FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – Frostburg State senior track & field sprinter Kayla Truesdel and Mary Washington senior women's lacrosse defender Kirsten Littlefield were selected by the Capital Athletic Conference Athletic Council as the CAC candidates for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year.
Now in its 28th year, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service, and leadership. Every year, the NCAA encourages each member college and university to honor its top one or two graduating female student-athletes by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.
To be eligible for the award, a female student-athlete must have completed intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2018 spring season, graduated no later than the end of the 2018 summer term and achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50.
Littlefield is the fourth Mary Washington student-athlete and second UMW women's lacrosse player to be chosen as a CAC nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.
A biology major with a minor in chemistry, Littlefield graduated with a 3.91 grade point average this past spring. Twice named UMW's Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, she compiled a lengthy list of academic accolades throughout her time in Fredericksburg. Littlefield became the sole student honors researcher in the biology department, working with a team of three professors to study a treatment for virally induced breast cancer. She presented research at several seminars, including the American Society for Microbiology, the Virginia Academy of Science, UMW Research and Creativity Day, and judged research at the 70th annual National Chi Beta Phi Conference. Littlefield was a four-year member of the CAC All-Academic Team & UMW's Dean's List, and a three-time President's List recipient.
The 2017-18 CAC Female Athlete of the Year, Littlefield put together one of the finest women's lacrosse careers in conference history. A three-time Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-American and the 2018 CAC Player of the Year, Littlefield led the Eagles to a 57-24 record (.703) and three-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament throughout her time in Fredericksburg, including a 17-5 mark in 2018. She played a pivotal role in UMW's defense that allowed just 8.67 goals per game and ranked at or near the top of the CAC in several defensive categories in 2018. She led the CAC in caused turnovers (31), ranked second in ground balls (47) and fifth in draw controls (83). Ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation, the Eagles made an appearance in the CAC Championship game for the first time since 2011 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 this spring.
Littlefield concluded her career as a three-time first-team Intercollegiate All-Chesapeake Region selection and a three-time first-team All-CAC honoree. She was also named the 2018 UMW Female Athlete of the Year and the UMW Co-Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.
Away from the field, Littlefield was also heavily involved in the community. She served as a Senior Volunteer in the Mary Washington Hospital College Student Volunteer Program. She trained five groups of Junior Volunteers, acted as Lead Volunteer of the Medical Care Center spanning four wings of the hospital, and earned an award for over 100 hours of volunteer service. She served as secretary of Where is the Line?, a club dedicated to sexual assault awareness and prevention. She participated in the Eagles Helping Eagles program on campus, tutoring fellow student-athletes in all fields of biology, and also worked as a peer tutor in the UMW Writing Center. Littlefield was also a member of the national honor societies of Chi Beta Phi, Chi Alpha Sigma and the National Society for Collegiate Scholars.
Truesdel is the second Frostburg State student-athlete to be selected as a CAC nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.
Truesdel graduated summa cum laude this past May from FSU with a bachelor's degree in exercise & sport science. An Upper Marlboro, Md. native, Truesdel earned a spot on the Dean's List all seven eligible semesters, finished with a perfect 4.0 GPA and was a four-time CAC All-Academic selection. In mid-June, Truesdel became Frostburg State's first-ever track & field Academic All-American.
On the track, Truesdel secured the CAC's Track Athlete of the Year award during both the indoor and outdoor seasons for the second-straight year in '17-18. She competed at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor National Championships and she garnered a total of six All-Mideast Region medals spanning both seasons.
At the NCAA Championships, Truesdel finished 11th overall in the 200-meter dash (25.25) during the indoor season. She capped her career by taking 11th in the 100-meter dash at the outdoor championships in 12.57. This past year, Truesdel won three CAC titles during the indoor season and added three more during the outdoor campaign. She also added a runner-up showing in the 4x400-meter relay during the spring championships for a total of seven All-CAC awards.
In total, Truesdel was a five-time NCAA Championship participant and was named the CAC's Female Track Athlete of the Year four-consecutive times. Truesdel was voted by the Frostburg athletic department staff as FSU's Female Athlete of the Year in each of her final two years. Spanning her four years, Truesdel was an 11-time CAC champion, captured 18 All-CAC medals and was placed on the USTFCCCA All-Mideast Region team 14 times.
Truesdel was also involved in numerous community initiatives throughout her time in Frostburg. She volunteered with an annual Girls on the Run 5K event, helping facilitate healthy habits and choices among young people. She was involved with the Allegany County (Western Maryland) Special Olympics, helping raise funds for the organization through the Vera Bradley Bingo/Silent Auction event. Truesdel was also a member of Beautify the Burg, cleaning up trash in the town of Frostburg along with painting buildings, light posts, and other clean-up activites. Additionally, she assisted with Relay for Life, Diabetes Walks, and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure/Breast Cancer Walk in Cumberland, Md.
The top 30 honorees for NCAA Woman of the Year, 10 from each NCAA division, will be announced in early September. From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three honorees from each division and announces the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year.
All 30 Woman of the Year honorees will be recognized, and the 2018 Woman of the Year announced, at an awards dinner at the Westin Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.
Four national finalists have represented the CAC in the NCAA Woman of the Year competition since 1996, including Goucher’s Michele Mohlman (1996), Mary Washington’s Melissa Block (2003), Goucher’s Stephanie LaGue (2005) and Salisbury’s Sue Ackermann (2008).
CAC NCAA Woman of the Year Candidates
|1996||Michele Mohlman||Goucher||Field hockey/Basketball/Lacrosse||Md. state winner & national finalist|
|2003||Melissa Block||Mary Washington||Lacrosse||Va. state winner & national finalist|
|2005||Stephanie LaGue||Goucher||Swimming||Md. state winner & national finalist|
|2008||Sue Ackermann||Salisbury||Lacrosse||CAC nominee & national finalist|
|2009||Brie McDowell||St. Mary's||Swimming||CAC nominee|
|2010||Nina Michelle Sawyer||Mary Washington||Swimming||CAC nominee|
|2011||Sarah Stephens||Frostburg State||Volleyball/Tennis||CAC nominee|
|2012||Anna Macedonia||Marymount||Swimming||CAC nominee|
|2013||Tristin Burris||Wesley||FH, XC, T&F, Soft, Lax||CAC nominee|
|2014||Katelyn Fischer||Marymount||Basketball||CAC nominee|
|2015||Christy Bishop||St. Mary's||Field Hockey/Lacrosse||CAC nominee|
|2016||Breck Sullivan||Salisbury||Field Hockey||CAC nominee|
|2017||Anna Corley||Mary Washington||Swimming||CAC nominee|
|2018||Kayla Truesdel||Frostburg State||Track & Field||CAC nominee|
|2018||Kirsten Littlefield||Mary Washington||Lacrosse||CAC nominee|