Collins Named Finalist For NCAA Woman of the Year

Collins Named Finalist For NCAA Woman of the Year
Grace Collins is the eighth Buccaneer to be a finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year. Photo by Bachelor Jean Pierre.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Barry University softball player Grace Collins was named a Top 30 finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year.

The finalists, comprised of 10 female student-athletes from each of the NCAA’s three divisions, will be trimmed to nine, representing three from each division in September. All 30 finalists are invited to the NCAA Woman of the Year banquet in Indianapolis.

Collins, a Tampa native who graduated in May with a 3.871 grade point average, earning a dual degree in history and philosophy in the honors program, became the eighth Buccaneer to be chosen as a Top 30 finalist. Barry’s eight finalists are the most for a Division II institution for the prestigious female student-athlete award.

She is the third Barry student-athlete to represent the Sunshine State Conference as the league’s recipient. Last year, Bucs women’s tennis player Barbi Pocza received the honor. In 2006, women’s tennis player Greta Trotman was the SSC’s recipient. Prior to the conference nominating format, Barry had five student-athletes chosen as Florida’s representative when the award process was broken down by states. The eight finalists are tied with the University of Georgia for the most in the program and are the most by a Division II school.

Collins became the first Barry student-athlete to win the school’s President Award as the top graduating senior. She also is a two-time Sr. Jeanne O’Laughlin Community Service Award winner at the school. In the summer, she also won an NCAA post-graduate scholarship, becoming one of 29 female and 29 male spring sports student-athletes to receive $7,500 towards graduate school. She elected to attend the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

A four-year starter for the Buccaneers, Collins received All-American honors the past two seasons. She had a .363 career batting average with 229 hits, 64 RBI, 77 stolen bases and 129 runs scored. She ranks in the Top 10 in 11 school career categories. She is first in sacrifice hits (46), second in hits (229), third in at-bats (630), tied for fourth in stolen bases (77), tied for fourth in starts (199), fifth in games played (204), sixth in batting average (.363), sixth in runs (129), eighth in on-base percentage (.410), eighth in total bases (249) and 10th in stolen base percentage (.875).

As a junior, Collins set a school record with a 19-game hitting streak and led the SSC in batting with a .433 average. She was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association First-Team All-America choice that year. In 2012, she led the team in hitting (.363), runs (31) and stolen bases (29) as Barry advanced to its second straight NCAA Tournament.  During her career, the Buccaneers went 138-68.

In her four-year stay in Miami Shores, Collins volunteered with numerous philanthropic organizations, including Make-A-Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and the Miami Children’s Museum. She also spent countless hours with local-organized events, including Barry’s Safe Halloween, Miami Shores Community Fest, Adopt-A-Family Thanksgiving Food Drive and Gobble Wobble Run.

Collins founded the America’s Moms for Soldiers Care Project at Barry, sending monthly care packages to American soldiers, Marines and airmen serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. She served as president of the Phi Sigma Tau philosophy honor society, was a member of the Phi Alpha Theta history honor society and two prestigious national honor societies, Delta Epsilon Sigma and Kappa Gamma Pi. She was also captain of Barry’s Ethics Bowl team.

Vice President of Barry’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Collins represented the school and SSC at the NCAA Career in Sports Forum. The Forum is a four-day event at which select student-athletes explore and are educated on careers in sports with a primary focus on intercollegiate athletics. Participants are given an educational opportunity to learn and gain valuable exposure to careers in sports, specifically in areas of coaching, administration and sports entertainment. They examine key functions of a coach or administrator within athletics, including foundational skills such as communication, networking, recruiting, managing culture, transitioning and budgeting. Additionally, the Forum dispels myths about careers in athletics, and facilitates the opportunity to gather information from current and future athletics professionals.