Then there were 30

• St. C. graduate advances in NCAA?Women of the Year voting

Juliana Madzia, the St. Clairsville High School and University of Cincinnati graduate who achieved great success on the academic and athletic sides as a Red Devil and Bearcat, is one of 30 finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

”It’s such a surprise to have made it this far in the selection process, considering that I didn’t even start running for UC until my junior year,” Madzia said via text Thursday.

”It’s an enormous honor to have made it to the Top 30 and to be in the company of 29 incredible women who have spent their time in college being leaders and role models both in and out of athletics.”

Madzia is one of 10 Division I athletes to remain in the running for the honor, which will be presented October 22 in Indianapolis. The finalists also include 10 each from divisions II and III.

”The Top 30 honorees are remarkable representatives of the thousands of women competing in college sports each year,” Sarah Hebberd, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee said via a news release.

”They have seized every opportunity available to them on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community, and we are proud to recognize them for their outstanding achievements.”

All told, 543 women were nominated. From there, conferences trimmed the list to 145.

Later this month, the 10 in each division will be whittled to three — comprising the nine finalists.

Madzia is joined in the D1 field by Serena Barr, Liberty; Jennifer Carmichael, Oklahoma; Laura Rose Donegan, New Hampshire; Chardae Greenlee, Memphis (both American Athletic Conference nominees remain alive); Olivia Hompe, Princeton; Jessica January, DePaul; Christina Melian, Stony Brook; and Chantal Van Landeghem, Georgia.

”Juliana’s elite recognition as an NCAA Woman of the Year Top 30 (honoree) epitomizes our institution’s dramatic rise as a National leader in student-athlete performance in the classroom and field of competition,” University of Cincinnati Director of Athletics Mike Bohn said in a news release issued by the school. ”She is a dynamic competitor that inspires all Bearcats to seek the highest.”

Madzia, who recently began studies in the UC College of Medicine’s Medical Science Training Program, was selected for a 2017 C Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence, the highest honor on campus given to a graduating seniors that exemplify scholarship, leadership, character, service and the ideals of the school. She was the first female student-athlete in school history to receive the award.

In addition to her many other honors, Madzia was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.

Madzia, a CoSIDA first-team academic all-American, recognized her teachers at St. Clairsville and UC who, she said, laid the foundation for her success.

”This shows that you don’t have to go to school at the largest or most prestigious schools in order to do big things,” she said.

”I’ve always had supportive teachers, coaches, and mentors throughout my education who helped me to find what I was passionate about. That kind of unwavering support both in high school and college was a huge part of what gave me the courage to pursue those passions, even if they went against the grain of what is expected of a student or an athlete.”

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