Duke’s Blazing, Miami’s McCormack Among NCAA Woman of the Year Top 30
ACC duo among top 10 Division I nominees; finalists to be announced later this month
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Atlantic Coast Conference nominees Lauren Blazing of Duke (field hockey) and Kara McCormack of Miami (swimming and diving) have been selected as NCAA 2016 Woman of the Year Top 30 Honorees.
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.
Nominations from conferences in each of the NCAA’s three divisions were submitted in July, and Blazing and McCormack are among 10 Division I student-athletes that remain in contention. The selection committee will now determine the top three from each division to make up the nine overall finalists. Those finalists will be revealed later this month, and the national winner will be announced during the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year awards event on Sunday, October 16 in Indianapolis.
“This year’s top 30 honorees have achieved remarkable things during their time in college,” said Sarah Hebberd, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee and director of compliance at the University of Georgia. “They are model student-athletes for generations of young women to come, and we are immeasurably proud of their accomplishments.”
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 following both her junior and senior seasons. 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 2016 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.
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