GNAC Announces NCAA Woman of the Year Institutional Nominees


JWU’s Thompson, Lasell’s
Kingman up for prestigious honor

WINTHROP, Mass. – The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is pleased to announce its pair of nominees for the 2017 GNAC Woman of the Year Award in Lasell College women’s soccer student-athlete Mack Kingman and Johnson & Wales University women’s tennis standout Morgan Thompson.

The conference office will announce the winner in late July and that individual will be put forth as the GNAC’s representative for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year.

A record 543 female college athletes have been nominated by NCAA member schools for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Now in its 27th year, the award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.

The school nominees represent all three NCAA divisions, with 229 from Division I, 117 from Division II and 197 from Division III. The nominees competed in 21 different women’s sports, and 122 were multisport athletes during their time in college.

The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. The 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced on October 22nd in Indianapolis.

Thompson graduated from JWU with a 4.00 GPA as an Advertising and Marketing Communications major in Providence. Also a Providence, R.I. native, the women’s tennis standout earned GNAC First or Second Team All-Conference accolades all four years with the Wildcats, who claimed the 2016 GNAC Championship. She earned 2015 ITA Scholar Athlete honors, the 2017 Ron Bachman Award at JWU, as well as the 2017 JWU Scholar-Athlete Award.

Outside of athletics, she volunteered with the American Advertising Federation, serving as president for two years. She also took her time to work with DECA, and with the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless helped lead two winning advertising pitches used for communications plans for the non-profit. She also led a refugee service effort that brought 50+ volunteers to welcome more than 100 new refugee families to the community. She also volunteered for events and Lady Project Summit with The Lady Project.

Thompson’s statement read, “1,609: The number of miles between my home and a new place filled with unknown and potential. 34: The number of hours I spent in my car driving there as I nervously wondered what life would be like in this new setting. 28: The number of teammates who have made those 1,609 miles and 34 hours feel like nothing, and have made these past four years all worthwhile.”

“Though my teammates came from all over the world, each bringing different experiences and skill sets, over time we became one succinct unit,” Thompson added. “Between the preseason game nights and bus trip jam sessions, I found my community. But it didn’t happen instantly. The one thing this sport has taught me is that life (and tennis) demand patience. Each shot you hit sets you up to hit the next one. Throughout my college career, this lesson popped up everywhere, whether it was in the Ad Lab working on a tiny detail for a campaign, building relationships with refugee families to slowly earn their trust, or learning more about my faith. As I practiced my patience, I found the experiences soaking into my tennis game, giving me a new edge. I started to see the value in all the little steps you could take to set yourself up for new opportunities. Today, no matter the setting, I’ve used patience as my secret weapon to grow passion projects, skills and friendships.”

Kingman, an East Bridgewater, Mass. native and Hospitality Major at Lasell, graduated with a 3.78 GPA. On the field, she helped the Lasers to four straight GNAC Championships and NCAA appearances and was named the 2016 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year. She became the first student-athlete in Lasell Athletics history to earn All-America honors, garnering NSCAA All-America Second Team accolades last fall. She was an NSCAA All-Region First Team choice in 2016 and NSCAA All-Region Second Team choice in 2015. Kingman registered four goals and four assists in 85 career games played

Off the field, she worked with the Newton Parks & Recreation volunteering as an event planner with a focus on the success of athletes with disabilities. She has also volunteered with TOPSoccer, working as a coach for a program helping children with disabilities. Kingman was also an intern with the American Diabetes Association, helping organize special events across New England.

“Being a scholar-athlete means much more than just playing a sport on a team,” said Kingman. “Over the past four years I have learned the true meaning and responsibilities that come hand-in-hand with carrying the title of scholar-athlete. Personally, the title has allowed me to hold myself to a higher standard as a representation of my school and team. The experiences that occur on the field impact everything off of it as well.”

“Not only was I able to learn how to better myself as an individual, but I learned how to contribute to the success of others or to my team, and feel just as accomplished personally,” Kingman added. “Every day, whether it is at work or casual situations, I am able to utilize my work ethic and drive, which have come from the experiences I have been exposed to through soccer. Who I am today has been shaped heavily through my collegiate soccer career and has led to a more confident, well-rounded leader that is excited to impact the community and world in meaningful ways.”

Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 12 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 17 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.