Van Valey, Liedes Nominated For NCAA Woman Of The Year
Northwest Nazarene's Taylor Van Valey (left) and Saint Martin's Jennider Liedes are among 141 conference nominees for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Northwest Nazarene's Taylor Van Valey (left) and Saint Martin's Jennider Liedes are among 141 conference nominees for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. – Saint Martin’s University women’s golfer Jennifer Liedes and Northwest Nazarene University volleyball/track and field performer Taylor Van Valey are the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s nominees for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

The two were among four GNAC nominees and a record 515 overall nominees for the 26th annual award, which recognizes graduating female college athletes from all three NCAA divisions. Nominees must have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their college careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

Liedes, from Olympia, Wash., was named the GNAC Women’s Golf Co-Player of the Year for the second consecutive season after she finished second in the conference with a stroke average of 76.5 per 18 holes. Liedes finished in the top-10 in five of her 10 events last season, which included victories at the Western Washington Invitational and the Dennis Rose Invitational. Liedes tied for first after the two rounds of April’s GNAC Championships in Coeur d’Alene, falling in a one-hole playoff to Simon Fraser’s Michelle Waters.

A three-time First Team All-GNAC selection, Liedes was selected as an individual to compete at the NCAA Division II Women’s Super Region 4 Tournament in May, finishing her collegiate career with 33rd place finish. A two-time GNAC Women’s Golf All-Academic Team selection, Liedes also volunteered to teach golf at the Lacey Boys & Girls Club and also volunteered her time for a junior golf clinic at the Olympia Country & Golf Club.

Van Valey was a standout for the Crusaders in both volleyball and track and field and was among 40 multi-sport student-athletes among the conference nominees. The native of Brush Prairie, Wash., started 19 of 28 volleyball matches as a right-side hitter, averaging 2.07 kills and 0.97 blocks per set with a .214 hitting percentage. As one of NNU’s top throwers, Van Valey finished fourth at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships in the shot put and fifth in the weight throw. Her season-best mark of 53 feet, 7.5 inches in the weight throw is No. 9 on the GNAC all-time list.

During the outdoor season, Van Valey qualified for GNAC Championships in both the shot put and the hammer and placed eighth in the hammer with a lifetime best of 148 feet, 8 inches. A four-time GNAC All-Academic selection (twice in both volleyball and track and field), Van Valey was an active member of NNU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Social Work Club and volunteered with Lilypad, a program that provides community therapy for children ages 3 to 18.

Other nominees from GNAC schools for the NCAA Woman of the Year awarded included volleyball player Sam Harthun from Alaska and basketball player Jessica Madison from Alaska Anchorage.

The NCAA encourages member schools to honor its top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year Award, with conferences selecting two nominees for the honor. All conference nominees are forwarded to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top-30 honorees, 10 from each division. From the top-30, the selection committee determines the top-three nominees from each division and announces the top-nine finalists in September.

This year’s nomination list includes 141 conference honorees, 36 of which come from NCAA Division II member schools.