INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA has announced the nine finalists for its 18th annual Woman of the Year award. The nominees represent all three divisions and have excelled in academics, athletics, leadership and community service.

The 2008 Woman of the Year will be announced at an awards dinner in Indianapolis Oct. 19. An hour-long broadcast of the event will air on ESPN2 at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 5.

Honorees are selected based on academic achievement, service and leadership activities, athletics excellence, and a personal statement describing benefits she has gained from her experience as a student-athlete.

To be eligible for this honor, female student-athlete must have earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport and competed during the 2007-08 academic year. Each individual must have completed intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2008 spring season and carry a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5.

This years top 9 honorees are:

o?? Susan Ackermann, Salisbury University (lacrosse), Capital Athletic Conference

o?? Nkolika Anosike, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (basketball), Southeastern Conference

o?? Jennifer Artichuk, Delta State University (swimming), Independent

o?? Shanti Freitas, Smith College (swimming), New England Womens & Mens Athletic Conference

o?? Arianna Lambie, Stanford University (cross country, track and field), Pacific-10 Conference

o?? Samantha Mitchell, Mount Olive College (volleyball, track and field), Conference Carolinas

o?? Lindsey Ozimek, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (soccer), Atlantic 10 Conference

o?? Sarah Schettle, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh (track and field, cross country, swimming), Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

o?? Heather Walker, Georgian Court University (volleyball, softball), Central Atlantic Athletic Conference.

While in Indianapolis, honorees also will participate in a Habitat for Humanity service project.

Whitney Myers, a former swimming student-athlete at Arizona, was the 2007 Woman of the Year.

Following are some of the achievements of this years finalists:

Susan Ackermann, Salisbury University

Capital Athletic Conference

Lacrosse

Academic achievements: Graduated in May 2008 with a major in exercise science with minors in marketing management and business administration.? Capital Athletic Conference Womens Scholar Athlete of the Year, 2008. Salisbury Female Scholar Athlete of the Year, 2008. Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division III Scholar Athlete of the Year, 2008. ESPN The Magazine Womens At-large Academic all-American of the Year, 2008.

Athletics achievements: All-time leader in career goals and assists at Salisbury. IWLCA, Inside Lacrosse and womenslacrosse.com first-team all-American. Two-time conference player of the year. Winner of the Maryland Association of College Directors of Athletics post graduate scholarship. Inside Lacrosse Athlete of the Year.

Service and leadership: Campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, 2005-08.? Soccer and basketball manager, 2005-08. Senior Games volunteer, 2006-08. Served as vice president of national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa, 2007-08.

Excerpt from personal statement: Competing in athletics at the college level has prepared me with great time management, leadership, and teamwork skills. I learned to stay poised under the pressure of simultaneously preparing for tests, presentations, practices and games. My leadership abilities flourished in college in being a two-time team captain as well as holding officer positions in academic groups.
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Nkolika Anosike, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Southeastern Conference

Basketball

Academic achievements: Graduated in May 2008 with a triple major in political science, legal studies and sociology.? SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2005-08. ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American, second-team, 2007-08. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship winner for Tennessee, 2008.

Athletics achievements: Two-time NCAA Womens Final Four all-tournament team selection. Member of one SEC regular-season and three SEC tournament championship teams. Twice led the Lady Vols in blocked shots. Member of the two USA U19 Womens Basketball World Championship teams and the 2007 USA Pan-American team. Drafted into the WNBA by the Minnesota Lynx.

Service and leadership: Team captain, 2007-08. Campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, 2007-08. Volunteer for the East Tennessee Childrens Hospital, elementary school career day, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Lady Vol Fund Run.

Excerpt from personal statement: Leadership through example makes a difference. I have had opportunities to learn this lesson, most recently as I helped lead the Lady Vols basketball team to its eighth national championship. I was not the superstar; I did the unglamorous work that wins games and brings success in life. Some of our most effective leaders are not in the spotlight but lead by example through hard work and dedication. This assertion reflects who I am and what I hope to become.


