Tropiano Receives NESCAC's Nod for NCAA Woman of the Year

Elise TropianoFrom a NESCAC release

HADLEY, Ma – Elise Tropiano (Plainview, NY), a 2009 graduate of Amherst College and a former participant on the Jeffs’ cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams, has been nominated for the 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year Award by the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). She is the second individual from Amherst in the past three years to be nominated by the conference for Woman of the Year, after Shauneen Garrahan was nominated in 2007.

The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. The award has been given annually since 1991. A three-sport athlete during all of her four years at Amherst, Tropiano served as the Jeffs’ cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field captain throughout her final season. The Amherst cross country team enjoyed unprecedented success over her tenure. The Jeffs won their first-ever league title during the 24th annual NESCAC Cross Country Championships in 2006 and also finished as the national runner-up. Tropiano’s squad followed the next fall with a second conference crown and captured the program’s first NCAA title. She wrapped up her cross country career in 2008 by winning the NESCAC Cross Country Championships and being named Most Outstanding Performer while also placing first at the NCAA New England Regional and finishing as the runner-up at the national championship. Along the way, Tropiano twice garnered All-NESCAC First Team honors and All-America recognition (2007, 2008).

As a member of the Jeffs’ track and field teams, Tropiano received All-America accolades seven times during her career, earning indoor 5,000-meter All-America honors three straight years from 2007 through 2009. After finishing seventh in her previous two indoor 5,000-meter attempts, Tropiano won her first individual national title this past season with a first place showing in the 5,000-meter (16:58.84) at the NCAA championships in March.

Tropiano also was named All-NESCAC twice as she claimed conference recognition in 2007 with a second place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and again in 2008 by winning the 10,000-meter run. She was limited during the 2009 outdoor season due to injury. In addition to the honors and awards Tropiano has accumulated during her career, she also owns the New England regional championship record in the steeplechase with a time of 10:36.46 in 2008.

Tropiano’s academic achievements rival the athletic awards she collected during her time with the Jeffs. Graduating from Amherst in May with a degree in psychology, Tropiano completed her academic career with a 3.64 grade point average. A two-time member of the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team, Tropiano was selected as the 2008 Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year in February. She was also named to the NESCAC All-Academic Team on five separate occasions during her junior and senior years and was twice recognized as a CoSIDA District I Academic All-American, finding a spot on the Second Team in 2008 before moving up to the First Team in 2009. Amherst honored Tropiano with the Tom Gerety Fellowship for Action in 2007 and the Samuel Walley Brown Scholarship in 2008, given to the one student who most exemplifies leadership, scholarship, athleticism, and character.

An active member of the community, Tropiano dedicated a significant amount of time while at Amherst to helping others. Tropiano was heavily involved in the Pipeline Scholars Program from 2006 through 2009 as both a tutor and a program manager, as she collaborated with Amherst public schools to create a tutoring program in an effort to connect Amherst College students with underprivileged youth. She also helped recruit and train Amherst College students as tutors for the program.

During the summer of 2008, Tropiano served as an assistant director for the Pipeline Scholars program, conducting the administrative details of a summer enrichment program for Amherst public schools while also supervising fellow college student interns and providing guidance in the use of pedagogical techniques. In addition to the many other activities she participated in, Tropiano was a Bonner Community Engagement Leader, helping to raise student awareness and engagement with events related to social justice, education, and human rights, and also served as a student manager in the Amherst College Wolff Fitness Center from 2005-07.

Tropiano was the unanimous choice by a committee of conference administrators to represent the NESCAC from a field of talented student-athletes nominated for the Woman of the Year Award. Other nominees included Isabel Alexander (Harvard, Mass.) of Bates, Kate Sheridan (Hingham, Mass.) of Colby, Amory Minot (Newton, Mass.) of Trinity, and Lisa Drennan (Ann Arbor, Mich.) of Wesleyan.

The 2009 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced on October 18 in Indianapolis, Ind. More information on the award and a list of previous winners can be found at www.ncaa.org.