A national champion and All-American, recent Kenyon College graduate Tracy Menzel (Greencastle, IN/Greencastle) has been named the 2009 North Coast Athletic Conference Pam Smith Award winner.
Menzel was a four-year member of the Ladies swim team, which won the NCAA Division III championship in each of her last three seasons. Additionally, Menzel worked her way to three event titles. She was the 2007 and 2009 national champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, as well as a member of the 2007 national champion 200-yard medley relay team. She was a 16-time NCAA All-American and a national runner-up in four other events throughout her career. At the conference level, she was a 12-time All-NCAC honoree.
Menzel holds four Kenyon records, which were all set this past season. She was the 2008-09 team captain and the recipient of the Ladies' Daniel G. Ray Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the team's most valuable member. She earned several other team awards and topped off the list with Kenyon's Jess Willard Falkenstine Award, given to outstanding scholar-athletes who best display the distinguished characteristics of leadership and integrity.
A Women's and Gender Studies major, Menzel produced equally impressive results in the classroom. She possessed a 3.82 grade point average and was the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. She was a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Academic All-American and was named a 2009 ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American.
Her efforts in the pool and in the classroom were matched by the time and energy she spent in volunteer roles. She was involved with the campus' Sexual Misconduct Task Force and Take Back the Night Committee. She served on the advisory board for both the Women and Gender Studies Department and the Crozier Center for Women program. She also spent time as a Discrimination Advisor, an Upper Class Counselor, and a team captain in the Relay for Life initiative.
Menzel plans to spend the next two years with Teach for America as a social studies instructor in the Rio Grande Valley before attending a graduate school program for either public policy or non-profit administration and management.
She was one of three outstanding nominees considered by the selection committee. The other candidates were:
Hohl, swimming, Denison University
Nicole Ouellet, cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field, Oberlin 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 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 NCAC 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, Menzel 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 one distinguished female student-athlete for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will meet in August to select the top 10 winners in each division. In September, the selection committee will then evaluate the 30 honorees and choose the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA 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 III will be honored and the 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis October 18, 2009.