INDIANAPOLIS—Barry’s Grace Collins advanced to the top-three in Division II for NCAA Woman of the Year on Thursday.
The softball star joins runner Kate Griewisch of Lenoir-Rhyne and tennis player Verena Preikschas of California State Stanislaus as the honorees from Division II.
During her time at Barry, Collins made an impact on her school and the community around her. Collins served as vice president for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and traveled to Nashville to assist with relief of the 2010 flood. She was a committee chair for Make-A-Wish Walk for Wishes, America’s Moms For Soldiers and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
A four-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar Athlete, she was named to the academic all-district team in 2011. She was the first student-athlete to win the Barry University President’s Award, which is presented to the most outstanding senior. In 2012, Collins received the university’s Excellence in Leadership Award.
Collins was named NFCA first-team All-South Region and was a first-team All-American in 2011. She also earned first-team all-region and third-team All-America honors through Daktronics as both a junior and a senior. She also received Sunshine State Conference first-team accolades in 2011 and 2012.
“Collegiate athletics has taught me the importance of determination, hard work and undying passion,” Collins said in her personal statement. “In life, everyone feels adrenaline and stress, makes mistakes and some successful strides. But it is those who learn to excel through adversity, manage stress, turn mistakes into learned lessons and handle achievements with humility who will ultimately succeed in the future. Collegiate athletics has empowered me with this competitive edge to not only handle any situation but to conquer it successfully.”
The three Division II finalists are joined by the Division I group (Hillary Bach, Arizona State, softball; Brooke Pancake, Alabama, golf and Alexi Pappas, Dartmouth, cross country/track) and the Division III group (Kelsey Kittleson, Luther, softball; Sarah Jane Otey, Coast Guard, rowing/swimming and Elizabeth Phillips, Washington-St. Louis, cross country/track) to form the top-9 finalists.
The nine finalists, along with the other honorees who made the Top 30, will be invited to Indianapolis for the Woman of the Year festivities. The award weekend (Oct. 12-14) will include a community service project that gives honorees the opportunity to interact with young girls in the city of Indianapolis and serve as role models for them. The NCAA will also host a reception in their honor.
The NCAA’s Woman of the Year Award, now in its 22nd year, honors female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academic achievement, athletic excellence, community service and leadership. Every NCAA member institution is encouraged to honor its top graduating female student-athlete by submitting her name for consideration. Each conference assesses the eligibility of its members’ nominees and selects at least one student-athlete to represent the conference.
To be eligible for the award, a female student-athlete must have completed eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2012 spring season, graduated no later than the end of the summer 2012 term and achieved a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics selects the national winner from the nine finalists.