INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Alabama gymnastics All-American Ashley Priess has been named one of 10 NCAA Division I honoree for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year it was announced Tuesday. Overall, Priess is one of 30 honorees across all three NCAA divisions.
"Ashley enjoyed an amazing career that included a pair of national championships in addition to a host of individual accolades," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "A tremendous competitor, student and leader, she is highly deserving of this latest honor."
The only gymnast among the top 30, Priess finished off her Alabama career last spring as a 10-time All-American and four-time Scholastic All-American. In September, three finalists from each division will be selected to form the nine finalists for the award. The 2013 Woman of the Year will be announced at an annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Oct. 20.
A member of the Tide's 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championship teams, Priess is the first UA gymnast to earn an undergraduate degree while still competing after graduating with a bachelor's in December 2011. She finished her graduate degree this summer just after leading Alabama to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The winner of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, Priess plans to pursue her doctorate in leadership studies.
Co-captain of the 2010, 2012 and 2013 squads, she earned the Tide's Lewis Each Courage Award in 2010 and 2012. As a senior, she earned the athletics department's Paul W. Bryant Student-Athlete award, which goes to the Tide's top scholar-athlete.
Alabama gymnastics has a proud tradition when it comes to the NCAA Woman of the Year. The award was originally selected on a state basis with the field narrowed to 10 finalists prior to the overall Woman of the Year being announced. Under that system, the Tide had nine student-athletes earn state honors including four that went on to be finalists including Meredith Willard (1997), Merritt Booth (1998), Kristin Sterner (2003) and Michelle Reeser (2005) The Tide's state winners were Katherine Kelleher (1992), Dana Dobransky (1993), Lexa Evans (2000), Andreé Pickens (2002) and Stephanie Kite (2004).
"I'm extremely proud of the tradition that the University of Alabama has when it comes to this award and the place that our gymnastics team has within that legacy," Patterson said.
In recent years, the award has been selected by schools nominating student-athletes to conference and conferences forwarding nominees to the national committee. Alabama student-athletes have been the Southeastern Conference's nominee three times in the last four years with Priess joining golfer Brooke Pancake (2012) and softball player Brittany Rogers (2010).