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From L-R: Stony Brook's Lucy Van Dalen, Binghamton's Viive Rebane, and Albany's Laurie Gonzalez
Courtesy: America East Communications

Top Three Woman of the Year Finalists Tabbed

Release: 05/30/2012
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The America East Conference announced today that University at Albany’s Laurie Gonzalez (volleyball), Binghamton University’s Viive Rebane (basketball) and Stony Brook University’s Lucy Van Dalen (cross country/track & field) have been named finalists for the 2012 America East Woman of the Year award. The honor recognizes the conference’s senior female student-athlete who has best distinguished herself throughout her collegiate career in the areas of academic achievement, athletic excellence, service and leadership.

The three finalists were selected from a pool of the 12 America East institutional nominations, which were announced on May 18. To be nominated, student-athletes must have completed intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2012 spring season, received her undergraduate degree prior to the conclusion of the summer 2012 term and had a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.500 (4.000 scale). The 2012 America East Woman of the Year will be announced on Wednesday, June 13 at the conference’s annual awards dinner in Annapolis, Md., site of the conference’s Annual Meeting, as well as via a news release on www.AmericaEast.com.

Gonzalez, a native of Carolina, Puerto Rico, is a three-year team captain of the back-to-back America East Volleyball Champion Great Danes and received All-Region and Honorable Mention All-America honors after the 2011 season. She is the conference’s first-ever four-time Defensive Specialist of the Year while also keeping a 3.20 in human biology and earning America East Honor Roll status in 2009 and 2010. Gonzalez has served her community on a regular basis as an educator in sexual health-related topics with the Shape Program, a volunteer with the Senior Services of Albany and a Spanish tutor in the athletic department. The senior has also participated in numerous other service projects such as Habitat for Humanity, breast cancer awareness walks and fundraisers and Relay for Life.

Rebane is a two-time all-conference forward and team captain for the Binghamton women’s basketball squad, finishing among the program’s top-10 in career points and rebounds. A native of Tallinn, Estonia and a top member of the Estonian Senior National Team, Rebane graduated with an undergraduate degree in psychology with a 3.61 GPA. In addition to on the court achievements, she has also earned multiple all-academic team and academic honor roll awards and was inducted into the National College Athlete Honors Society in 2010. Her community and leadership activities include mentoring fifth-grade children with the College For Every Student program, participating in the Magic Paintbrush Project with autistic children, walking for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Walk and serving as a volunteer coach for the Under-18 Estonia National Team during the summer.

Van Dalen, who became Stony Brook’s first-ever National Champion by winning the mile at the 2012 NCAA indoor track meet, has won multiple conference championships and All-America honors throughout her career for cross country, the 3,000 meters, 1,500 meters, 800 meters and one mile races. She has also garnered Scholar-Athlete awards from the America East and the SUNY Chancellor and been elected to the Golden Key International Honour Society and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Van Dalen, invited by the Dean of Students to the University President’s Luncheon Series earlier this year, graduated Magna Cum Laude last spring with a 3.78 undergraduate GPA and owns a 4.00 GPA as she pursues her master’s in sociology. The New Zealand runner is also an avid participant and chorus member of the Wanganui Baptist Church in her hometown for which she traveled on a Mission Trip to build an education center in the slums of Fiji.

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. Beginning in 2006, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) started receiving conference-designated nominees in lieu of the previous institution- and state-based nomination format.

The America East Woman of the Year will 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 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year.

Year-by-Year America East Woman of the Year Honorees
2011    Nikki Branchini, Albany (lacrosse)
2010    Emily Pallotta, Boston U. (soccer)
2009    Kristen Millar, Vermont (lacrosse)
2008    Sarah Hudak, Boston U. (field hockey)
2007    Marisa Ryan, Boston U. (cross country/track & field)
2006    Ashlee Reed, Albany (volleyball)
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