INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, October 17. JUSTINE Schluntz, a former swimming student-athlete at the University of Arizona, past-NCAA champion and 2010 Rhodes Scholar, is the 2010 NCAA Woman of the Year.
Schluntz accepted the award – among the most prestigious the NCAA bestows – during the 20th annual NCAA Woman of the Year event tonight, October 17, at the Indiana Convention Center. The award honors female student-athletes who have completed their eligibility, demonstrated academic and athletics excellence while demonstrating extraordinary community service and leadership.
Schluntz majored in mechanical engineering at Arizona and graduated summa cum laude.
"Studying engineering as a female generated many challenges, but by working through these, I learned to persevere in the face of adversity in any setting," she said in her personal statement on her nomination form.
A committee of representatives from NCAA schools and conferences selected nine finalists from a pool of 30 selected honorees. Those individuals were identified from an initial pool of 131 conference and independent honorees representing all three NCAA divisions and multiple sports.
The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics selected Schluntz as the national winner.
A native of Albuquerque, Schluntz is the fourth student-athlete from the University of Arizona and seventh swimming student-athlete to be named NCAA Woman of the Year. She represents the Pac-10 Conference.
After suffering a season-ending injury her freshman year, Schluntz began to mentor younger athletes and get involved in community service. She volunteered for Big Brothers/Big Sisters for two years, taught swim lessons to children and volunteered with Casa de los Ninos, an organization that seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect by offering services that promote child safety and family stability, in which she spent time with children and helped distribute Christmas gifts.
Schluntz, a 2010 Rhodes Scholar, will study at Oxford University and specifically research the viability of harnessing tidal energy from the oceans to use as a renewable resource.. She was a finalist for the NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship and the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. The University of Arizona presented Schluntz with the Robie Medal at commencement, which is given to a student who exhibits "promise for the future."
Schluntz was an NCAA National Champion for the 200- and 400-meter medley relay two consecutive years and was named to the Pac-10 First Team All-Academic Swim Team for three consecutive years. A 16-time NCAA All-American, she helped Arizona win the 2008 Division I women's team championship.
In addition to being named Athletics Academic Champion and Distinguished Scholar, she was named the Athletics Valedictorian at Arizona.
Last year's NCAA Woman of the Year was Lacey Nymeyer, also a former swimming student-athlete and teammate of Schluntz at Arizona.
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