Lake Forest College's Kayla Griffith was announced on Thursday as one of 154 nominees chosen by conferences and a selection committee to be considered for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The NCAA 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. At 581, this year's pool of school honorees, which was announced last month, is the largest in the 28-year history of the award.
Conferences assessed their member school nominees and selected up to two league nominees. Because the Foresters' primary conference does not include her sport, Griffith was considered along with nominees from similar programs and those from independent institutions. She was one of four individuals to advance from that pool and will join the 150 conference winners as nominees in the next round of the selection process. The nominees represent college athletes from 18 different sports spanning all three NCAA divisions. Of those recognized, 58 competed in Division I, 34 in Division II and 62 in Division III. Griffith is one of just two hockey players to reach this stage and the only one from a Division III institution.
The Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will now choose the top 30 honorees - 10 from each division. 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.
The top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced at the annual award ceremony October 28 in Indianapolis.
Griffith is a three-time All-American defenseman and four-time All-Northern Collegiate Hockey Association selection. She graduated in May ranked fourth in program history with 55 career assists and tied-for-seventh with 83 points. The Foresters' 75 victories (against just 28 losses and seven ties) are the most of any four-year span in team history and she played in every contest during that time. Griffith was also a two-year captain and helped lead the squad to a 55-13-4 record in NCHA play, three NCHA Slaats Cup final appearances, and a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
In addition to her success on the ice, Griffith was also an excellent student. The biology major was a three-time NCHA All-Academic Team honoree and graduated magna cum laude with a 3.83 cumulative grade point average. She was on the Dean's list all four years and, as the owner of the highest GPA on her team, a member of the Forester Academic Team.
Griffith is the fifth Forester in the last six years to advance to this level of the NCAA Woman of the Year Program, joining Lake Forest's Midwest Conference Woman of the Year honorees Becky Shaak (2013), Becky Esrock (2014), Michelle Greeneway (2016), and Jenny McTague (2017).
To view the entire list of 154 nominees, click here.