Kenyon's Vereshchagin Named 2012 NCAC Pam Smith Award Winner
Vereshchagin, who was a four-year member of the Ladies' swimming & diving team, served as the team captain of the swimming & diving team in her senior campaign. A six-time North Coast Athletic Conference champion, and 19-time All-American performer, she was named the 2012 NCAC Swimmer of the Year after touching first in four events, including the 200 IM, 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and the 400 medley relay at this winter's conference meet. Vereshchagin, who helped the Ladies capture the 2009 NCAA Championship, is also a two-time individual NCAA Champion, winning the 200 breast in 2009 and capturing the 100 breast in 2012. In addition, Vereshchagin was a two-time Capital One Academic All-American selection, earning first-team laurels as a senior and third-team honors as a junior. She was also recognized by her peers as the 2012 Kenyon College Female Athlete of the Year.
In the classroom, she posted a 3.79 grade-point-average as a double major in modern languages and literature. Vereshchagin, who was awarded one of the 2012 NCAA post-graduate scholarships, was a four-year recipient of the Kenyon Distinguished Academic Scholarship and was also a four-year member of Kenyon's Merit List. As a Russian immigrant to the United States, she concentrated a portion of her academic career on the Russian language. For her studies, she earned the Kenyon Russian Prize in 2011 and was named the Critical Language Scholar in Russian by the U.S. Department of State and American Councils for International Education which granted her a fully-funded scholarship for study in Vladmir, Russia, in 2011.
In addition to her many athletic and academic accomplishments, Vereshchagin also devoted a great deal of her time to community service, contributing to the Humane Society of Knox County, the Special Olympics and the Girls and Women in Sports Day at Kenyon. In addition, she served as an apprentice teacher of both Russian and Spanish languages at Kenyon and devoted another portion of her free time to tutoring 3rd-and 4th-grade students in reading, writing, spelling and typing.
Vereshchagin will attend the University of Oregon in the Fall to begin work towards a PhD in Comparative Literature.
Vereshchagin was one of eight outstanding nominees considered by the selection committee. The candidates were:
- Catie Baker, Swimming, DePauw University
- Kimmie Dyer, Volleyball, Wittenberg University
- Lauren Grimanis, Field Hockey and Tennis, The College of Wooster
- Kritsinee Khowcharoen, Golf, Hiram College
- Kira Kliment, Soccer, Allegheny College
- Emily Schroeder, Swimming, Denison University
Winnie Wong, Volleyball, Allegheny College
The NCAC Woman of the Year Award commemorates former Wittenberg women’s basketball Head Coach and Associate Director of Athletics Pam Smith, who had a profound impact upon the athletes she coached and the students she taught over an illustrious career that spanned more than two decades. She was the architect of the women’s basketball program with the most wins and highest winning percentage in NCAC history through 2007. A 1999 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, Smith earned seven NCAC Coach of the Year awards and compiled a 401-170 record after taking the reins of a struggling program prior to the 1986-87 season. She led the Tigers to eight NCAA Division III tournament appearances, twelve 20-win seasons, and 11 NCAC regular season championships.
As the NCAC winner, Vereshchagin will be nominated, along with Allegheny's Winnie Wong, for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership. Each NCAA conference, and independent institutions, can nominate distinguished female student-athletes for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will meet in August to select the top 10 winners in each division. In September, the selection committee will then evaluate the 30 honorees and choose the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the Woman of the Year. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis October 14, 2012.