Former Mary Washington women's lacrosse standout Kirsten Littlefield has been named as one of the Top 30 honorees for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, the Woman of the Year selection committee announced on Thursday.
Littlefield becomes the fifth CAC student-athlete to become a national finalist in the NCAA Woman of the Year balloting, and first since 2008. Previous CAC student-athletes to reach the national Top 30 honorees include Salisbury's Sue Ackermann (2008, lacrosse), Goucher's Stephanie LaGue (2005, swimming), Mary Washington's Melissa Block (2003, lacrosse), and Goucher's Michele Mohlman (1996, field hockey/basketball/lacrosse).
Selected from a record 581 school nominees — a group that was then narrowed to 154 nominees by conference offices — the Top 30 honorees include 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions. All have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. The honorees competed in 13 sports and studied a broad range of academic majors, including finance, biochemistry, microbiology, kinesiology, nursing and communication.
“These 30 women have demonstrated outstanding commitment to excelling in the classroom and in their sports while also serving their peers and communities,” said Sherika Montgomery, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee and associate commissioner for governance and compliance at The Summit League. “They represent the best and brightest of women competing in college and sports, and we’re thrilled to celebrate them and their achievements.”
The selection committee will announce the nine finalists, including three women from each NCAA division, in early October. From those finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year. The Top 30 will be celebrated and the Woman of the Year will be named Oct. 28 at a ceremony in Indianapolis.
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 last 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.