Jennifer Artichuk, Delta State University

Independent

Swimming

Academic achievements: Graduated in May 2008 with a major in accounting. Three-time College Swim Coaches Association academic all-American. Three-time New South Intercollegiate Swim Conference (NSISC) academic all-conference selection. Recipient of the Reynolds-Chiz Scholarship in Accountancy, 2007-08.

Athletics achievements: Delta State Charles S. Kerg Senior Athlete of the Year, 2008. Four-time all-NSISC pick.? Holds the NSISC record in the 200 meter butterfly and the school record in the 100 meter and 200 meter butterfly. Three-time first-team all-American.? Team captain, 2006-08. Two-time NSISC champion.

Service and leadership: Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, 2006-08. President of the Student Accountant Board of Administrators and the Business Students Advisory Committee.? Youth mentor for the Cleveland (Mississippi) Youth Mentor program, 2005-08. Covenant Presbyterian Church Nursery Worker, 2005-08. Participated in the Delta Aquatic Club Mentor program.

Excerpt from personal statement: Being a student-athlete taught me discipline, time management, and built my character. It is not easy being in the pool four hours a day, in class all day, working at night, and still finding time to get my homework done. Knowing that I had to be successful in these endeavors to reach my goals kept me going and kept me strong.?


Shanti Freitas, Smith College

New England Womens & Mens Athletic Conference

Swimming

Academic achievements: Sociology major with minors in education and child study who graduated in May 2008. Three-time academic all-American. NEWMAC academic all-conference selection, 2006 and 2008. Deans List, 2005-06. Seven Sisters Scholar-Athlete Award, 2008.

Athletics achievements: Three-time Seven Sisters diving champion. Three-time all-American diver. First-team all-NEWMAC selection. NCAA Leadership Conference participant, 2005. Rookie of the Year, Sophomore Athlete of the Year and Senior Athlete of the Year at Smith. Team captain, 2007-08.

Service and leadership: Associate director of Best Buddies program.? Student mentor at an after-school program. Campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, 2005-06.? Volunteered at La Case de la Mujer, a domestic violence project in Ecuador, while studying abroad.? Served as an outreach inter for Engaging Latino Families in Education, 2007.

Excerpt from personal statement: Having to constantly divide my time carefully between academics, athletics and extracurricular activities, I have learned that staying organized is essential to being able to manage my time well and accomplish all that I need and want to do. However, more than good habits and life skills in time management, the most important lessons I have learned from being a student-athlete come from interactions with my classmates, teammates, and coaches.


Arianna Lambie, Stanford University?

Pacific-10 Conference

Cross county, track and field

Academic achievements: Graduated in May 2008; majored in Earth systems. Three-time first-team academic all-American. CoSIDA University Division all-American Track and Field and Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Recipient of the Al Masters Award, presented annually to the Stanford student-athlete attaining the highest standards of athletic performance, leadership, and academics achievement.

Athletics achievements: Member of four Division I cross country national championship teams. Four-time cross country and three-time track and field all-American. Member of four indoor and four outdoor Pac-10 championship teams. Pac-10 Cross Country Athlete of the Year, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trails. Track team captain, 2007.

Service and leadership: Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award winner, 2008. Served as president of the Science and Environmental Education program, 2006-08.? Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics volunteer. School of Earth Sciences Graduate Student Advisory Committee, 2007-08.

Excerpt from personal statement: Nothing taught me the worth of listening to mind, body and other peoples needs as did running at Stanford. With patience has come the equally invaluable acquisition of perspective. Stanfords encouragement to pour myself into each of my several passions at the appropriate times has been one of the greatest gifts the school provided.


Samantha Mitchell, Mount Olive College

Conference Carolinas

Volleyball, track and field

Academic achievements: Psychology major who graduated in May of 2008. NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, 2008. Mount Olive Athletics Department Honor Roll 2004-08. Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll, 2004-08. Conference Carolinas Academic All-Conference, 2007-08.

Athletics achievement: American Volleyball Coaches Association regional all-American, 2008. Conference Carolinas Volleyball Player of the Year, 2007. Three-time first team all-conference selection in volleyball. Established school record for career digs and ranked second in career kills. 2008. Captain of outdoor track and field in the programs inaugural season of competition, 2008. Mount Olives Most Outstanding Female Student-Athlete, 2008.

