Story Courtesy of Kenyon Sports Information Department
The Top 30 honorees for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Award have been named by the Woman of the Year selection committee. Among the selections, announced Wednesday, was Ellie Crawford, a recent Kenyon College graduate and former Ladies swimmer.
Colleges and universities nominated a record 543 women for this year's award. NCAA conferences then narrowed that total to 145 nominees for the committee's consideration.
The Top 30 honorees, a group comprised of 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions, made it to this level by demonstrating excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership.
"The honorees are remarkable representatives of the thousands of women competing in college sports each year," said Sarah Hebberd, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee and Director of Compliance at Georgia. "They have seized every opportunity available to them on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community, and we are proud to recognize them for their outstanding achievements."
A four-year member of the Kenyon swim program, Crawford qualified for three NCAA Championship meets and collected four career All-America awards. She concluded her senior season by earning an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. She was a first-team Academic All-American as selected by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and was voted Kenyon's 2017 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Scholar-Athlete.
"Honestly, I was speechless when I heard the news," Crawford said. "Being surrounded by so many motivated and brilliant people is both humbling and inspiring. I hope this nomination serves as a testament to the level of excellence achieved daily by the students, faculty, and staff members at Kenyon College, as well as to the incredible support I have received from family members and friends across the country. I thank God daily for these past four years."
In early May, Crawford graduated summa cum laude as a physics major. She was a 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipient, a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American and a three-time member of the NCAC Academic Honor Roll.
"Ellie chose to build her Kenyon experience around the diverse and exciting people and ideas all around her," Head Coach Jess Book said. "Her steadfast love of Kenyon and Kenyon swimming made her a rock of support for her teammates. She believed in the experience, and the pursuit of excellence, and was committed to supporting her teammates from the first stroke to the last."
Crawford is the sixth Kenyon female swimmer to make the Top 30. Haley Townsend was honored last year and Alisha Vereshchagin made the cut in 2012. Prior to that, Tracy Menzel and Rebecca Little were national finalists in 2009 and 1991, respectively. In 2003, Ashley Rowatt was named the NCAA Woman of the Year and became the first-ever recipient from an NCAA Division III institution.
The Woman of the Year selection committee will next name nine finalists, three women from each division, in late September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the 2017 Woman of the Year, who will be announced October 22 at a ceremony in Indianapolis, Indiana.