INDIANAPOLIS – Carson-Newman finds itself with an Eagle in the running for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year with former women's golfer Taylor Hayes earning a nomination for the award on Thursday.
She is the first Eagle to be nominated for the award since swimmer Nancy Claire Smith in 2017.
With her nomination, Hayes is one of the record 585 female collegiate athletes across all three NCAA divisions with 131 coming from Division II. Among those from the Division II realm, nine hail from the South Atlantic Conference.
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
This latest national distinction comes just a month after Hayes became the program's first-ever Kim Moore Spirit Award from the Women's Golf Coaches Association. That honor recognizes and honors a student-athlete or coach who exemplifies a great spirit toward the game of golf, a positive attitude on and off the golf course, a role model for her team and mental toughness in facing challenges.
Hayes wrapped up her final year at Mossy Creek this season as the team's only four-year senior. She racked up the fifth-best scoring average for the program at 78.78 through 78 rounds of play. A mainstay for the team since she arrived, Hayes played in 30 regular season events, two South Atlantic Conference tournaments, picking up second-team and honorable mention All-SAC accolades as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, and serving as a team captain as a junior and senior.
Hayes was a Carson-Newman Gold Eagle Scholar throughout her career, an honor given to student-athletes who maintain a 3.75 GPA or higher. She also made the university dean's list every year of her career and was a member of Alpha Lamba Delta, an honor society for first and second-year students with at least 15 credit hours in the first semester and a 3.5 GPA. As a junior and senior, she was a part of Alpha Chi, an honors and service organization open to juniors and seniors from every academic discipline made up of the top 10-percent of each class. She graduated in May with a degree in Accounting/Finance while also receiving credit in Masters-level courses during her senior year, allowing her to work toward the next milestone.
From her junior year on, Hayes was a member of the Student Ambassador Association, a group that facilitates meetings between prospective and current students as well as alumni representing Carson-Newman. This past year, she served as the social chair, putting on campus events such as homecoming and other networking opportunities.
Next, conferences will select up to two nominees each from the pool of school nominees. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees – 10 from each division.
The selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.