Recent Denison University graduate Erin Gorsich (Dover, OH/Dover) has been named the 2008 Pam Smith North Coast Athletic Conference Woman of the Year.
Gorsich starred both on and off the tennis courts for the Big Red. She completed her four-year athletic career by posting a 3-0 record in doubles play in the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championship, helping Denison to a third-place finish - its best in school history. During the regular season, she was the No. 4 singles player and teamed with Kara Zdanowski for a 13-2 record at No. 3 doubles. Overall, Gorsich donned a Big Red uniform for 137 career matches and was 38-16 in singles play and 58-25 in doubles action. She helped Denison compile four straight NCAC championships during her tenure and was a two-time All-NCAC selection, making a second team appearance this spring after earning an honorable mention nod in 2007. Gorsich was also recently named one of four 2008 ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Award winners in recognition of her sportsmanship and leadership.
She boats a 3.83 grade point average in biology and is a 4.0 student in her major. Gorsich was one of seven Denison Presidential Medalists, the highest honor bestowed on a graduating senior. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and also the Phi Society. Gorsich was awarded a Batelle Research Scholarship for biological research in Costa Rica and also spent a semester in Kenya, which resulted in a refereed journal publication. This spring she earned ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District first team honors and Academic All-America third team honors.
In addition to her success on the court and her studies in the classroom, Gorsich filled her little spare time with volunteer efforts. A volunteer with Hope for Autism and the New Beginnings battered women's shelter, she is also an executive of Denison's Green Team, which focuses on the environment. She spent Christmas breaks working with the Cherokee Nation tribe and the Lost Boys of Sudan refugee program.
Gorsich will attend graduate school and pursue her doctorate at Oregon State University in the fall.
Gorsich was one of seven outstanding nominees considered by the NCAC Woman of the Year Committee. The 2008 Woman of the Year candidates were:
Laura Ayer, women's soccer, College of Wooster
* Sara Bohall, women's indoor & outdoor track & field, Earlham College
* Emily Bell, volleyball, Wittenberg University
* Steffi Graf, women's basketball and volleyball, Ohio Wesleyan University
* Stephanie Hemmingson, softball, Kenyon College
* Glenna Kramer, women's swimming & diving, Allegheny College
The NCAC Woman of the Year Award commemorates former Wittenberg women's basketball Head Coach and Associate Director of Athletics Pam Smith, who had a profound impact upon the athletes she coached and the students she taught over an illustrious Wittenberg career that spanned more than two decades. She was the architect of the women's basketball program with the most wins and highest winning percentage in North Coast history through 2007. A 1999 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, Smith earned seven NCAC Coach of the Year awards and compiled a 401-170 record after taking the reins of a struggling program prior to the 1986-87 season. She led the Tigers to eight NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, twelve 20-win seasons and 11 NCAC regular season championships.
As the NCAC winner, Gorsich will also be nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. Each NCAA conference, and independent institutions, can nominate an distinguished female student-athlete for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the top 10 winners in each division in August. From those 30 honorees, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division (September). Finally, the members of the CWAÂ will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the Woman of the Year. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and IIIÂ will be honored and the 2008 NCAAÂ Woman of the Year winner will be announced at a dinner in Indianapolis, on October 19, 2008.