By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
Complete List of Nominees
HOUSTON – Recent Rice track & field alumna Claire Uke (Cedar Hill, Texas) was named a 2015 Woman of the Year Honoree, as announced by the NCAA on Wednesday.
Uke, a two-time First Team All-American in the shot put, was one of two Conference USA athletes nominated for the award, joining UTEP’s Cameasha Turner (women’s basketball).
Uke was the 2015-16 recipient of the Joyce Pounds Hardy award, recognizing the top female student-athlete at Rice University based on athletic performance, academic standing and campus involvement.
She played an instrumental role in helping lead the Owls to a 2015 C-USA Outdoor team championship by winning her second career outdoor shot put title and fifth individual title overall. In 2014, she shattered Regina Cavanaugh’s 29-year-old school record in the shot put and was named the C-USA Female Field Performer of the Meet.
While at Rice, Uke volunteered in two separate medical missions in her parents villages in Eastern Nigeria and was also the interim president of the Umunna Bu Ike Social Club of Nigeria Youth Wing. She also served as a student coordinator at the Melodious Voices of Praise Gospel Choir, was a co-treasurer of the Rice African Student Association and was a volunteer at the Parkland Health and Hospital System.
Now in its 26th year, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.
The 142 nominated female student-athletes were selected from a record 517 school nominees, and represent college athletes from 17 different sports spanning all three NCAA divisions. Of those recognized, 54 nominees competed in Division I, 37 in Division II and 51 in Division III.
In early September, the Woman of the Year selection committee will name the Top 30 honorees, representing the top 10 women in each division. The selection committee will then choose and announce the nine finalists, with three from each division, at the end of September.
Then, from the pool of nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will determine the 2016 Woman of the Year. The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual banquet Oct. 16 in Indianapolis.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program has recognized graduating female student-athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership since its inception in 1991.