The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) has nominated Delaney Nolin of Occidental College and Maya Weigel of the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges for 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year recognition.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions. To be eligible, nominees must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport and must have completed eligibility in her primary sport. The eligible female student-athletes were nominated by their member school and the conference submits its conference nominee(s) to the NCAA.
A total of 145 conference nominees were submitted for 2016 including 53 by NCAA Division III leagues. Twenty-four student-athletes competed in two sports, 22 competed in three sports, two competed in four sports, and one was a five-sport student-athlete. Collectively, the average GPA for the 2016 Woman of the Year nominees is 3.88.
The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee selects the Top 30 nominations, 10 from each NCAA division and then three finalists from each division. The Committee on Women's Athletics selects the winner from the Top 9. All 30 Woman of the Year honorees will be recognized, and the 2016 Woman of the Year announced, at an awards dinner in Indianapolis on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
Delaney Nolin was a three-year member of the Occidental women's outdoor track & field team from 2014-2017 and graduated with a degree in biology, with minors in English and neuroscience. As a senior, Nolin capped an inspirational career by breaking the T-35 Paralympic 800-meter world record with a time of 3:21.24, while earning gold in the 200-meter and silver in the 100-meter at the T-35 United States Paralympic National Championships.
"Attending college I never thought I would compete on a varsity team, but the coaches gave me a chance, valuing hard work and determination over times," Nolin explained. "I discovered a home on the team, which shaped me, teaching me to trust the process and success will come."
Off the track, Nolin has delved into a number of community service endeavors, including being a member of the Planned Parenthood Student Organization, being a research associate with the Vantuna Research Group (Marine Biology), a student worker in the Occidental athletics department, volunteering as a lab assistant at the Galapagos Institute for the Arts and Sciences as well as teaching English through the organization. A Dean's List member in seven of eight semesters, the Cumberland, Maine native also earned the Dean Cromwell Award for Most Inspiring Athlete.
Pomona-Pitzer's women's cross country and indoor/outdoor track & field student-athlete Maya Weigel has also been nominated by the SCIAC for NCAA Woman of the Year consideration. A three-time SCIAC champion in the 1500-meter race, Weigel was also a seven-time NCAA All-American, earning the honor for her performances in the 1500-meter and 5000-meter events, as well as the one-mile race. Her superb collegiate career was capped with a national championship in the 5000-meter run this past May. For her efforts, she was named Pomona-Pitzer's Athlete of the Year, graduates as the school record holder in the 800-meter, 1500-meter and 5000-meter events, was named the West Region Athlete of the Year for cross country (2014, 2015, 2016), and track & field in 2016 and 2017.
"Entering Pomona College, which places a much higher emphasis on academics over athletics, I thought my running career would naturally fall by the wayside to make room for academics and extra-curriculars" Weigel reflected. "After some of my early athletic achievements, it became clear that my passion for the sport would not let the academic/athletic balance tip. On the track, I was driven by the excitement of personal improvement and found that it could parallel and actually support a similar drive in the classroom, to push, learn and succeed. I found passion outside of running in lab research, understanding the impact it could have on finding answers to debilitating diseases."
A native of Los Altos, Calif. with a degree in biology and an Academic All-American, Weigel served as team captain for her cross country and track & field teams as a senior, but also greatly contributed outside of her sports. During her senior year, she completed a thesis project after working for a year in a Pomona research lab studying a protein involved in nervous system development and regeneration after spinal cord injury. She also served as a teaching assistant in neuroscience academic lab; interned at a biotechnology company where she researched therapeutic drugs for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); volunteered in a neurobiology lab doing stem cell research and studying Alzheimer's Disease; and compiled individual statistics for Pomana-Pitzer's Athletic Hall of Fame online database.