St. Mary's Women's Tennis Standout Named NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee

Melissa Barall '18 - 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee
Melissa Barall '18 - 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee

For Immediate Release · By Nairem Moran · nmoran@smcm.edu

Indianapolis, Ind. – St. Mary's College of Maryland graduate Melissa Barall '18 (Columbia, Md./Wilde Lake) is the College's nominee for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Barall exhibited the four pillars of the Woman of the Year award – academics, athletics, service, and leadership – during her four years as a Seahawk.

The NCAA Woman of the Year award, established in 1991, honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.

The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.

Barall is one of 581 female student-athletes – the most ever in the 28-year history of the program – to be selected as a nominee for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year award. The nominees competed in 20 different women's sports across all three NCAA divisions, including 251 from Division I, 131 from Division II and 199 from Division III.

"I would like to thank the athletics department for my nomination for NCAA Woman of the Year. It is an honor to be nominated for this great award that recognizes the service and involvement of athletes alongside their athletic and academic careers," expressed Barall.

Fellow Capital Athletic Conference student-athletes LeAnne Collins (softball) of Salisbury University, Makenzie Fancher (basketball) of Christopher Newport University, Kirsten Littlefield (lacrosse) of the University of Mary Washington, and Kayla Truesdal (indoor/outdoor track & field) of Frostburg State University also joined Barall as NCAA Woman of the Year nominees. 

A two-year team captain, Barall was a straight A student during her academic career and graduated on May 12 as the co-valedictorian after finishing with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average as a triple major in economics, political science, and public policy studies. As if three majors weren't enough, she also minored in mathematics.

She made the Dean's List every semester, which awards those students who earn a minimum semester grade-point average of 3.50 or better on all courses attempted with at least 12 credit hours taken for a letter grade. Barall was named a St. Mary's Scholar for 2016, 2017, and 2018; an honor bestowed upon those who have earned at least 32 credit-hours and whose cumulative GPA is 3.50 or better. 

Barall was also a member of four national honor societies – Chi Alpha Sigma, the national collegiate student-athlete honor society for juniors and seniors; Omicron Delta Kappa, the national honor society for student leadership; Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society; and Omicron Delta Epsilon, the national honor society for economics.

She served as the Vice President for Outreach on this year's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Executive Board as well as the president of the St. Mary's Votes Club during election season. In addition, she was the treasurer and vice president of the Economics Club.

Barall was a four-time member of the CAC All-Academic Team and will be a three-time ITA Division III Scholar-Athlete. She earned the Louise Victoria Lusby Award for high academic achievement in economics at the 2018 Awards Convocation.

On the court, Barall finished with a program second-best .712 (47-19) career win percentage as well as ranking third all-time with 47 career singles wins. She owns the program's best single-season win percentage at .850 after going 17-3 as a first-year in 2015. In doubles action, Barall ranks fifth all-time with 33 doubles victories.

She was selected as the 2015 CAC Rookie of the Year and notched second team All-CAC honors twice (2015 and 2018). Barall finished her sophomore year ranked 24th in the Atlantic South region by the ITA.

Conferences now will select up to two nominees each from the pool of school nominees. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will 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 the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year from those nine. The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced at the annual award ceremony Oct. 28 in Indianapolis. 

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