INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Senior Allie Eason was one of 517 student-athletes from all three divisions of the NCAA to be nominated for the 2016 Woman of the Year award, which honors a graduating female collegiate athlete who has concluded her eligibility and distinguished herself throughout her career in the areas of athletics, academics, service and leadership.
The 2016 nominees represent the largest class in the 26-year history of the award. From that total, 169 were Division III student-athletes while 117 came out of Division II and 231 played at the Division I level. The nomination class represents 21 different sports and 127 people played more than one sport at her respective institution.
All schools across the Nation were encouraged to honor their top graduating female student-athlete with consideration for the award. Conference offices then narrow the selection down to two names that are submitted to the NCAA Woman of the Year committee. That group, which consists of representatives from the NCAA membership, will select the Top-30 honorees with 10 from each division. The field is again cut to nine worthy nominees, three from each division, in September and the winner will be announced in Indianapolis on October 16.
Eason, a four-year letter-winner and three-year captain for the Cal Lutheran women's volleyball program has a laundry list of accomplishments on and off the court.
The outside hitter went out on top as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2015 NCAA Division III National Championships as she guided the Regals to the first ever NCAA team title in Cal Lutheran history. She graduated second for career kills (1.302) and digs (1,334) and fourth in career aces (154). Eason also appears on the Top-10 single-season lists a trio of times for kills with 377 (2013), digs with 418 (2013) and aces with 52 (2014).
Her accomplishments were recognized with two American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America selections, three AVCA All-West Region honors, four All-SCIAC nods (two First Team, two Second Team) and SCIAC Newcomer of the Year in 2012. She has been featured as the Ventura County Star's Female Athlete of the Fall twice and has numerous All-Tournament Team honors to her name as well.
Outside the gym, Eason amassed a 3.44 cumulative grade point average as a psychology major and will continue her education at Cal Lutheran as a graduate assistant for the volleyball program this fall. She was a three-time Dean's List selection and a two-time SCIAC All-Academic honoree. In 2015 she was inducted into Psi Chi and she is also a two-time CLU Scholar Athlete Society inductee with a nod as the CLU Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2016, representing Cal Lutheran at the conference level.
Beyond the classroom and court, Eason was involved with numerous volunteer organizations throughout her four-years in Thousand Oaks. She has not only spent countless hours coaching the game she loves, but she spent time with Special Olympians during the NCAA Championship week, served as the coordinator for Breast Cancer Awareness Nights all four years of her stay at CLU, put together a team for Relay for Life in 2012 and served as a liaison between Team Impact and an adopted childhood cancer survivor in 2013. Her efforts have raised thousands of dollars for a pair of very well-known organizations.
Eason reflected on her career and all the doors that have opener for her through being a student-athlete.
"Having the opportunity to be a leader in my community has motivated me to become my best self," she went on, "As a representative for an athletic program that is prominent in my community, I have been given the opportunity to make a genuine difference in the lives of the athletes I come in contact with through coaching volleyball."
All the lessons she has learned as a volleyball player are now being passed down by the Oxnard, Calif. native who plans to continue her coaching career while obtaining an MBA at Cal Lutheran.
"I value the position I am in as a role model for the youth in my community because I know how much the game can impact a person and how much it can change her life. There is nothing more I have grown to value than a young girl telling me that she wants to be the kind of player that I am one day, or a parent thanking me for playing a powerful role in their child's life." Eason added, "These experiences are probably the most impactful ones I've had as a student-athlete," and finished by saying, "Modeling hard work, integrity, and passion is something I have grown to love, and something I think is invaluable for young athletes and their development into exceptional individuals."
The final honor, an NCAA Woman of the Year nomination, for a successful and exceptional individual herself is a special one.
Nominees: 2016 WOTY Nominees
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