Aug. 20, 2009
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced that Rice distance runner Eleanor "Lennie" Waite is one of 30 finalists for the 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Waite is only one of 10 finalists from the NCAA's Divison I level and the only one from Conference USA.
Waite, a native of Austin, Texas, is a 2008 Rice graduate with a 3.84 gpa while majoring in economics, psychology, and managerial studies. She spent the 2008-09 academic year at Rice as a Class III student, which is a post-graduate program at Rice that allows students to continue their education. Waite now intends to enroll into the University of Houston's PhD program in industrial organizational psychology.
This past athletic season saw Waite placing fourth at the Conference USA Cross Country Championship and ninth at the NCAA South Central Regional. During the 2009 indoor track and field campaign, she placed fifth in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championship with a school record time of 4:39.86 to earn All-American status. At the C-USA Indoor Championship, Waite won the mile (4:49.450, placed in the 800m (2:10.97), and then won the 3000m with a winning time of 9:40.16.
The outdoor season saw Waite continue her dominance. She again earned All-America honors with a fifth place finish in the 3000m steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Championship. During the NCAA prelim she set a Rice record with a time of 9:50.48. During competition at the C-USA Outdoor Championship, Waite won the 3000m steeplechase (10:13.92) and the 1500m (4:30.15), in addition to finishing fourth in the 5000m (16:44.64). Waite also set a Rice record in the 1500m with a 4:16.09 time at the Mt. SAC Relays. Furthermore, she was also named to the ESPN The Magazine women's track & field/cross country Academic All-America second team.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award highlights senior women student-athletes who strive in academic achievement, athletics, service, and leadership. The committee composed of representatives from NCAA member schools and conferences elected the top-30 honorees, which includes 10 from each division, from a pool of 132 conference nominees.
The top 30 will be reduced to nine, three from each division, next month and the NCAA Committee of Women's Athletics will select the national winner at the awards dinner on Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.