BOSTON Binghamton’s Megan Hoag (volleyball), Boston University’s Marisa Ryan (cross country/track & field) and Maine’s Tal Shpaizer (swimming & diving) have been named finalists for the 2007 America East Woman of the Year award on Tuesday (May 22) by America East Commissioner Patrick Nero. The accolade honors the conference’s senior female student-athlete that best exemplifies a commitment to service, leadership, athletics and academics during her collegiate career.

Hoag, a 2006 first-team all-conference selection, has posted a 3.93 grade-point average (GPA) as a psychology major and is a 2007 Summa Cum Laude graduate. She won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and the ECAC Merit Award, while being named a CoSIDA Academic All-American Nominee, an ESPN Academic All-District I First Team selection and an All-Academic Team pick in 2006-07. She has been featured on the Dean’s List, America East’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll and All-University Honors for four-straight years. Hoag has also served on the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society (2005-07), Golden Key International Honor Society (2004-07), Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society (2006), Phi Eta Sigma National Community Service Honor Society (2004-07), Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (2005-07), Team Community Service Coordinator (2005-07), Pep Band (2005-07) and has participated in the Peer Pride (2003-07) and Student Ambassador (2006-07) programs in her tenure at Binghamton.

On the court, Hoag was named Most Valuable Player for the Bearcats in 2006 and  led Binghamton to its first America East title in 2005. She was named to the America East All-Championship team in 2004 and 2006, while being a first-team all-conference pick in 2006 as well. Hoag was also featured on the University of Pennsylvania All Tournament Team in 2006 and was named America East and Binghamton University Player of the Week on several occassions.

Ryan, a medical sciences major with a 3.78 GPA, is one of the most prolific runners in Boston University cross country and track & field history. She is a three-time America East cross country team champion (2004-06), garnering individual champion accolades and an NCAA qualifying time in 2006, along with America East indoor track & field team championships in 2006 and 2007. Ryan earned first-team all-conference honors multiple times for cross country (2004-06), indoor track & field (2005-06) and outdoor track & field (2004 & 2006).

Currently involved in nine community service and campus activities, Ryan has been an active student-athlete at Boston University. Ryan participates in the Here to Help program, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, the Boston University Catholic Center, the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the American Medical Woman’s Association, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Seven-Year Medical Program and Pre-Medical Honor Society. Ryan was the first student-athlete to be accepted into Boston University’s Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program and will earn a B.A. and M.D. in seven years. She has received the Boston University Scarlet Key Award, while being a four time America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll and College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s List member. Ryan was the Boston University Woman of the Year last year, the America East Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2005-06), America East Women’s Cross-Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2005-06 & 2006-07), America East Indoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2006), ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team member (2005-06), USTFCCCA Division I All-Academic Team member (2006) and earned the Terrier Pride Viner Family Scholarship in 2006-07.

Shpaizer, a business finance and financial economics major boasting a 3.95 GPA, has been a Member of Israeli National Swim Team since 1996 and was voted Maine’s team MVP in 2006 and 2007. The swimmer holds the Maine school records in the 200 IM, 100 Butterfly, 400 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay and has participated in the Israeli Championships in 1992, the Junior European Championships in 1998 & 1999 and the Junior Olympic Games in 1998.

Away from the pool, Shpaizer’s accomplishments are even more impressive. She was a member of the Israeli Air Force (2001-03) while partipating in the Mentor for Classmate (1995-2000) and Swim for Peace (1996-98) programs and volunteering as a camp counselor, lifeguard or swimming instructor at numerous at nine events since 2001. Academically, she is also a member of the Omnicron Delta Epsilon International Honor Society (2007), Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society (2006), America East All-Academic Team (2007), Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (2006) and America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll (2003-07). She has received the Palmer Plaque for Academic Excellence (2006 & 2007), the Presidential Achievement Award (2004), the Dean Smith Award (2007) and is a 2005-06 Webber Scholar recipient and a four-time Maine Scholar-Athlete and Dean’s List member.

The three finalists were selected from a pool of the nine America East institutional nominations, which were announced on Tuesday (May 8). To be nominated, student-athletes must have earned a varsity letter in a NCAA-sponsored sport and competed during the 2006-07 academic year, completed intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2007 spring season or received her undergraduate degree prior to the conclusion of the spring 2007 term and have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.500 (4.000 scale).

In conjunction with the changes in the nomination process for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, the America East Woman of the Year award was established for the 2005-06 athletic season. Effective last year, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) will receive conference-designated nominees in lieu of the previous institution- and state-based nomination format.

The America East Woman of the Year will be announced on Tuesday (June 12) at the America East Annual Meeting in Stony Brook, N.Y. The three league finalists will be in attendance at the Annual Meeting where they will be recognized for their achievements.

The America East Woman of the Year will then be forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee. The selection committee will select the top 10 winners in each NCAA division (I, II and III). From among those 30 honorees, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA will vote from among the top nine to determine the 2007 NCAA Woman of the Year.