Distance Runner Nominated by NESCAC for Academic, Athletic, and Community Excellence
HADLEY, Mass. – Elise Tropiano (Plainview, N.Y.), a 2009 graduate of Amherst College and a former participant on the Jeffs’ cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams, has been nominated for the 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year Award by the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). She is the second individual from Amherst in the past three years to be nominated by the conference for Woman of the Year, after Shauneen Garrahan was nominated in 2007.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. The award has been given annually since 1991.
A three-sport athlete during all of her four years at Amherst, Tropiano served as the Jeffs’ cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field captain throughout her final season. The Amherst cross country team enjoyed unprecedented success over her tenure. The Jeffs won their first-ever league title during the 24th annual NESCAC Cross Country Championships in 2006 and also finished as the national runner-up. Tropiano’s squad followed the next fall with a second conference crown and captured the program’s first NCAA title. She wrapped up her cross country career in 2008 by winning the NESCAC Cross Country Championships and being named Most Outstanding Performer while also placing first at the NCAA New England Regional and finishing as the runner-up at the national championship. Along the way, Tropiano twice garnered All-NESCAC First Team honors and All-America recognition (2007, 2008).
As a member of the Jeffs’ track and field teams, Tropiano received All-America accolades seven times during her career, earning indoor 5,000-meter All-America honors three straight years from 2007 through 2009. After finishing seventh in her previous two indoor 5,000-meter attempts, Tropiano won her first individual national title this past season with a first place showing in the 5,000-meter (16:58.84) at the NCAA championships in March. Tropiano also was named All-NESCAC twice as she claimed conference recognition in 2007 with a second place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and again in 2008 by winning the 10,000-meter run. She was limited during the 2009 outdoor season due to injury. In addition to the honors and awards Tropiano has accumulated during her career, she also owns the New England regional championship record in the steeplechase with a time of 10:36.46 in 2008.
Tropiano’s academic achievements rival the athletic awards she collected during her time with the Jeffs. Graduating from Amherst in May with a degree in psychology, Tropiano completed her academic career with a 3.64 grade point average. A two-time member of the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team, Tropiano was selected as the 2008 Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year in February. She was also named to the NESCAC All-Academic Team on five separate occasions during her junior and senior years and was twice recognized as a CoSIDA District I Academic All-American, finding a spot on the Second Team in 2008 before moving up to the First Team in 2009. Amherst honored Tropiano with the Tom Gerety Fellowship for Action in 2007 and the Samuel Walley Brown Scholarship in 2008, given to the one student who most exemplifies leadership, scholarship, athleticism, and character.
An active member of the community, Tropiano dedicated a significant amount of time while at Amherst to helping others. Tropiano was heavily involved in the Pipeline Scholars Program from 2006 through 2009 as both a tutor and a program manager, as she collaborated with Amherst public schools to create a tutoring program in an effort to connect Amherst College students with underprivileged youth. She also helped recruit and train Amherst College students as tutors for the program. During the summer of 2008, Tropiano served as an assistant director for the Pipeline Scholars program, conducting the administrative details of a summer enrichment program for Amherst public schools while also supervising fellow college student interns and providing guidance in the use of pedagogical techniques. In addition to the many other activities she participated in, Tropiano was a Bonner Community Engagement Leader, helping to raise student awareness and engagement with events related to social justice, education, and human rights, and also served as a student manager in the Amherst College Wolff Fitness Center from 2005-07.
Tropiano was the unanimous choice by a committee of conference administrators to represent the NESCAC from a field of talented student-athletes nominated for the Woman of the Year Award. Other nominees included Isabel Alexander (Harvard, Mass.) of Bates, Kate Sheridan (Hingham, Mass.) of Colby, Amory Minot (Newton, Mass.) of Trinity, and Lisa Drennan (Ann Arbor, Mich.) of Wesleyan.