Service and leadership:? National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. NCAA National Leadership Conference participant. Psychology Honor Society. Intern of North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Volunteer for Cystic Fibrosis, Breast Cancer Awareness, and youth basketball camps.

Excerpt from personal statement: Being a student-athlete has shaped my entire being as a person. It has taught me some of the most valuable lessons about life. Athletics have equipped me with the attributes needed for success in my relationships, academics, career and even in building my character. Athletics has taught me how to transfer what I do in the classroom and on the court to my everyday life by communicating effectively and displaying my leadership abilities.
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Lindsey Ozimek, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Atlantic 10 Conference

Soccer

Academic achievements: Special education major who graduated in June 2008. Three-time ESPN The Magazine academic all-American. Four-time academic all-America and three-time Atlantic 10 all-academic team selection. Atlantic 10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, 2007-08. Recipient of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Award, highest honor for academic excellence in the universitys education department.

Athletics achievement: Member of the United States Womens U-20 and U-23 National Teams. First-team all-American. First-team Atlantic 10 all-conference. Member of 2006 conference championship team. Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year, 2007. First-team NSCAA/Adidas All-Southeast Region.

Service and leadership: Youth soccer coach and trainer. Soccer camp administrator. Special education teacher. Member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Designed soccer camps for children with physical and mental disabilities. Team captain, 2005-07.

Excerpt from personal statement: The growth, personal development, and experiences I have gained from being a four-year student-athlete at UNCC has undoubtedly served as the vehicle that propelled me to achieving my goals on and off of the field. As team captain, I have evolved into a more confident, assertive, and resilient leader. As a student athlete, I have been blessed to travel throughout the world to various cities and institutions. These endeavors have allowed me to experience different cultures, nationalities, meet new people, while ultimately, forcing me out of my comfort zone.

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Sarah Schettle, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Indoor and outdoor track and field, cross country and swimming

Academic achievements: Chemistry and Spanish double major who graduated in May 2008. Participant in the University Honors Program. NCAA Division III Womens Outdoor Track and Field All-Academic Team of the Year selection. Academic all-American, 2004-07.

Athletics achievement: Member of three indoor and two outdoor NCAA track and field national championships teams. Two-time indoor track and field All-American. Member of two outdoor track and one indoor conference championship teams.

Service and leadership:? NCAA Sportsmanship Award recipient, 2006. Co-founder of eMentors, an online program connecting current students with alumni. Author of undergraduate research published in a scholarly journal, 2007. Nursing home, Special Olympics and blood drive volunteer.

Excerpt from personal statement: As each athletics season commences, I write goals on index cards and pin them to the ceiling above my bed to remind myself of them at the beginning and close of each day. My senior year I wrote Have no regretsthe most important thing I have learned as a student athlete and the card that will remain on my ceiling. It encompasses why I dedicate myself to taking full advantage of each time I have the opportunity to step on a track, pool deck, or enter a classroom.
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Heather Walker, Georgian Court University

Central Atlantic Athletic Conference

Volleyball and softball

Academic achievements: History major who graduated in May 2008. Spring and fall conference all-academic team pick. National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Scholar Athlete, 2005-07. Deans Scholar, 2004-08.

Athletics achievements: First-team Louisville Slugger/NFCA all-American. CACC Softball Player of the Year, 2007. Two-time Georgian Court Athlete of the Year. Member of one softball and two volleyball conference championship teams. Captain of the softball and volleyball teams, 2005-08.

Service and leadership: National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Women in Leadership Development. Elementary school reading volunteer. President of Pi Delta Phi, the French Honor Society, 2006-08.

Excerpt from personal statement: Through athletics competition, not only have I gained a better appreciation for the game of softball, but I have also gained a better understanding of myself. The amount of time and dedication it takes to be a student-athlete at the Division II level, as well as continually striving to improve myself, has heightened my internal drive which will serve me well as I graduate and pursue new goals. Athletics has provided me the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of people. A simple way to sum up my experience of being a student-athlete at Georgian Court University is that it has been truly transformative.

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