ATLANTA-Following a pair of storied four-year careers at Georgia State, softball stand-out Mandy Blackwell and track and field star Ravin Gilbert have been named the Panthers NCAA Woman of the Year nominees.
Now in its 26th year, the NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership. Blackwell and Gilbert are among 229 nominees at the Division I level and a record 544 overall nominees.
Blackwell's distinguished career included All-Sun Belt Second Team honors and being recognized on the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 Team. While helping Georgia State to a 36-25 record and postseason appearance this year, Blackwell batted .263, making 55 starts to go along with an impressive .992 field percentage.
As a junior, she batted a career-best .283 with two home runs, 31 RBI and nine doubles. She has been named to the President's List nearly every semester at Georgia State.
Gilbert graduated from Georgia State has one of the most successful track and field stars in program history. She was a 12-time All-Sun Belt Conference honoree and qualified for the NCAA East Outdoor Regionals all four years as a member of the squad.
During her time at Georgia State, she won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the Sun Belt Outdoor Track and Field Championship. Gilbert was also recognized as the 2015 Sun Belt Most Outstanding Track Performer and was a two-time Sun Belt Track Athlete of the Week. She has earned multiple Athletic Director's Honor Roll and Dean's List recognitions during her four years at Georgia State.
Blackwell and Gilbert will now be considered among the Sun Belt nominees for the annual award. Each conference is allowed to select up to two conference nominees. All conference nominees are forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division.
From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three nominees from each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, and the Top 30 honorees celebrated, at the annual award ceremony in Indianapolis.