INDIANAPOLIS – Fresh off earning a 4x-400-meter relay gold medal for Team USA in her Olympic debut, Taylor Ellis-Watson has been selected as one of the top 30 honorees for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, announced Wednesday afternoon by the NCAA.

Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year Award recognizes female student-athletes across three divisions who best exemplify excellence in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

Following a record 517 school nominees, 229 of whom representing the Division I pool, Ellis-Watson advanced through the selection process to the next round as one of two representatives of the Southeastern Conference among a group of 142 league nominees.

One of only 10 Division I candidates to advance through to the third round of consideration, Ellis-Watson’s decorated and well-balanced dossier continued to impress the selection committee.

Nine finalists will be named – three women from each division – at the end of September. From the group of nine, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2016 Woman of the Year, who will be announced Oct. 16 at a ceremony in Indianapolis.

Well known for her awe-inspiring and seemingly effortless performances on the track, specifically the quarter-mile, Ellis-Watson shines just as bright, possibly brighter in the classroom and whilst providing service to her community.

A 2016 first team Academic All-American following her first year of graduate school, Ellis-Watson managed her rigorous course schedule with volunteer opportunities which saw the caring Olympian educating youth about subjects ranging from nutrition, physical fitness and paying attention in school. In addition, Ellis-Watson focused on mentoring youth about the opportunities available to those who heed their teacher’s lessons.

Named as the University of Arkansas’ 2016 H. Boyd McWhorter Scholarship nominee, Ellis-Watson was also the recipient of an NCAA Ethnic Minority Enhancement Program Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics earlier this year

On the track, Ellis-Watson amassed 11 All-America honors, six of which came from national runner-up performances. The Philadelphia native is a three-time SEC champion in the 400 and holds two Arkansas program records (outdoor 400 and 4-x-400).

The 400 specialist was a member of two world-leading 1,600 relay teams this season, anchoring the Razorbacks at the NCAA West Preliminary round and racing as the second leg for Team USA in the first round of the event at the Olympic Games.


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