UC Davis All-American lacrosse player Kelly Albin was selected Sunday as the recipient of the 14th annual NCAA Woman of the Year award.
The national award recognizes women in intercollegiate athletics for their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community service. After selecting one student-athlete from each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the NCAA pared the list down to 10 finalists on Sept. 17.
"The first word of my speech was 'Wow,' which pretty much says it all," the Fort Bragg native said. "I feel like a PGA Tour golfer who just won the Masters green jacket. I'm very flattered and honored to be chosen among such an amazing group of people with such long lists of accomplishments."
Albin is the third UC Davis student-athlete to capture the award. Track and field standouts Jamila Demby and Tanisha Silas won the honor in 1999 and 2002, respectively. In addition, Albin was the fifth Aggie to reach the top 10 and the sixth to represent California in the 14-year history of NCAA Woman of the Year program.
"When you think about the national scope of this award and the more than 350 institutions is represents, to have three winners is enormous," said UC Davis senior associate athletics director Pam Gill-Fisher, who has served on past selection committees for the award. "It is a statement for what the university stands for philosophically, from the chancellor on down. It's an honor both for Kelly as an individual and for UC Davis as an institution."
Albin graduated magna cum laude from UC Davis in March, earning a degree in food science. She earned a UC Davis Department Citation as the top graduating senior, finishing with a 3.95 composite grade-point average. She recently begun her work toward a master's degree in food science at UC Davis.
As a scholar-athlete, Albin claimed nearly every possible award during her senior year. She was selected as the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association Division II Scholar-Athlete of the Year on the very day that she won the university's W.P. Lindley Award, bestowed upon the campus's top scholar-athlete. Albin also won her second straight CoSIDA Academic All-America award and was selected to both the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Academic All-Conference team and the IWLCA All-Academic Team.
"To have Kelly win the NCAA Woman of the Year award tells us that the university focuses on the right thing, which is the balance of achievement not just on the field, but also in the classroom and in the community," said Judy Sakaki, UC Davis Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
Albin also served as coordinator for UC Davis' Peer Counselors in Athletics. Additionally, she spent the Fall 2003 academic quarter in Urubamba, Peru as a volunteer for the ProPERU Service Corps.