Lewicki in hunt for NCAA Woman of the Year honors

MOUNDSVILLE — It just keeps getting better and better for Kristin Lewicki.

The John Marshall High product authored a remarkable four-year hockey career at Adrian College in Michigan, capped by being named national player of the year this past season.

Her long list of honors took on even more luster last week. She has been nominated for the 2016-17 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

The award honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. Student-athletes are nominated only once in their career by their school.

“I am honored to be nominated for this prestigious award. As an athlete, I learned at a young age how to balance my studies with my athletic endeavors. This has instilled in me the concept of planning ahead an scheduling my activities to achieve my commitments in a timely fashion.

“I had to fill out an application for this award several months ago. I just found out a few days ago that I was selected,” she added. “I was speechless when I found out. It is one of the biggest awards that I have ever been nominated for. It is breathtaking. I am humbled for just being nominated for this great honor.”

Lewicki graduated this spring with a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice with a minor in business administration. She is a member of the criminal justice Alpha Phi.

Lewicki still harbors hopes for a pro career on the ice, eying a spot in the National Women’s Hockey League. She also has her post-playing days career in full focus.

“I want to work in federal government. I want to make an impact by showing that women can be as successful as men in this field,” she offered. “I plan to work my way up the ladder to protect our country.”

The soft-spoken star was a two-time All-American and is the sixth all-time leading scorer in NCAA D-III history. Lewicki scripted a sensational senior season with 32 goals and 34 assists in 31 games. Those numbers pushed her career totals to 179 points in 113 games — 90 goals and 89 assists.

The multi-talented forward also received the ultimate honor. She was named the U.S. College Hockey Division III Women’s Player of the Year for the 2016-17 season.

Her playing career may not be over, however. Things are in the works on a possible pro career with the National Women’s Hockey League. For right now, her summer job is with the Marshall County Courthouse.

“I am very proud to have coached and have Kristin as an alum. She is an outstanding person and special athlete. She always puts her team first and was the most humble player on the ice,” said Adrian College head coach Chad Davis. “She was also the most successful player in program history. She electrified the ice with her speed. The amazing thing about Kristin is her ability to perform in big moments and she always showed great poise. She is an athlete that has it all.”

In addition to her academic and athletic brilliance, Lewicki, despite small in stature, was huge into community service. She has championed such causes as domestic violence awareness, cancer research funding, the humane society while mentoring elementary school students.

The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics manages the nomination process and selections. Nominees are forwarded to the Woman of the Year selection committee. The panel determines the final nine finalists and subsequently votes from that nine to determine the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year.

Academic and athletic excellence both play into the judging process.

The nine finalists will be honored at a dinner in Indianapolis on Oct. 22. The winner will be announced at that time.

Lewicki looks back at her collegiate days with a great sense of pride, and rightly so. Her accomplishments are off the charts.

“It is something that I am very thankful for and very proud of coming from a small town in West Virginia. I never thought this would ever happen. I just wanted to play hockey,” Lewicki said. “I knew I was decent but wasn’t expecting to make an impact. The coaches began to lean on me so I knew I had to get better.

“I never thought I would be the face of the program. It’s been a long journey but also an incredible one,” she added. “It couldn’t have happened without my teammates, coaches and my family. I have so many memories that I will cherish the rest of my life. It has been incredible.”

BUBBA’S BITS

OUR THOUGHTS and prayers go out to the family of Larry Vucelich. The former star running back for St. John Central died this past weekend. He was 48. Vucelich was a three-year starter for Bob Eaton. He helped the Irish go 7-2-1 in 1984 and capture the OVAC 1A title while two years later his talents played a major part in the Green going 9-1, losing only to Linsly. His wife Michelle (Moran) was a Lady Irish hoop standout, helping carry SJC to the OVAC 1A crown in 1989.

THE OHIO Dominican University satellite football camp at the Dave Bruney Football Complex in Martins Ferry last week went off quite well. More than 50 local prep gridders went through a three-hour workout. At least three scholarship offers were extended that evening.

WIMBLDEON TENNIS action commenced Monday. My championship picks are Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber.

LINSLY SCHOOL hoop standout Dylan Harrison will continue his basketball and academic careers at Ohio Valley University.

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