INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Mount Holyoke College graduate Kaitlin Braz has been named one of a record 581 institutional nominees for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The conference nominees will be announced next month with those honorees moving forward in the selection process.
Established in 1991 and now in its 28th year, the NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves via the four pillars of the award throughout their collegiate careers: academics, athletics, service and leadership.
The school nominees represent all three NCAA divisions, with 251 from Division I, 131 from Division II and 199 from Division III. The nominees competed in 20 different women's sports, and 170 were multisport athletes during their time in college.
A senior midfielder on both the field hockey and lacrosse teams, Braz played in every game of her career for both squads. The Tolland, Conn., native helped the Lyons field hockey team to outstanding success over the past four years. During her career, the Lyons won the program's third NEWMAC Championship title and played in the NCAA Tournament three straight years. The team also played in the NEWMAC Tournament every season, including three straight Semifinal appearances and three consecutive championship games.
A psychology and education major with a 3.91 cumulative grade point average, Braz excelled both on and off the field during her career. Below are her significant academic contributions to date.
● Graduated Magna Cum Laude
● 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-District At-Large First Team honoree
● Psychology Department Award for Academic Excellence in 2017, Mount Holyoke College
● Sarah Williston Scholar (top 15 percent of my class sophomore year), Mount Holyoke College
● 3x recipient The Sandra Klamkin Schocket 1958 Scholarship, Mount Holyoke College
● 2x recipient Judy Friedman Scholarship, Mount Holyoke College
● 3x Scholar Athlete of Distinction, National Field Hockey Coaches Association
● 4x NFHCA National Academic Squad
● 3x NEWMAC Academic All-Conference in both field hockey and lacrosse
● IWLCA Zag Sports Division III Academic Honor Roll (only for juniors and seniors) 2017
● Nominated for an award at the Mount Holyoke College Celebration of Excellence: Leadership and Service Awards (April 18th, 2018)
● Research Assistant and Lab Manager for Professor John Tawa in the Behavioral Ethnic and Racial Studies Lab, applying to present at the Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation in May 2018.
● Presented at LEAP Symposium on internship experience as a co-director of the Kids Cooperate program at Holiday Hill Summer Day Camp for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Braz was a consistent force throughout her playing career on both varsity teams. With field hockey, she recorded 10 career goals and 13 assists for 33 points. She played in all 76 games of her career, including 42 starts, adding two game-winning goals with 113 shots.
During the 2017 campaign, she had a breakout year, notching six goals and eight assists for 20 points as a starter in all 18 contest. At season's end, Braz was named to the NEWMAC All-Conference Second Team and the NFHCA All-Region Second Team.
In lacrosse, Braz was as equally fantastic, starting all 62 games of her career. She recorded 58 goals and 20 assists for 78 points, going 11-43 from free position. Braz notched 203 ground balls, becoming just the third player in program history to reach the 200 mark and the first since the NCAA moved to stricter guidelines for the statistic. She now ranks second in program history.
Additionally, Braz recorded 99 caused turnovers, which ranks second all-time and had 66 draw controls. The 2018 season saw her post 19 goals and seven assists for 26 points. Her 67 ground balls not only led the team, but also the NEWMAC, while her 40 caused turnovers was third among the conference's best.
Braz was also the 2018 Laurie Priest Alumnae Association Scholar Athlete winner, given to an exceptional athlete who displays great character and leadership, exemplary scholarship and is an outstanding representative of the school and athletic program.