Duke's Blazing, Miami's McCormack Among NCAA Woman of the Year Nominees

Duo represents Atlantic Coast Conference as nominees for top female student-athlete distinction

GREENSBORO, N.C.  (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference has selected Duke’s Lauren Blazing (field hockey) and Miami’s Kara McCormack (swimming & diving) as its two nominees for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Now in its 26th year, the NCAA Woman of the Year program honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.  From the group of nominees, the top 10 will be chosen from each NCAA division in September.  The selection committee will then determine the top three from each division to make up the final nine finalists.  The national winner will be announced during the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year awards event on Sunday, October 16 in Indianapolis.

Blazing, who hails from Durham, North Carolina, concluded her career on a high note last fall, garnering first team All-America distinction from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA). She was also a first team NFHCA All-South Region and All-ACC choice while guiding the Blue Devils to the NCAA semifinals for the second time in three seasons. Over her four seasons in goal, Blazing compiled a 49-29 ledger and became just the seventh player in program history to earn All-America accolades on three or more occasions. She rounded out her career ranked third at Duke in career saves (385) and goals against average (1.46). She has also represented the program on the international level as a member of the U.S. women’s national team, earning her first international cap in February.

Blazing’s academic honors include, most recently, earning first team Academic All-America distinction from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). It marked the third consecutive year Blazing was a first team selection to the Division I Women’s At-Large Team. She also received a Heidrick Family Postgraduate Scholarship from Duke and an ACC postgraduate scholarship, in addition to being named the ACC Field Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season. Her individual accolades also include the 2015 field hockey “Elite 90” award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating in the finals of each of the NCAA’s championships.

The Hurricanes’ McCormack was one of three Miami women’s divers to qualify for the NCAA Championships. A three-time All-American and the 2013 ACC Women’s Diver of the Year, McCormack competed in 1-meter (258.75) and 3-meter (282.75) dives at the 2016 NCAAs after missing all of the previous season recovering from surgery. The Austin, Texas, native represented Miami at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials for diving and became the first diver in program history to win the high point award at the 2014 United States Diving Winter Nationals.

A mathematics major who holds both graduate and undergraduate degrees from Miami, McCormack is now pursuing her Ph.D with a focus on medical field research. A four-time member of the All-ACC Swimming & Diving Academic Team and the ACC Honor Roll, McCormack has served as Miami’s ACC Student Athletic Advisory Council representative and a USA Diving Rule Committee athlete representative. Her other activities include the “pen pal” program at a local elementary school and work with the National Parks Service.

Blazing and McCormack emerged as the ACC’s 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year candidates following a vote of the league’s 15 member schools. The strong list of ACC nominees also included Boston College’s Haley Skarupa (ice hockey), Duke’s Megan Clark (track & field), Florida State’s Hannah Acton (track & field), Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell (swimming & diving), Miami’s Stephanie Wagner (tennis), North Carolina’s Paige Neuenfeldt (volleyball and basketball), NC State’s Alexis Perry (track & field) and Kaitlyn Kramer (cross country and track & field), Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel (cross country and track & field), Pitt’s Amanda Orchard (volleyball), Syracuse’s Kayla Treanor (lacrosse) and Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew (swimming & diving).

Of the nominees for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, 231 competed in Division I, 117 competed in Division II and 169 competed in Division III. The 517 total nominees are the most in the history of the award. The nominees represent 21 different women’s sports, and 127 of the nominees competed in more than one sport in college.

Former Notre Dame soccer standout Elizabeth Tucker was named the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year. Virginia’s Peggy Boutilier received the honor in 1998, and Wake Forest’s Annie Bersagel was recognized in 2006.

About the ACC 
The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 64th year of competition and 15 members strong, has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. ACC members Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest continue to build upon the cornerstones on which the league was founded in 1953 with a consistent balance of academics, athletics and integrity. The ACC currently sponsors 27 NCAA sports – 14 for women and 13 for men – with member institutions located in 10 states. For more information, visit theACC.com and follow @theACC on Twitter and on Facebook (facebook.com/theACC).