The University of Arizona has a great history with the NCAA Woman of the Year award, claiming the honor three previous times. The Wildcats could make it four winners in nine years, as Margo Geer has been announced as one of the nine finalists for the prestigious award.
Aquatic sports is well represented in the list of nine women, as two swimmers and a diver are on the roster. The award will be presented at a ceremony in Indianapolis on October 18.
Three of the finalists come from the NCAA Division I ranks, three from Division II and three from Division III schools. The Pac 12 conference is reveling in today’ news, as two from that conference are finalists. In addition to Geer, tennis player Zoe Scandalis of the University of Southern California was also picked for the top nine.
Geer’s accomplishments in the pool are well-known. She won the 50 and 100 freestyle NCAA titles in 2014 and was a multiple Pac 12 champion for Arizona. Her first major international meet was last summer at the world championships, where she helped the USA win a couple of relay medals. Out of the pool, Geer is just as stellar. She graduated cum laude with a degree in business management and won the University of Arizona Golden Eagle in 2014. In the community, she volunteers often with the Boys and Girls Club and puts on swim clinics.
“I strive to be relentless in pursuit of my passions and serve to motivate others as they aspire to be the best at whatever they choose to be,” Geer said in a statement. “My experiences have strengthened my fundamental values and I look forward to using what I’ve learned as I continue my journey.”
If Geer wins, she’ll join Whitney Myers (2007), Lacey Nymeyer (2009) and Justine Schluntz (2010) as Arizona swimming’s NCAA Woman of the Year winners. Tanya Hughes was Arizona’s first Woman of the Year, winning in 1994. Three swimmers from the University of Georgia — Kim Black, Lisa Coole and Kristy Kowal — gives swimming six winners in the 24-year history of the award.
Swarthmore College’s Supriya Davis is the other swimmer on the list. She never lost a dual meet race in the 100- or 200-yard butterfly, and was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American. She’ll be heading to India soon to research tuberculosis as a Fulbright Scholar.
“Through this incredible opportunity, I hope to continue sharing my love for swimming by teaching swim lessons in New Delhi, India, in the upcoming year, while applying my scientific curiosity to develop a rapid diagnostic assay for tuberculosis in order to protect lives in India and across the globe,” said Davis.
Diver Kristin Day represented Clarion University of Pennsylvania at the Division II level and has her name in the record books. She scored a record 539.35 points on the 3-meter springboard at last spring’s NCAA championships to win the national title. In 2014 and 2015, she also won the 1-meter competition and was named the 2014 Division II Diver of the Year. She earned a degree in chemistry with a 4.0 grade point average, and won the Elite 89 Award in 2014.
“I entered Clarion University to dive and took up the study of biochemistry, in which I studied with the same fervor that I approached my training in diving,” Day said. “My desire to study the mysteries of the human body have led me to seek a career path in medicine. My training in diving has taught me to keep a positive attitude in the face of adversity and has given me the attributes to prepare me for the upcoming challenges.”
Below are the remaining six finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year award:
Kelsey Graham, Wheaton College (soccer)
Margaret McPhail, DePauw University (tennis)
Colleen Quigley, Florida State University (track and field, cross country)
Zoe Scandalis, University of Southern California (tennis)
Taylor Skala, Rockhurst University (soccer, basketball)
Rebecka Surtevall, Arkansas Tech University (golf)
A press release from the NCAA contributed to this article.