INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In recognition of her commitment to academics, athletics and her community, FSU beach graduate and AVCA All-American Vanessa Freire was named a top-30 finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, the committee announced on Thursday (9/6).
Selected from a record 581 school nominees — a group that was then narrowed to 154 nominees by conference offices — the Top 30 honorees include 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions. All have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. The honorees competed in 13 sports and studied a broad range of academic majors, including finance, biochemistry, microbiology, kinesiology, nursing and communication.
“These 30 women have demonstrated outstanding commitment to excelling in the classroom and in their sports while also serving their peers and communities,” said Sherika Montgomery, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee and associate commissioner for governance and compliance at The Summit League. “They represent the best and brightest of women competing in college and sports, and we’re thrilled to celebrate them and their achievements.”
The selection committee will announce the nine finalists, including three women from each NCAA division, in early October. From those finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year. The Top 30 will be celebrated and the Woman of the Year will be named Oct. 28 at a ceremony in Indianapolis.
A 2018 AVCA All-American, Freire leaves Florida State as one of the most accomplished beach volleyball players the program has ever seen. As a two-year team captain, Freire led the Seminoles to a pair of record-setting seasons, and became one of only six players in program history to reach 100 career overall wins. Freire saw three CCSA Conference Championships and two NCAA National Runner-up finishes in her career.
Freire balanced her athletic career with both schoolwork and community service, acting as the Vice President of FSU’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for three years and playing a large role in the Women in Leadership Development program (W.I.L.D.) all four years of her college career.
In 2016, the NCAA selected her to represent Division I athletics at the Youth Leadership Program hosted by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, where participants developed strategies on how to change lives through the use of sport.
Freire graduated from FSU in May of this year with a double major in marketing and advertising, and earned a spot on either the Dean’s List, the ACC Honor Roll or the CCSA Honor Roll every one of her four years. She was most recently added to the 2018 ACC Honor Roll and was named a recipient of the Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgrad Scholarship earlier this year.
Because FSU beach volleyball is a member of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association, associate conference nominees and independent nominees were sent to a separate pool to be considered by a committee. The committee decided on four nominees who do not compete within their school’s core conference.
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