NEW LONDON, CT – Valerie Urban (Lancaster, PA.), a 2017 graduate of Connecticut College, has been nominated for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Award by the NESCAC.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating 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. The 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced on October 22 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Urban graduated summa cum laude from Connecticut college with a degree in biology. A swimmer, she was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District II At-Large First Team this spring. She was one of 14 Connecticut College seniors recognized as a Winthrop Scholar, the highest academic honor bestowed by the College. The Winthrop Scholar accolade is reserved for students who demonstrate exceptional scholarship and are the first members of their class selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. A three-time NESCAC All-Academic Team selection, Urban was awarded the 2016 Sibyl A. Hausman Prize for excellence in biology offered by the biology department as a junior. She earned Dean's High Honors recognition every semester and was a two-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American.
"Val has been the epitome of the student athlete from day one. It's incredibly exciting to see her be honored for her stellar performances in the pool and in the classroom," said 6-time NESCAC Coach of the Year Marc Benvenuti.
A co-captain for the Camels, Urban capped off her career by placing eighth in the 1650-yard freestyle to garner All-America accolades at the 2017 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. She also received honorable mention All-America plaudits with a 14th place showing in the 500-yard freestyle and as the anchor leg for the 800-yard freestyle relay team that finished 15th. As a result of her efforts, Urban helped Connecticut College post its best result at the NCAA Championships with a 10th-place showing. The team's finish also marked the third-best performance at an NCAA Championship for any Connecticut College athletic team. She also led the Camels to a program-best, third-place finish at the 2017 NESCAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. She played an integral role in the team's 15th-place finish at the 2016 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, earning All-America honors by swimming the anchor leg for the 800-yard freestyle team that finished eighth, while also adding two other honorable mention All-American swims in the 200-yard butterfly and the 1650-yard freestyle.
"Over my four years at Conn College, I was blessed with tremendously supportive coaches, teammates, advisors, and professors that pushed me to do my very best in the pool, the classroom, and the community," said Urban. "I will always cherish the lessons I learned and memories I made competing with such an empowering team of women in one of the most competitive Division III conferences in the nation."
Outside of the classroom and the pool, Urban has worked as a volunteer at the Backus Hospital and the Schreiber Pediatrics Summer Camp. She has been a member of the Pre-Health Club and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at Connecticut College. Additionally, she has spent time making blankets for Cure4Cam, a non-profit organization for children with cancer.
Along with Urban, Middlebury College's Maddie Pronovost will represent NESCAC as a nominee for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
(NESCAC's Lisa Champagne contributed to this report)