Pitch Perfect: Chilczuk Is Female Scholar-Athlete Of The Year
Sophia Chilczuk's career includes four All-GNAC selections, All-American honors in 2021 and three CoSIDA Academic All-American awards. Photo by Christian Serwold.
Sophia Chilczuk's career includes four All-GNAC selections, All-American honors in 2021 and three CoSIDA Academic All-American awards. Photo by Christian Serwold.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – By the end of her Seattle Pacific career, Sophia Chilczuk established herself as one of the most decorated women’s soccer players in the Falcons’ storied history.

A four-time All-GNAC selection and a three-time first-team selection. The 2017 GNAC Freshman of the Year. A three-time All-West Region selection, including first-team honors in 2021. An All-American in 2021 and a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, including first-team selections in 2020 and 2021.

The five-year standout can now add one of the conference’s major awards to her resume as she has been selected by athletic directors as the 2022 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

“It is an honor to receive the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award,” Chilczuk said. “I am extremely grateful for those who nominated me and voted for me. It means a great deal to me to be recognized for all of the hard work I have put into athletics and academics over the last five years.”

The Scholar-Athlete of the Year award recognizes a student-athlete who has achieved a high level of success both on the field and in the classroom. The award is nominated by and voted upon by the GNAC’s athletic directors.

On the field, Chilczuk was one of the leaders for a Seattle Pacific women’s soccer team that advanced to the Division II national quarterfinals for the third time in program history. A starter in all but one of the Falcons’ matches this season, Chilczuk finished as the Division II leader with 17 assists, setting SPU and GNAC single-season records in the process.

Chilczuk’s 29 points (six goals, 17 assists) was second in the conference and was among the top 40 totals among Division II players for a Falcons squad that won the GNAC championship and regular-season title, the Division II West Region championship and a 19-2-1 record. She was named First Team All-GNAC, was a consensus First Team All-West Region selection, was named a First Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches and was named a Third Team All-American by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association.

On campus, Chilczuk was honored with the Ron Grady Athlete of the Year Award, honoring the top student-athlete in the department this season.

To top it off, Chilczuk was a nominee for the 2022 Seattle Women’s Sports Star of the Year award. Won by Washington softball standout Gabbie Plain, other nominees for the honor included Jess Fishlock of OL Reign, Olympic paddleboarder Nevin Harrison, Paraolympic volleyball player Katie Holloway, Seattle Storm standout Jewell Loyd and Huskies’ volleyball player Ella May Powell.

“Sophia has had a great career here and certainly last fall, both on and off the field, was remarkable,” said Seattle Pacific head women’s soccer coach Arby Busey. “I don’t know that there is anything more that we can ask from a student-athlete or any more that a student-athlete can deliver than what Sophia has provided to us over the last five years.”

While Chilczuk was performing at a high level on the pitch, she was also performing at a high level in the classroom with a 3.92 GPA as a physiology major. Her academic accolades include being named a CoSIDA First Team All-American for the second time in 2021 after earning third-team honors in 2018. She is the first three-time Academic All-American in SPU women’s soccer history and in GNAC women’s soccer history.

A four-time Academic All-GNAC selection, Chilczuk was among six SPU seniors to receive the Falcon Award for Excellence. The highest honor an SPU student-athlete can receive, the award takes athletics, academics, leadership and impact on teammates, coaches, students and others into consideration.

Chilczuk credits her parents for teaching her the skills that have made such a high level of academic and athletic success possible.

“My father stressed the power of perseverance. The idea to achieve success through challenges is one of the major factors that has sustained my athletic and academic achievements and will continue to support my accomplishments through life,” Chilczuk said. “Consistency is another important feature of success. It helped me to develop a sense of accountability and self-discipline that fed my personal growth in soccer and school. Consistency also helped me create positive habits that allowed me to reach my goals.”

Chilczuk is the fifth Seattle Pacific female athlete to be named GNAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the first since soccer player Shayla Page in 2016.

Other nominees for the GNAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year award included Alaska volleyball senior Cate Whiting, Alaska Anchorage volleyball junior Eve Stephens, Cal Poly Humboldt sophomore rower Kealey Scott, Central Washington basketball senior Kassidy Malcolm, Montana State Billings basketball senior Taryn Shelley, Northwest Nazarene softball senior Ivy Hommel, Simon Fraser cross country/track and field senior Alison Andrews-Paul, Western Oregon track and field junior Jenelle Hurley and Western Washington junior rower Clarice Ruhlin-Hicks.