State, Katherine Kearns won the three-kilometer indoor race at the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association conference championships in 1997 and 1998 and was a member of the conference champion 4 x 800 relay team in 1994 and 1995. She also won the outdoor 10-kilometer conference championship in 1998 and was an NCAA Division II cross country all-American in 1996 and 1997.

    A two-time GTE Academic All-American, Kearns also was named a United States Track Coaches Association Division II cross country all-academic choice.

    She was a two-year president of the Northwest Student Dietetic Association and completed several undergraduate research projects. At the senior center meal-site lunch program, Kearns assisted the elderly, and she also visited residents at the Parkdale Manor through the Adopt-A-Grandparent program.

  • Janina Morusiewicz, Volleyball, Barry

    Janina Morusiewicz is a member of Barry's 1995 Division II national championship team and the 1997 national runner-up team. Her sister, Marya, also a volleyball player at Barry, was a Woman of the Year finalist in 1996. Janina was team captain and was named to an NCAA regional tournament team in 1997.

    Morusiewicz was selected the university's 1997-98 outstanding biology major and won Barry's Female Scholar/Athlete of the Year honors twice.

    She was named a GTE Academic All-American in 1997-98 and graduated in May 1998 as a pre-veterinary student with a minor in chemistry.

    During her senior year, Morusiewicz volunteered at the Dade Animal Clinic, tutored in the biology mentor program, and was a campus tour guide. She also has worked as the publicity coordinator for the campus hunger awareness committee.

  • Anne West, Rowing, Iowa

    Anne West began her rowing career at Iowa as a freshman walk-on, but by 1997 she had been named an all-American. She was a member of the fours team, which placed fourth in the 1997 NCAA championships, and served as team captain during the season.

    She was the volunteer coordinator for the women's rowing team for two years and a member of the Women's intercollegiate Sports Council.

    During the summer of 1997 and the following term, she worked as a student academic adviser for the Iowa's Office of Orientation, leading classes for entering students during orientation programs. West also spent time reading to a kindergarten class once a week in the Rock and Read program and visited with residents at the Ecumenical Towers Retirement Center.


State Winners:

1997 NCAA Woman of the Year Logo

  • Alabama: University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Merritt Leigh Booth, Gymnastics
  • Alaska: University of Alaska Anchorage, Zuzana Razusova, Skiing
  • Arizona: Arizona State University, Kellee Anne Booth, Golf
  • Arkansas: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Christy Smith, Basketball
  • California: University of California, Los Angeles, Nada Mufid Kawar, Track
  • Colorado: University of Colorado, Boulder, Kelly Elizabeth Smith, Cross Country, Indoor/Outdoor Track
  • Connecticut: Quinnipiac College, Tara Thibeault, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Basketball
  • Delaware: University of Delaware, Liza Shoemaker, Lacrosse
  • District of Columbia: Catholic University, Janet Muckenthaler, Track, Cross Country
  • Florida: Barry University, Janina Lara Morusiewicz, Volleyball
  • Georgia: Emory University, Alicia K. Moore, Basketball, Volleyball, Track
  • Hawaii: University of Hawaii, Manoa, Nicole Cockett, Basketball
  • Idaho: Boise State University, Johnna Evans, Gymnastics
  • Illinois: Eureka College, Sarah E. Gohl, Basketball, Tennis
  • Indiana: Ball State University, Jennifer Brown, Field Hockey
  • Iowa: University of Iowa, Anne West, Rowing
  • Kansas: University of Kansas, Maria Abatjoglou, Tennis
  • Kentucky: University of Kentucky, Beth Leake, Diving
  • Louisiana: Louisiana State University, Amy McClosky, Gymnastics
  • Maine: University of Southern Maine, Heather B. Gilmour, Field Hockey
  • Maryland: College of Notre Dame (Maryland), Emily Kristina Yanero, Volleyball, Basketball, Tennis
  • Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Shannon M. LeBlanc, Field Hockey
  • Michigan: Alma College, Marisa K. Proctor, Swimming & Diving
  • Minnesota: Gustavus Adolphus College, Rebecca Wold, Basketball, Track, Cross Country
  • Mississippi: Millsaps College, Heidi Hudlow, Soccer
  • Missouri: Northwest Missouri State University, Katherine Ann Kearns, Cross Country, Indoor/Outdoor Track
  • Montana: University of Montana, Skyla R. Sisco, Basketball
  • Nebraska: Creighton University, Carrie Welle, Basketball
  • Nevada: University of Nevada, Lisé Mackie, Swimming
  • New Hampshire: Colby-Sawyer College, Kim-Laura Boyle, Soccer, Lacrosse
  • New Jersey: Princeton University, Amy Elizabeth MacFarlane, Field Hockey, Lacrosse
  • New Mexico: New Mexico State University, Anna Jane Eathorne, Golf
  • New York: Ithaca College, Heidi Nichols, Volleyball, Track, Basketball
  • North Carolina: Fayetteville State University, Reeshemah Parkinson, Volleyball, Softball
  • North Dakota: North Dakota State University, Andrea Jeseritz, Track
  • Ohio: College of Wooster, Heather K. Heitsenrether, Field Hockey
  • Oklahoma: Oral Roberts University, Heidi Miller, Volleyball
  • Oregon: Oregon State University, Deanne Droegemueller, Gymnastics
  • Pennsylvania: Allegheny College, Jennifer Erdos, Swimming
  • Rhode Island: Brown University, Margaret Gardel, Rowing
  • South Carolina: Newberry College, Lovee T. McKinney, Basketball
  • South Dakota: Northern State University, Nadya Wiedrich, Track
  • Tennessee: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Leslie Ann Henley, Track
  • Texas: University of Texas at Austin, Vera S. Ilyina, Swimming & Diving
  • Utah: Brigham Young University, Amy Steele Gant, Volleyball
  • Vermont: Middlebury College, Kathryn Masselam, Cross Country, Outdoor Track
  • Virginia: University of Virginia, Peggy Boutilier, Lacrosse, Field Hockey
  • Washington: Seattle Pacific University, Lisa Marie Malmin, Track
  • West Virginia: Bethany College, Kathleen M. McGowan, Swimming, Cross Country, Track
  • Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Lace Elly Van Zeeland, Track, Cross Country
  • Wyoming: University of Wyoming, Molly Cochran, Cross Country

Virginia captures its first College World Series title

Virginia lived up to the preseason hype by taking home the championship trophy with a 4-2 win over Vanderbilt in Game 3 of the championship series June 24, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Virginia captures second title in three years

Virginia lost to only two teams this season, but picked the perfect time for revenge – in the national semifinals and championship.

New role, familiar result for Virginia

The University of Virginia, which atypically entered this year’s tournament as an underdog,  defeated the No. 2 seed, UCLA, 4-2 in penalty kicks in the tournament final Dec. 14 in Cary, North Carolina.

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