Like Tropiano, Alexander was a three-sport athlete in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field while at Bates. A team captain for the Bobcats from 2007 through 2009, Alexander holds nine program records in track and field (six indoor, three outdoor) and garnered All-NESCAC five times, as she won the 400-meter hurdles event at the NESCAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 2006, 2008, and 2009. The 2007-08 Bates Female Athlete of the Year has also claimed USTFCCCA All-American honors in the indoor distance medley relay (2007), the indoor 800-meter run (2008, 2009), and the outdoor 400-meter hurdles (2008, 2009). Majoring in psychology and Spanish, Alexander graduated from Bates this spring with a 3.78 grade point average after being recognized as both an USTFCCCA Academic All-American and a NESCAC All-Academic selection six times. She was also a 2008 CoSIDA District I Academic All-American and an inductee in the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society. Alexander’s work in the local community included volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, working in the Trinity Jubilee Center soup kitchen, and tutoring Somali immigrant children in the English language at an area middle school. She also was a member of the Bates Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), serving as co-chair from 2006-08, and helped to create and organize the Bates Field Day, an annual event where over 200 local youths come to campus for an afternoon to play games with student-athletes.
Sheridan was a four-year letter winner and a team captain during her senior season for the Colby women’s lacrosse team, leading the Mules to the program’s first conference championship in 2008 and a repeat crown in 2009. Sheridan racked up the conference honors over her tenure, earning NESCAC Player of the Year in each of the last two years, being unanimously chosen by the conference coaches in 2009 as the league’s top player. The 2006 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, Sheridan was selected All-NESCAC four times – three as a First Team member – and also came away with IWLCA All-America after each of her four seasons. Sheridan owns a multitude of single-season and career scoring records at Colby, as she collected 181 goals and 113 assists for 294 points over 72 games. She was the recipient of Colby’s Millett Award as the top female athlete in 2009. In the classroom, Sheridan posted a 3.32 grade point average with a degree from Colby in human development and was honored on the 2009 CoSIDA District I Academic All-America Third Team. Sheridan also volunteered in local schools during her spare time and helped run lacrosse clinics for high school students in Maine from 2006-07.
Minot was part of a Bantam rowing squad that reached the NCAA championship regatta during each of her four years and finished as the national runner-up in 2007 and again in 2008. Trinity’s varsity eight captured individual honors at the 2008 regatta, as Minot’s boat came away with a NCAA title with a first place showing. Minot and company earned the Head of the Charles collegiate eight championship in 2007, finished third at the Head of the Charles in 2008, and captured the 2008 J.P. Geffery’s Cup as the varsity eight champions at the Henley Regatta. A team captain for the Bantams during her senior season, Minot graduated from Trinity with a 3.64 grade point average and a degree in public policy and law. She twice earned NESCAC All-Academic honors and was a Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRAC) National Scholar-Athlete in 2008. Minot also received faculty honors at Trinity in each of her final four semesters. While at Trinity, Minot served as a campus tour guide and was a first year student mentor. She also was an editorial assistant for the tri-annual international publication Religion in the News. Minot’s article on religious intolerance and pressures in the military was published in the 2009 winter edition.
Drennan was selected as the NESCAC Player of the Year twice during her career (2006, 2008) and also earned All-Conference First Team honors from 2006-08. The Cardinals’ team captain for 2007 and 2008, Drennan led the conference in kills per set for the third year in a row this past fall, averaging 4.70 as she recorded 484 for the season. During her tenure with the Cardinals, Drennan amassed 1,865 kills to rank second all-time at Wesleyan and posted a career average of 4.92 kills per set. In addition to her prolific kill numbers, Drennan was also second among all players in 2008 in hitting percentage at .315 and contributed 2.56 digs per set for the Cardinals. She was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Second Team in 2008 while also receiving Wesleyan’s Suki Hoagland Award as the top contributor to women’s athletics during 2008-09. Majoring in psychology with a concentration in cognitive science, Drennan graduated from Wesleyan with a 3.78 grade point average and garnered CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America. She served as a lab assistant running a research project and participating in all aspects of research and experiments in Wesleyan’s Cognitive Developmental Psychology Lab, was a solicitor for the Red and Black Calling Society in support of the Wesleyan Annual Fund for Excellence, and a member of the Ebony Gospel Choir. Drennan also found time to take up other athletic offerings at Wesleyan, competing as a member of the ultimate frisbee and ping pong clubs.
The 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced on October 18 in Indianapolis, Ind. More information on the award and a list of previous winners can be found at www.ncaa.org.