Phillips becomes Wash. U.’s first ever NCAA Woman of the Year
On Sunday night, 2012 Washington University graduate Liz Phillips became the first Wash. U. student-athlete ever to win the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Phillips, a captain of last year’s national champion cross-country team and the winner of numerous athletic and academic awards in her time at Wash. U., was chosen from a field of nine finalists—across all three NCAA divisions—who were chosen out of an initial group of nearly 430 applicants.
“I was totally shocked. I really didn’t expect to win,” Phillips told Student Life Sunday night. “It was such an honor just to be chosen as a finalist for this award along with so many other accomplished women. But winning was definitely surreal. I feel very proud to represent Wash. U. and Division III in this way.”
Not only was she the first student from Wash. U. to win the award, but she was also only the third-ever winner from the Division III level.
The honor first awarded in 1991, “recognizes not only the athletics achievements of outstanding young women, but also their academic achievements, community service and leadership,” as per the award’s description on the NCAA website.
Phillips was announced as the winner at a ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday evening.
“Sitting through the ceremony and the biographies of all the selected students and knowing that she was the selected winner—I don’t even know if there’s words,” Jeff Stiles, track and field and cross-country head coach, said. “It’s a testament to who she is and what she did for the institution. It’s just really wonderful.”
“I am so proud of Liz Phillips. She is my role model and best friend,” junior Sarah Fisher, Phillips’ teammate on cross country and track & field, said. “Even though she has left Wash. U., she continues to impact our lives.”
Sahil Patel contributed to this report.