INDIANAPOLIS -- Former collegiate softball standouts, Newman's (DII) Delaney Hiegert and Oklahoma State's (DI) Vanessa Shippy are two of the nine finalists for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year Award and will be honored at an awards dinner Oct. 28 in Indianapolis, where the 2018 Woman of the Year will be named.
The nine finalists — including three from each NCAA division — demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
Finalists were selected from a group of 30 Woman of the Year honorees who will be recognized during the event. This group of 30 includes 10 honorees from each NCAA division and represents a range of sports. Schools nominated a record 581 college athletes for the award.
School: Newman University
Conference: Heartland Conference
Major: Communication, with minors in journalism and criminal justice
Hometown: Topeka, Kansas
“I learned, through my role as a leader on my team and on campus, the power of my voice. The amount of people I had thank me for my work with Kaleidoscope, from student-athletes to families of LGBT+ children, was astounding. I can’t express the pride I feel knowing I helped someone take ownership of who they are. I’ll be chasing that feeling in my career in civil rights advocacy law for years to come.”
Delaney Hiegert assumed a strong leadership role on and off the softball diamond at Newman. As a Cardinal Newman Scholar, she completed 32 hours of service per semester, which did not include her community service through her sport or the multiple on-campus organizations in which she was involved. Hiegert was a founding member of Kaleidoscope, which was Newman’s first LGBT+ organization. She also volunteered as a freshman orientation leader and taught a weekly class for freshman students to help them assimilate to campus life. In addition to her extensive volunteer work on campus, Hiegert coached a youth girls basketball team and youth girls softball team.
A 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-American, Hiegert graduated summa cum laude after earning both Newman president’s honor roll and Heartland Conference presidents’ honor roll recognition for eight consecutive semesters. She received the 2018 University of Kansas School of Law Rice scholarship, given to five incoming students per year who demonstrate outstanding academic performance and proven leadership ability. Hiegert won 17 individual awards from the Kansas Collegiate Media, including categories for investigative reporting, sports news writing and feature writing. With her outstanding academic performance and continuous work with the student newspaper, Hiegert earned the Victor Murdock Communications Scholarship for four straight years and the Society of Professional Journalists Scholarship for her junior and senior years. She was also a four-time Topeka Community Foundation Scholarship recipient, for exemplifying the role of a student leader and maintaining that status throughout her undergraduate career.
On the diamond, Hiegert earned second team all-conference honors her senior year and helped her team qualify twice for the Heartland Conference tournament. As a senior, she was a starting outfielder in 51 games, hitting .261 with 161 at-bats, 42 hits, 24 runs, two doubles, a triple and eight RBIs. In her four years at Newman, she played in 190 games, hitting .251 with 116 hits, 60 runs and 24 RBIs.
School: Oklahoma State University
Conference: Big 12 Conference
Majors: Finance and marketing, with a minor in accounting
Hometown: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
“Being a collegiate student-athlete completely changed my life. The experience helped me earn a degree that will make my professional dreams come true and allow me to provide a good life for my family. It has taught me self-discipline, time management, patience and perseverance. I’ve made many friends and mentors that will be in my life for years to come because of my time as a student-athlete. Most importantly, this experience has given me a platform to provide a positive example to numerous young children.”
Vanessa Shippy, a former softball student-athlete at Oklahoma State, dedicated herself to supporting the campus and Stillwater communities. Shippy spent three years as a member of the campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She volunteered for four years at the Stillwater animal welfare shelter and for two years leading camp games at the local YMCA, and she coached for two years with the Stillwater Steele youth softball organization. Shippy also worked with the Stillwater domestic violence shelter, visited patients at The Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City and spoke at local elementary schools.
Shippy graduated with dual degrees in finance and marketing and a minor in accounting. She was the first Oklahoma State softball player and just the third Oklahoma State student-athlete to earn three Google Cloud Academic All-America honors. Shippy also is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 team member and seven-time President’s Honor Roll qualifier. She was named the Big 12 Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year for two consecutive years (2017, 2018).
Shippy, a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American, was twice recognized as the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year (once in 2018 and once as a co-player of the year in 2016). In her senior season, Shippy led the conference in walks, runs scored, on-base percentage and batting average. Her career performance helped her team reach three NCAA regionals appearances. Shippy holds 12 career and single-season Oklahoma State softball records, including most games played, most games started, highest career on-base percentage, most career walks and most career runs. She was drafted 11th overall by the Cleveland Comets in the National Pro Fastpitch college draft.
Courtesy of NCAA