2017 Washington University in St. Louis graduate Lizzy Crist was named the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year, as announced at a ceremony Sunday night at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis.
Crist is the second student-athlete from WashU to win the award, joining 2012 winner Elizabeth Phillips. She is just the fifth NCAA Division III student-athlete to claim the honor in the 27 years the NCAA has given the award. It is, however, the second year in a row that a Division III student-athlete was honored. Former MIT swimmer Margaret Guo won the award in 2016.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions. To be eligible, nominees must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport, must have completed eligibility in their primary sport and be nominated by their member school.
"I am still letting it all sink in. I really want my teammates, many of whom who were watching tonight, to know that I could not have done this without them," said Crist. "I am so thankful to have had my four years at WashU and to have been surrounded by so many incredible people."
Crist was the 2017 Division III Honda Athlete of the Year and the 2016 National Soccer Coaches Soccer Association National Player of the Year after helping lead the Bears to the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer National Championship. She was also the D3soccer.com Goalkeeper of the Year and a D3soccer.com First-Team All-America selection.
Crist started 23 games in goal for the Bears as a senior and recorded a 19-1-2 mark with a single-season school record 0.29 goals against average. She also set the single-season school record with 13 shutouts, and tied the single-season win total. Crist led the University Athletic Association and ranked fifth in NCAA Division III in goals allowed (6) and goals against average.
She was named the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the second-consecutive season after posting a 2-0 mark with a 0.90 goals against average in two games at the Final Four. Crist helped guide the Bears to the program's first NCAA Championship in school history and concludes her career as the school's all-time leader in shutouts (31) and was second in wins (48).
Crist also excelled in the classroom during her four years on the Danforth Campus. She graduated in May with a 3.90 grade point average while majoring in biomedical engineering. Crist was the 2016 NSCAA National Scholar of the Year and College Sports Information Directors of America First-Team Academic All-America and All-District selection.
She was also a three-time Academic all-UAA honoree, and is currently enrolled in the University of Minnesota Biomedical Engineering PhD program.
Crist earned the Department of Biomedical Engineering Outstanding Senior Achievement Award and was the first student in school history to sweep the three major awards at the Chancellor's Dinner – Ethan A.H. Shepley Award, W. Alfred Hayes Award, A. Gwendolyn Drew Award.
She served as an undergraduate researcher in the transport and tissue engineering laboratory since 2015, and earned summa cum laude and Tau Beta Pi honors in 2017.
In addition, Crist was also a four-year student tutor for Engineering Student Services and a teaching assistant for Quantitative Physiology II in 2017. She also was named the 2016-17 William K.Y. and Anne Tao W Club Distinguished Athlete of the Year Award.
In 2012, Elizabeth Phillips, a cross country and track athlete from Washington University, received the award. The previous year, Stevens swimmer and track athlete Laura Barito was the award's winner. The NCAA Woman of the Year award first went to a Division III student-athlete in 2003, the 13th year of the award, when Kenyon swimmer Ashley Jo Rowatt received the honor.