Annika Halverson, Whitney Lloyd among Top 30 honorees for 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year

Halverson (left) and Lloyd were selected as the MIAC's nominees for 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year.
Halverson (left) and Lloyd were selected as the MIAC's nominees for 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Woman of the Year selection committee has announced the Top 30 honorees for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year Award and both nominees from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) have made the cut.

Bethel's Annika Halverson and St. Thomas' Whitney Lloyd were selected from a record 581 school nominees and are now two of just 10 honorees from Division III to be among the Top 30 NCAA Woman of the Year candidates. This is the second time that two nominees from the MIAC have advanced to the round of 30. Gustavus' Melissa Mackley and St. Thomas' Alison Wright were honored among the Top 30 in 2010. The MIAC is one of only three conferences nationwide with two honorees in the Top 30 and the only Division III conference to have achieved the feat this year.

Halverson (Wayzata, Minn.) ended her tenure as a Bethel student-athlete with a pair of All-America honors to go along with five combined trips to the NCAA Championships as a multisport athlete in cross country and track and field. The senior runner was also a nine-time All-Conference honoree and earned All-Region accolades four times in her career. Halverson got the job done in the classroom as well, punctuating her time at Bethel by receiving the 2017 MIAC Cross Country Elite 22 Award and garnering 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America honors after amassing a 3.95 grade-point average as a Sociocultural Studies and Reconciliation Studies double-major. She earned six Academic All-MIAC selections and was named All-Academic by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) five times.

In addition to her sport-related achievements, Halverson has also been recognized for excellence well beyond the typical scope of a student-athlete. A Dean's List honoree from 2014-18, Halverson was a recipient of Bethel's Servant Leadership Award as a senior, an honor bestowed annually to five undergraduate students who demonstrate exemplary servant leadership qualities. The Wayzata, Minn. native also received Bethel's Reconciliation Award this past year, which recognizes one undergraduate student who lives out the key principles of reconciliation in his or her daily life. In the community, Halverson has volunteered her time at Reading Partners, serving as a tutor for elementary-aged children in underfunded public schools to help develop their literacy skills, as well as at God's Closet, a free store for the homeless, recent immigrants and lower income families.

"Participating in collegiate athletics has empowered me to cultivate an unshakeable inner confidence," Halverson said. "I plan to go forth boldly into the world, bringing hope and compassion to all people I encounter."

Lloyd (Stewartville, Minn.) finished her outstanding volleyball career at St. Thomas last fall as a two-time All-MIAC selection and 2017 member of the American Volleyball Coaches' Association (AVCA) Division III All-America Team. She played in 113 career matches over her four-year career, compiling 905 kills, a .288 attack percentage, 250 digs and 307 blocks while helping the Tommies to an 80-40 record during her time as a student-athlete. A standout on the court and in the classroom, Lloyd was a Fall 2017 recipient of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship after building a 3.86 grade-point average as a Biochemistry major at St. Thomas. The three-time Academic All-Conference honoree and 2014 MIAC Volleyball Elite 22 Award winner is set to continue her education in medical school at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Lloyd's passion for healthcare has led her to volunteer at both St. Paul Children's Hospital and Mayo Clinic in Rochester where she has assisted in the emergency, pediatric and perianesthesia departments. In addition to her work locally, Lloyd has also served globally, twice traveling to Nicaragua, where she volunteered at free clinics in rural villages to support medical staffs in providing medical and dental care to 200 residents.

"The experiences and lessons learned from my college career have become applicable to my life's objective to help people achieve good health and improve quality of life through medicine," Lloyd said.

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.

| NCAA Release |