INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The NCAA has announced that Williams College senior track and field standout Summer-Solstice Thomas will be the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) nominee for the 2020 NCAA DIII Woman of the Year Award. From a program-record pool of 605 school nominees from all three NCAA divisions, 161 college athletes have been named conference-level nominees for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Thomas most recently earned Second Team Academic All-America honors in a vote by the nation's NCAA DIII College Sports Information Directors.
This June Thomas graduated cum laude as an environmental studies major at Williams and she posted a 3.85 GPA, was a Dean's List student every semester, and earned the Williams College Class of 1925 Scholar-Athlete Award presented annually to a graduating senior.
In addition, Thomas was selected as a Class of 1960s Scholar in environmental studies and a Henry Luce Scholar, as she will continue her studies in Cambodia, where she will work on reforming water quality regulations. She earned honors in environmental studies for the publication of an original senior thesis and is an associate author of a paper to be published this fall in the Journal of Basic and Applied Ecology. Thomas was also elected to associate membership in Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.
"We are all very proud of Summer-Solstice Thomas and all she has achieved with her academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout her time at Williams," stated Eph head coach Nate Hoey. "She has always been there for her teammates and classmates. I can't wait to see the positive impact she has on others and her community in the future."
Eleven times Thomas qualified for NCAA Championships and five times she collected All-America honors. Her All-American honors were achieved in the pentathlon at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championship and those points helped lift the Ephs over Washington University-St. Louis to claim the team title.
Thomas' four other All-America performances came in 2018 in the high jump and the pentathlon, and in 2017 when she was honored at the indoor and outdoor NCAA championships in the high jump.
Thomas also claimed five New England titles: 2019 indoor 4x400m, pentathlon, heptathlon and in 2018 in both the indoor high jump and the pentathlon.
Additionally, Thomas was a member of the 2019 NESCAC champion Eph 4x400 relay and she earned Academic All-NESCAC honors (minimum cumulative GPA 3.50) the maximum six times.
The conference nominees represent student-athletes from 21 different sports spanning all three NCAA divisions and 49 of the athletes are multi-sport competitors. Of those nominated, 58 nominees competed in Division I, 39 in Division II and 63 in Division III.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program is rooted in Title IX and has recognized graduating female college athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership since its inception in 1991.
Conferences can recognize two nominees if at least one is a woman of color or international student-athlete. All nominees who compete in a sport not sponsored by their school's primary conference, as well as associate conference nominees and independent nominees, were placed in a separate pool to be considered by a selection committee. Four nominees from the pool were selected to move forward in the process with the conference nominees.
The Woman of the Year Selection Committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will now choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division — from the conference-level nominees. The Top 30 honorees will be announced in September. From there, the selection committee will narrow the pool to three finalists from each division. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the 2020 Woman of the Year from the nine finalists.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named this fall.