BROOKLINE, Mass. - Newbury College Class of 2017 Graduate Courtney Banks is one step closer to being selected as the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year as she has secured the New England Collegiate Conference's nomination for the award, as announced by the NECC Office on Thursday.
The selection makes Banks the first student-athlete in Newbury College history to be nominated by the conference for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She has also been honored for a school record three times with the Department's Nighthawk of the Year Award given to the most outstanding student-athlete at Newbury.
"This news is absolutely overwhelming and I am humbled to have been chosen, as I know there are many other candidates in the conference that are just as qualified," said Banks. "It is a wonderful feeling to know that all my hard work is being recognized and I honestly could not have done this without the continuous encouragement of my family, friends, Athletics staff, Newbury faculty and staff, and the Newbury community as a whole. I am honored to represent such a caring, supportive school and conference."
A record 543 female student-athletes, across all three of the NCAA's Divisions, began the process of being nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award with approximately one-quarter of these student-athletes making it to the next step in the process.
Conferences represented in this selection process can select up to two nominees from the pool of school nominees within their conference.
"On June 23, 2017, we celebrated the 45th year of Title IX," said NECC Commissioner Del Malloy. "Courtney Banks is a shining example of what Title IX intended to do. Courtney is an outstanding student-athlete in every respect and I know she will represent proudly herself, Newbury College and the NECC as she begins the next chapter of her life."
In her four seasons of volleyball for the Nighthawks, Banks finished her career being named the 2013 NECC Rookie of the Year, 2014 and 2015 NECC Player of the Year.
Banks was also a four-time member of the All-Conference First Team; the second student-athlete in NECC history to accomplish that feat in women's volleyball. (Chelsey Crawford, Daniel Webster, 2009-12)
"I am extremely excited and proud that Courtney Banks has been nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award," said Nighthawks Volleyball Head Coach Peter Kazlas. "Courtney's passion, dedication, and leadership on the court have been a driving factor behind the program's success. She leads through example, and works to make the people around her better."
With the field of student-athletes significantly cut down, the next step in the process begins with the Woman of the Year selection committee, comprised of representatives within the NCAA membership, choosing the top 30 honorees; 10 from each division.
From those 30 honorees, the selection committee will then determine the top three finalists in each division for the Woman of the Year Award, announcing the nine finalists in September.
The 30 honorees will be selected and judged on a combination of cumulative grade point average, athletic excellence, service, and leadership, and a personal statement on their experience as a scholar, an athlete, and a leader.
"I am thrilled for Courtney to be chosen by the NECC Office as the conference's Woman of the Year candidate," said Newbury College Director of Athletics Jonathan Harper. "In my opinion, Courtney is the definition of a student-athlete by dominating on the court and in the classroom. She is a leader in every sense of the word and has left a legacy in the Newbury Department of Athletics as the most outstanding women's volleyball student-athlete in our program's history. As great of a student-athlete as Courtney was over the last four years, she is an even better member of our community. I would like to thank Commissioner (Del) Malloy for selecting her for this prestigious honor."
On October 22, the top 30 honorees will be recognized and the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced from the final nine honorees at the annual award ceremony in Indianapolis.
"As a student-athlete, Courtney excelled on the court and in the classroom, exemplifying the values of the NCAA and Division III," said Newbury College President, Joseph Chillo. "Her leadership, tireless dedication and success in both athletics and academics make her an ideal candidate for Woman of the Year. When I first met Courtney on-campus, I knew she was special. While she left her mark at the College through her academic and athletic accomplishments, Courtney made Newbury a better place for all of our students."
Established in 1991, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have not only distinguished themselves in intercollegiate athletes, but also in the areas of academics, service, and leadership.
About Newbury: Newbury College is a private, independent college located just minutes from Boston in the Fisher Hill neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts. Founded in 1962, Newbury College offers bachelor and associate degree programs in over 20 career-focused majors. Committed to personalized and experience-based teaching, Newbury inspires students to become independent thinkers, valuable collaborators, and global-minded citizens.