DURHAM, N.C. – Lauren Blazing, a recent graduate of Duke University and one of the top goalkeepers in program history, was named one of 30 nominees for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Wednesday.
Now in its 26th year, the NCAA Woman of the Year program honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee named 30 women from the pool of 142 conference nominees – 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions – representing 13 sports and a host of undergraduate majors, including biology, accounting, criminal justice, education, engineering and computer science.
The selection committee will name nine finalists – three women from each division – in late September. From the nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2016 Woman of the Year, who will be announced Oct. 16 at a ceremony in Indianapolis.
Blazing, who hails from Durham, N.C., wrapped up her collegiate career on a high note in 2015, earning first team All-America distinction from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA). She was also a first team NFHCA All-South Region and All-ACC selection while anchoring Duke to the NCAA semifinals for the second time in three seasons. Over her four years in goal, Blazing compiled a 49-29 ledger and became just the seventh player in program history to earn All-America accolades on three or more occasions. She rounded out her career ranked third at Duke in career saves (385) and goals against average (1.46). She has also represented the program on the international level as a member of the U.S. women’s national team, earning her first international cap in February.
Blazing’s numerous academic laurels include garnering first team Academic All-America distinction from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) this past spring. It marked the third consecutive year Blazing was a first team selection to the Division I Women’s At-Large Team. She also received a Heidrick Family Postgraduate Scholarship from Duke and an ACC postgraduate scholarship, in addition to being named the ACC Field Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season. At last fall’s NCAA Field Hockey Championship banquet, Blazing was named the recipient of an Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average participating in the finals of each of the NCAA’s championships.
“This year’s top 30 honorees have achieved remarkable things during their time in college,” said Sarah Hebberd, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee and director of compliance at the University of Georgia. “They are model student-athletes for generations of young women to come, and we are immeasurably proud of their accomplishments.”
Former Duke golfer Amanda Blumenherst was one of the top nine finalists for the 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, and former Blue Devil rower Joanna Hingle was recognized as one of 10 finalists for the 2003 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.