NEWPORT NEWS, Va.— Two of the Atlantic 10 Conference’s most outstanding student-athletes, Juliana Libertin and Amalia Kobelja, finish their careers as the league’s nominees for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award.
The Atlantic 10 announced the selections of Libertin, a Dayton soccer player, and Kobelja, a Richmond swimmer Wednesday. The two were chosen by the A-10’s Council of Senior Woman Administrators from nine exceptional candidates. The NCAA accepts nominations from each conference across all three divisions. A league may nominate two candidates if one of the nominees is an international student or an ethnic minority.
“I congratulate both Juliana and Amalia. They are impressive young women and they represent the Atlantic 10 Conference in the highest way possible,” stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “Academically, athletically and personally, they have established themselves as leaders.”
Now in its 23rd year, the Woman of the Year award recognizes the athletic achievements of outstanding young women, as well as their academic prowess, community service and leadership. Considered one of the most prestigious NCAA awards, The NCAA established the Woman of the Year Award in 1991 to celebrate the achievements of women in intercollegiate athletics. In the past five years, 676 student-athletes were nominated by their conference or institution. In 2014 alone, 446 student-athletes were nominated by their institutions, including 205 from Division I, 75 from Division II and 166 Division III student-athletes.
To be nominated, these women must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport and must have completed eligibility in their primary sport. The top 10 honorees per division will be announced in August 2014 then the top three honorees per division will be announced in September 2014. The national winner will be announced at the Woman of the Year Awards Dinner in Indianapolis on October 19, 2014.
Libertin was also recently selected as one of 10 Atlantic 10 student-athletes to receive the league’s Postgraduate Scholarship. A leader and team captain for the Flyers, she was a three-time member of the NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region Team (2011, 2012, 2013). She led the Flyers to Atlantic 10 regular season crowns (2010 and 2013) and two A-10 Championship titles (2010 and 2011). She was named to the A-10 All-Championship Team in 2011 and 2013 and led Dayton to two NCAA appearances (2010 and 2011). An All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection three times (2011, 2012, 2013), Libertin was a Top 30 selection for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award, and was named Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year in 2013.
Libertin received numerous awards, both as a senior and throughout her career. This included Capital One Academic All-America honors as a junior and a spot on the Capital one Academic All-District Second Team. She received First Team recognition from the NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region as well as Second Team NSCAA Scholar All-American honors also. She was named the Dayton 2013 Presidential Scholar Athlete, the highest honor an athlete can earn from the University of Dayton. A tutor for Dayton’s Health and Sport Science department, she also was a student assistant and student associate/intern. She participated in Kicks for Kids, assisted in aquatic therapy for patients with multiple sclerosis and coached for TOPSoccer, an outreach program that teaches soccer to disabled children. Libertin was a volunteer coach for youth and church teams as well.
Kobelja, also a team captain, was a three-time Atlantic 10 Swimming & Diving Performer of the Year award winner (2012, 2013 and 2014), the first time an A-10 women’s swimmer won the league’s top swimming award three times. A Phi Beta Kappa Society member and a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Richmond, she helped Richmond to four consecutive Atlantic 10 Championships and won a total of 27 gold medals in those four championships. She won the 200 IM in each of her four years, including setting an A-10 Championship record as a junior. She also holds the top four times in A-10 Championship history in the 200 IM. Kobelja was a member of Richmond relay teams that won gold medals in the 200 IM, 200 Freestyle, 400 IM and 400 Freestyle each of her four years. As a freshman, she was a part of the 200 free (1:31.57), 400 free (3:21.10) and 200 medley relay squads that set A-10 Championship records en route to gold. Those performances, and her fourA-10 Rookie of the Week honors led to her selection as the 2011 A-10 Rookie of the Year. Kobelja also won gold in the 400 IM as a junior, setting a meet record in the process. She was named CSCAA Honorable Mention All-American in 2011 and 2013 and to the Atlantic 10 All-Academic team in 2012, 2013 and 2014. She was the 2012 Atlantic 10 Scholar Athlete of the Year award winner, the first recipient in UR history and the first A-10 swimmer to win the award.
She also received the 2014 Westhampton College Leslie Sessoms Booker Good Citizen Undergraduate Award, given annually to the senior who has typified loyal, enthusiastic, and unselfish service to the campus community. During her time at Richmond, she served as a Spanish translator at the YMCA, transferring flyers from Spanish to English. Koelja collaborated with guidance counselors at Richmond’s John Marshall High School for the Coaches in the Classroom program, providing resources for athletes to understand college academics and athletics. A volunteer at Metro Richmond Young Life, Kobelja prepared and taught Bible-based lessons for students and counseled local high school girls in individual and group settings. A 2012 Olympic Trials Qualifier, she earned A-10 Performer of the Week honors 13 times in her career.
2012-13 Woman of the Year Nominees