Don Weast, Associate Athletic Director
On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that Emporia State women’s track and field All-American Brianna Schmitz is one of a record 585 nominees across all three divisions for the NCAA Woman of the Year. Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
Schmitz graduated with a 3.96 GPA in health promotion and has a 4.00 in her master’s level program in health, physical education and recreation this year. She earned Google Cloud Academic All-American honors, is an MIAA Scholar-Athlete and member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and the ESU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. She has earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Individual honors as well as being a D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award winner.
The Hiawatha, Kan. native won the MIAA Championship in the outdoor heptathlon with 5,003 points. It is the second highest point total in Emporia State history. She was named Second-Team All-American after placing ninth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. She earned First-Team All-American honors for the Hornets during the indoor season by finishing fourth in the pentathlon at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships with 3,820 points. She became the first Emporia State woman to earn All-American honors in the pentathlon and gave the Hornets a 32nd place finish in the overall team standings. She set a school record with 3,837 points at the MIAA Indoor Championships, breaking a 21 year old record in the event.
Schmitz is one of four nominees from the MIAA. The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award. A record 585 female college athletes have been nominated by NCAA member schools for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award. The nominees competed in 23 different sports across all three NCAA divisions, including 262 from Division I, 131 from Division II and 192 from Division III. Multisport student-athletes account for 144 of the nominees.
Next, conferences will select up to two nominees each from the pool of school nominees. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees – 10 from each division. The selection committee will determine the top three honorees from each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.
Lady Hornet point guard Cassondra Boston was a top 30 finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year in 2010 while volleyball and basketball player Brittany Miller was the MIAA’s nominee the next year. Prior to 2006 the honor was awarded by state rather than conference and did not differentiate between the three divisions. Emporia State had four Kansas NCAA State Woman of the Year honorees from 1999-2003.