DURHAM, N.C. – Recent Duke University graduates Lauren Blazing and Megan Clark are two of 517 female student-athletes that have been nominated for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, as announced Tuesday.
Now in its 26th year, the 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.
Blazing, who hails from Durham, N.C., concluded her career on a high note in 2015, garnering 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 choice while guiding the Blue Devils to the NCAA semifinals for the second time in three seasons. Over her four seasons 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 academic honors include, most recently, earning first team Academic All-America distinction from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). 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.
During the 2016 campaign, Clark established the school and conference records in the outdoor women’s pole vault with a height of 15-2.50 (4.63m) earned at the Duke Invitational April 23. The Fort Benning, Ga., native also excelled at the national level, as her record-setting clearance ranked second in the country among NCAA Division I vaulters and fourth all-time in the NCAA outdoor records book.
In addition to securing a spot at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July, Clark also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she placed fifth overall to earn first team All-America honors. Prior to the national competition, Clark finished second at the ACC Outdoor Championships to secure all-conference recognition. Clark garnered myriad accolades for her efforts throughout the 2016 campaign as well, claiming U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Women’s Field Athlete of the Year honors, while also being named the ACC Women’s Field Performer of the Week three times.
Of the nominees for the 2016 Woman of the Year Award, 231 competed in Division I, 117 competed in Division II and 169 competed in Division III. The 517 total nominees are the most in the history of the award.