Texas swimming & diving’s Anelise Diener and West Virginia rifle student-athlete Ginny Thrasher have been named two of the top 30 honorees for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female student-athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. Selected from a record 585 school nominees — a group that was then narrowed to 151 nominees by conference offices — the Top 30 honorees include 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions. The honorees competed in 13 sports — including, for the first time, equestrian and rifle — and studied a broad range of academic majors, including neuroscience, anthropology, economics, chemical engineering, political science and communication.
Diener is a five-time Big 12 Champion, three-time All-American and three-time NCAA Championships qualifier. In 2019 NCAA Championships, the San Antonio, Texas, native placed 19th in the prelims of the 100 freestyle and tied for 26th in the 50 freestyle prelims. She teamed with Claire Adams, Julie Cook and Grace Ariola to place fourth in the 400-freestyle relay at the NCAA Championship. Diener was part of two Big 12 freestyle titles, winning the 200- and 400- freestyle relays. Additionally, the senior finished third in the 100 free and fourth in the 50 free and 200 free. Those performances by Diener helped the Longhorns clinch their 17th Big 12 title. Additionally, Diener is three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree.
Thrasher garnered multiple accolades to cap her accomplished career at West Virginia. The senior was named the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Shooter of the Year and was voted as the GARC’s Outstanding Senior. She won conference titles in the air rifle and smallbore before finishing fifth in the smallbore at the 2019 NCAA Championships. Thrasher was a 12-time All-American for the Mountaineers and garnered All-Conference honors in each of her four seasons. She guided WVU to two NCAA National Championships in 2016 and 2017 and a pair of runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2019. She won the first gold medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, winning the women’s 10m air rifle. The Springfield, Virginia, native was named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. She earned multiple academic awards including the Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award, WVU Order of Augusta and the WVU Outstanding Senior Award.
In early October, the selection committee will announce the nine finalists, made up of three women from each NCAA division. From those finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year. The Top 30 will be celebrated and the Woman of the Year will be named Oct. 20 at a ceremony in Indianapolis.