July 31, 2008
SAN BRUNO, Calif., -- Jenna Shay of Pepperdine, Stephanie Cox of Portland, and Bronwyn Russell of Saint Mary's have been nominated by the West Coast Conference for the 18th annual NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award honors student-athletes in their senior year of academic eligibility for their collegiate achievements in service, leadership, athletics and academics. Conferences may recognize two nominees as long as one of the nominees is a person of color. This year, the WCC chose to nominate a third candidate. Since Russell competes in softball, which is not a conference sponsored sport, the WCC decided to include her among the nominees.
Shay was a four-year varsity letter-winner at Pepperdine on the women's soccer team and was twice named co-captain of the team. During her career at Pepperdine, she was named to the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll all four years and was a member of the Pepperdine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). During the summer of 2007, Shay spent time in Uganda teaching soccer clinics, volunteering in a medical clinic, and teaching her faith. She also spent time as a student-teacher at local middle and high schools earning her the Athletic Director's Award for Excellence in Academics, Athletics, and Community Service.
Cox was a four-time All-American on the women's soccer team. She has amassed an impressive resume while at Portland, including being a two-time WCC Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time member of the WCC All-Conference team. Cox also has plenty of international experience as she was the only collegiate member of the 2007 USA World Cup team and will also be competing on this year's U.S. Olympic team in Beijing. She has made the Dean's List all four years at Portland, the WCC All-Academic team her last three years, and was a 2007 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Recipient for Women's Soccer. During her time at Portland, Cox also volunteered at the Marie Smith Center and the Ronald McDonald House.
Russell was a four-year varsity letter-winner at Saint Mary's on the softball team and was the 2005 Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) Freshman of the Year, and a three-time PCSC First-Team All-Conference selection. Russell was a member of Saint Mary's SAAC, serving as President during her last two years. A two-time Co-SIDA District 8 First-Team Academic All-American, Russell also received the George R. McKeon Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year Award given to a graduating senior who excelled athletically, academically, and within the community. She also spent time volunteering in the food kitchen at St. Vincent de Paul.
In August, 2008, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA) will select the top 10 winners in each division. From among those 30 honorees, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the 2008 NCAA Woman of the Year. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2008 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis on October 19, 2008.
In 2006 the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA) changed the nomination format to a conference rather than state winner system. In the past two years, 249 student-athletes were nominated by their conference, representing multiple ethnicities and all NCAA-sponsored sports within Divisions I, II and III.