INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. --- NCAA member schools have nominated a record 581 female college athletes for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year award. The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference is represented by Brooke Waidelich from Defiance College, Clare Lenart from Franklin College, and Gabi Razma from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award, established in 1991, honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.
The nominees competed in 20 different women's sports across all three NCAA divisions, including 251 from Division I, 131 from Division II and 199 from Division III. A program-record 170 were multisport athletes in college.
Brooke Waidelich, a former member of Defiance's track and field team, was a First Team All-HCAC honoree in the weight throw, as well as an HCAC Champion and All-Ohio qualifier during the 2017-18 indoor season. The four year letter winner garnered Honorable Mention accolades after a top-five finish in the discus as part of the HCAC Outdoor Championships. In addition, she was also named a member of the USTFCCCA All-Academic track and cross country teams on four separate occasions.
Waidelich currently ranks second in DC history in the weight throw, while also ranking fourth in the discus and fifth in the hammer. She also displayed success in the classroom being named Tom Bohlsen All-Academic HCAC on three separate occasions, as well as a Chi Alpha Sigma honoree. Following her senior campaign, Waidelich garnered the prestige Defiance College Senior Female Athlete of the Year award.
Clare Lenart, a former women's soccer standout at Franklin, was an anchor for the Grizzlies during her senior season, starting all 18 matches while recording 19 points (7 G, 5 A) and helping Franklin win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships. The Seymour, Indiana native ended her career as one of the most decorated student-athletes in school history, finishing with 25 goals and 30 assists for 80 points, giving her the second most all-time in the history of the women's soccer program.
Lenart collected three First Team All-HCAC honors, a pair of United Soccer Coaches All-Region selections, and was named Second Team Academic All-America by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in 2017. After completing her senior season, Lenart was named the recipient of the Jenny Johnson-Kappes Award as the most outstanding senior female athlete at Franklin College.
Gabi Razma, a two-sport student-athlete in volleyball and track and field at Rose-Hulman, was a two-time Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player in two sports, earning Volleyball Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2014 and 2017, Indoor Field Athlete of the Year accolades in 2018, and Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year honors in 2018. Her track and field career included 17 HCAC championships, including seven individual titles in the triple jump. She also claimed four individual championships in the 4-x-400 meter relay, three titles in the 4-x-200 meter relay, two 400-meter individual titles, and the 2018 outdoor javelin championship. Most importantly, her efforts helped Rose-Hulman sweep the 2018 HCAC Indoor and Outdoor team championships.
In the classroom, Razma completed her undergraduate degree in May with a 3.97 grade point average as a biomedical engineering major. She was also named Rose-Hulman's top class of 2018 biomedical engineering graduate.
Conferences now will select up to two nominees each from the pool of school nominees. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.
From the Top 30, the selection committee determines the top three honorees from each division and announces the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then chooses the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year from those nine.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced at the annual award ceremony Oct. 28 in Indianapolis.