Story Courtesy of Kenyon Sports Information Department
Recent Kenyon College graduate and four-year member of the Ladies swimming and diving team, Ellie Crawford (Las Vegas, NV/Meadows School), was named one of nine finalists still in contention for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
Those nine finalists came from a record-setting field of 543 Woman of the Year nominees. In early August, that field was whittled down to 145 nominees selected by their conferences. A month later, the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee narrowed the group down to 30 women, ten nominees from each of the three NCAA divisions. Wednesday, the field was further pared to nine finalists, three from each division.
The finalists will meet in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 22 for an awards ceremony in which the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced.
Throughout the entire process, the nominees were evaluated on their achievements in academics, athletics, community service and leadership.
Crawford, a physics major, earned a 3.96 grade point average in her Kenyon studies and conducted several research projects, including studying Precambrian ocean tide modeling for applications in geology as part of an independent study with the University of Michigan. She graduated summa cum laude and with distinction for her physics senior exercise. She earned three College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America honors and was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America 2017 Division III Academic All-America Women's At-Large Team. She received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship for research in 2016, the Kenyon College Elbe H. Johnson Prize in physics and the Kenyon Science Scholarship. Crawford qualified three times for the North Coast Athletic Conference Academic Honor Roll and was recently awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
In the pool, Crawford competed in the 400-yard individual medley and the 200-yard breaststroke. She helped lead the Ladies to one conference championship and personally qualified for three NCAA Championships, where the Ladies twice ended the season as national runner-up. Crawford collected four CSCAA All-America honors and received the 2017 Stephen E. Bennett Memorial Award, presented annually to the graduating senior who consistently supported the Kenyon swimming team in devotion to training and competition swimming.
Crawford participated in several community-focused organizations throughout her time at Kenyon. She was a four-year member of and served in multiple leadership roles for BE: Kenyon, a Christian-affiliated organization on campus. She served as a counselor for incoming freshmen and volunteered in tutoring programs at nearby elementary and middle schools, working with at-risk students. She also participated annually in fundraisers for Relay for Life and the Salvation Army.
In her nomination form, Crawford wrote, "[I had an opportunity] to share my faith with one of my closest friends in her time of adversity, [and it] lit a fire beneath me. How I chose to live my life could indeed inspire others, and often the challenges I overcame meant more to [my friends] than my successes."
"With newfound confidence and less fear of failure, I took on more risks as an athlete, set lofty goals in my independent research and sought out leadership roles on campus… The lessons I learned as an athlete shaped my time in college and better equipped me to make a positive impact in the world."