A Lady contends for Woman of the Year
From an original pool of 132 nominees, recent graduate Tracy Menzel has emerged as a finalist in voting for the NCAA's prestigious Woman of the Year award. The swimmer is one of just nine remaining nominees and one of just three from all NCAA Division III institutions.
Her journey through the months-long process began in June, when she was declared the North Coast Athletic Conference's Woman of the Year. Earning that honor automatically thrust her into the national pool for the NCAA's top award. In August, the national pool of nominees was whittled down to thirty semifinalists.
Menzel will now move on to the final stage of selection, which will be held during an awards dinner and reception in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Sunday, October 18. During the ceremony the 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year will be chosen from the nine finalists.
She is the second Kenyon woman in the past six years to be named a finalist. Ashley Rowatt '03, also a swimmer, was named a finalist and went on to become the NCAA's first-ever Woman of the Year from a Division III institution.
Menzel, who graduated in May, was a four-year member of the Ladies swim team, which won the NCAA Division III championship in each of her last three seasons. In addition to those team titles, Menzel also collected three event titles. She was the 2007 and 2009 national champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, as well as a member of the 2007 national champion 200-yard medley relay team. She was a sixteen-time NCAA All-American and a national runner-up in four other events throughout her career.
In the classroom, she was a women's and gender studies major who maintained a 3.82 grade point average. She was the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, was a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Academic All-American, and was named a 2009 ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American.
Her efforts in the pool and in the classroom were matched by the time and energy she spent in volunteer roles. Menzel was involved with the campus's Sexual Misconduct Task Force and Take Back the Night Committee. She served on the advisory board for the Department of Women's and Gender Studies and the Crozier Center for Women. She also spent time as a discrimination advisor, an upper class counselor, and a team captain in the Relay for Life initiative.
Menzel is currently a Teach for America instructor of social studies in the Rio Grande Valley. "Throughout my academics and athletics career at Kenyon, I have learned that with success and privilege come responsibility-to myself, to my teammates, and to my community," she said on her nomination form. "My major, women's studies and gender studies, has taught me the importance of tying education to social action."