Audrey Miller (’20), a recent graduate and former elite member of the Loras College women’s cross country and track and field teams, has been selected as one of 63 Division III conference representatives for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Miller is the American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) nominee and is now vying for her spot among the top-10 Division III selections for the NCAA’s pinnacle achievement award.
From a program-record pool of 605 school nominees, 161 college athletes have been named conference-level nominees for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
“The nomination is a huge honor and I am as excited about it as anyone in my position could be,” said Miller. “I would be remiss, however, to overlook everything that happens behind the scenes to make this possible. If not for head coach Bob Schultz, I would not have been a student-athlete in college. But there is a lesson in there: take every opportunity and run with it–no pun intended! Go for it and see where you end up. I am honored to be representing Loras and the conference for this award.”
Miller, a native of Appleton, Wis., becomes the first NCAA Woman of the Year nominee for the Duhawks in program history and does so with an impressive resume. She was the 2016 runner-up at the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championship as a sophomore and placed 25th as a fifth-year senior in 2019, making her a two-time NCAA Division III All-American and USTFCCCA Scholar All-American. She holds the program record in 6,000-meter races, stands as the highest finisher in program history and has earned four Academic All-Conference honors over the course of her cross country career. In track and field, she is a four-time All-American and holds the 3,000 and 5,000-meter records indoors as well as the 5,000 and 10,000-meter records outdoors.
Her achievements continued beyond the cross country season as she most recently received Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-American honors for the second time in her career after graduating with a degree in chemistry this spring.
“Audrey was the most positive athlete I have ever coached,” said cross country head coach Bob Schultz. “She lived in the moment better than anyone and sincerely enjoyed her success, yet was always humble in victory. In addition to all of that, she was a tremendous role model to her teammates–loving and caring for each one like no one I have met before or since.”
Outside of athletics, Miller was a student astronomy presenter, a part of the Athletic Directors Council and has presented her research at multiple national conferences. She was the Freshman and Senior Chemistry Award winner and McElroy Graduate Fellowship recipient. She will attend the University of California-Davis for her Ph. D in Geochemistry/Planetary Sciences.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program is rooted in Title IX and has recognized graduating female college athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership since its inception in 1991. This year’s nominees represent student-athletes from 21 different sports spanning all three NCAA divisions. Of those nominated, 59 nominees competed in Division I, 39 in Division II and 63 in Division III.
The Woman of the Year Selection Committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will now choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division — from the conference-level nominees. The Top 30 honorees will be announced in September. From there, the selection committee will narrow the pool to three finalists from each division. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2020 Woman of the Year from the nine finalists.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named this fall.