INDIANAPOLIS – Gallaudet University senior Elena Ciccarelli’s (Whitesboro, N.Y.) candidacy for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award continued Thursday when the field of 480 candidates was narrowed down to 147 conference honorees. Ciccarelli was selected as the North Eastern Athletic Conference’s (NEAC) nominee and becomes the first Gallaudet student-athlete to receive this distinction.
Now in its 25th year, the NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.
Ciccarelli, who graduated May 15, became the first four-year Gallaudet student-athlete to play three different sports (softball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer) in her career. Ciccarelli, who is deaf, was a true leader and role model and a person that embodied the NCAA Division III philosophy of student-athlete. She never received an all-conference award but her leadership and her willingness to do whatever helped the team out more, she did. The social work major excelled in the classroom with a 3.62 GPA and was a three-time North Eastern Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete selection.
In women's soccer, she played in 65 games (60 starts) where she was a standout defender. On the basketball court, she played in 101 games (98 starts) and finished with 521 points, 686 rebounds, 116 steals and 96 assists. On the softball diamond, she played in 130 games (120 starts) and batted .216, 67 hits, 55 runs, 33 RBI, 13 doubles, four triples and one home run plus a .939 fielding percentage in the outfield.
The 147 conference nominees – the most ever in the history of the program – contains 51 from Division III, 39 from Division II and 57 from Division I. Of the 147 nominees, 31 played basketball, 18 played soccer and 19 played softball while 18 of the nominees played three or more sports. Ciccarelli and Saint Joseph’s (Maine) Theresa Hendrix are the only three-sport athletes that weren’t participating in Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field. The average GPA amongst the conference award honorees is 3.72.
All conference nominees are forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division.
From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three nominees from each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, and the Top 30 honorees celebrated, at the annual award ceremony Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.
Ciccarelli was nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year by Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Sam Atkinson
2015 NCAA Woman of the Year Timeline
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto www.gallaudet.edu.