NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Chatilla van Grinsven and Gabrielle Pakhtigian will both close out outstanding collegiate careers by representing the Atlantic 10 as the league’s two nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.
The A-10 announced the nominations for the prestigious NCAA award Wednesday for Pakhtigian, a La Salle women’s soccer player, and van Grinsven, a Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball student-athlete.
The A-10’s Council of Senior Woman Administrators chose the two representatives from a pool of eight candidates to represent the Atlantic 10 as the league’s Woman of the Year nominees. The Conference was permitted to choose two candidates if one of the nominees is an international student or a minority.
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. Now in its 22nd year, the award is unique because it recognizes not only the athletics achievements of outstanding young women, but also their academic achievements, community service and leadership.
NCAA member institutions from all three divisions nominated their own woman of the year. To be eligible, 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 2013, then the top three honorees per division will be announced in September 2013. The national winner, the 2013 Woman of the Year, will be announced at Woman of the Year Awards Dinner in Indianapolis on October 20, 2013.
A forward on the 2012-13 Atlantic 10 Champion Hawks’ women’s basketball team, van Grinsven earned First Team All-Conference honors after transferring from Colorado State. She led the Hawks to the NCAA Tournament, earning A-10 All-Championship honors. She was also the Philadelphia Big 5’s Player of the Year and a First Team All-Big 5 selection. A member of the Netherlands Olympic Under 20 National Team, she competed at the U-20 FIBA European Championships. She founded the Children’s Hope United program, designed to give hope and support to poverty-stricken children in Morocco. She also has volunteered at Children’s Hospital, a Philadelphia Soup Kitchen and the Girls’ Got Game organization.
The La Salle Female Scholar Athlete of the Year, Pakhtigian was a defensive stalwart for La Salle as its starting goalkeeper. She earned First Team All-Conference honors in leading the Explorers to their first-ever A-10 title and second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Her volunteer experience encompasses weekly youth soccer sessions through BuxMont Torch FC, assisting in the St. Francis Inn Soup Kitchen, and working to provide education to special needs persons. She served as a summer work camp team leader, organizing projects and Bible studies with teenagers. She sponsored an Armenian girl with World Vision. Pakhtigian also served as La Salle Women’s soccer’s SAAC representative, she served on the Student Affairs Committee and was a member of her church’s Staff Parrish Relations Committee. Academically, was selected as the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-American, and twice earning a spot on the A-10 All-Academic Team. She was also a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society and a four-year member of the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
The pair will join nominees from member institutions from all three NCAA divisions. 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.