COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech University Athletic Department has announced a list of eight finalists for the school’s 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, with the winner to be announced Sunday.
To be eligible for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, students must be a senior or graduate student who has completed her athletic eligibility during 2011-12. Criteria for selecting the award include both athletic and academic accomplishments, as well as additional areas such as community involvement and public service.
The Awards Committee has selected three members of the track & field team, two each from softball and basketball, and one from soccer. The volleyball and golf teams did not have any seniors on the roster who would have been eligible for the award. The finalists are:
Brooke Basten (Softball) – Senior, Green Bay, Wis. -- A four-year member of the softball team and the TTU Honors Program, Brooke tallied a grade point average of 3.95 and graduated in May cursu honorum. A two-time OVC Medal of Honor winner, Brooke has been on the OVC Commissioner’s and TTU Athletic Director’s honor rolls and the Dean’s List every semester at Tech. She has held office in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for the last three years and was the 2011-12 SAAC president. The captain of the softball team strives to help those around her succeed and has tutored other student-athletes for the previous two years. Her volunteer activities include raising money for the Putnam County Humane Society to coordinating events at the Special Olympics. Brooke was instrumental in leading the Hoops for Heroes event to raise money to send a soldier to the OVC basketball tournament in Nashville. The team’s Most Improved Player a year ago, Basten increased her numbers this season while student teaching. She batted .258 and led the Golden Eagle softball team in doubles (8) and RBI (21).
Leah Bradley (Cross Country/Track) – Senior, McDonough, Ga. – Leah Bradley graduated in May with a degree in multidisciplinary studies and concentration on exercise science. After two years at Georgia Southern, she transferred to Tech and has spent the past two years on the Golden Eagle cross country and track & field teams. She has been one of the team’s top middle-distance runners, constantly improving her career-best times. Indoors this season, Bradley ran the 800m and mile events, and during the outdoor season has competed in the 800m and 1,500m races. She owns the team’s best time at 1,500-meters, establishing a new career-best time each time out. She had the second-best 800-meter time of the year, notching career-best times in four of the past five meets. During the 2011 cross county season, Leah ran in all seven meets in her first fall on the squad. She blossomed late in the season, posting a season-best 5K time of 19:54 at Jacksonville State. Overall, she was the second Golden Eagle finisher in three meets.
Rachel Glidden (Basketball) – Senior, Pulaski, Tenn. -- One of the best long-range shooters in Tech women’s basketball history, Rachel Glidden battled injury throughout her senior campaign. In the 27 games she was able to play in, Rachel hit 34 three-point baskets and averaged nearly 36% from beyond the arc to lead the team in both categories. She also tallied 20 steals while only turning the ball over 22 times on the year. Averaging just over 19 minutes/game, Rachel grabbed 73 rebounds and shot 85% from the charity stripe. She committed just 34 fouls in 520 minutes of play and shot 37% overall, scoring a total of 137 points. Among her numerous community service activities were participation in the Women Build project of Habitat for Humanity and collection and distribution of Christmas baskets.
Tacarra Hayes (Basketball) – Senior, Lebanon, Ky. -- Tacarra led the Golden Eagles in several categories during her senior season including points (578/17.0 ppg), rebounds (214/6.3 rpg), assists (142/4.1 apg) and steals (47/1.3 spg). She was named the 2011-12 OVC Preseason Player of the Year, was named first-team all-OVC for the third straight season and garnered two OVC Player of the Week awards. She recorded five double-doubles on the season, two of which came in the OVC Tournament against Eastern Illinois and UT Martin as she was named to the OVC all-Tournament Team. Tacarra finished her career at Tech with 1,786 points (9th), 708 rebounds (10th), 444 assists (8th) and 180 steals (11th). Off the court, Tacarra has been just as successful as she has participated in several community and charity events during her time as a Golden Eagle. A regular attendee of the Fall Fun Fest, Tacarra has also participated in Habitat for Humanity, and the Adopt-a-Family programs. She also took part in the Haiti Relief and has helped out in several basketball camps. This past season, she was one of 50 student-athletes invited to the “So You Want to Be a Coach” program at the “Final Four” in Denver. Tacarra received her degree in May and in June was named Tech’s Outstanding Female Athlete of 2011-12, her third consecutive time winning that award.
Traci Jones (Cross Country/Track) – Senior, Aiken, S.C. – Traci Jones has been a constant in the Tennessee Tech cross country lineup during the past four years, running in 25 meets during her career. She has also been a consistent contributor on the track team, competing in middle-distance, distance and relay events. Last fall, she ran in six cross country meets, posting 5K times in the 20s toward the end of the season. She ran a season-best 20:39 at Evansville, was Tech's second finisher at Georgia State and placed third on the team at the TTU Invitational. During the indoor track & field season, she ran the 800m, mile and 3,000m races, and outdoors she has competed in the 800m and 1,500m events. As a junior, she clocked the third-fastest 800-meter time in school history. She is majoring in animal science with a concentration in pre-veterinary sciences.
Lindsey Reed (Soccer) – Senior, Denver, Colo. – Lindsey Reed was one of five players to start all 19 contests and played every minute of every game for the Golden Eagles in the 2011 season. She had one shot, which she put on net, for a 1.000 shot-on-goal percentage. Once this year, Lindsey was named the OVC’s Defensive Player of the Week after for her role in the Golden Eagles’ showing at the Adidas Gamecock Soccer Classic. Reed anchored the defense on a weekend in which the unit gave up just one goal in 200 minutes of soccer against WAC competition in Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. She led a shutout of Louisiana Tech on Friday over 110 minutes of soccer and helped keep NMSU in check after an early goal in game two. Under her leadership, TTU held Louisiana Tech to just three shots on goal while limiting New Mexico State to six. Reed was also a nominee for two of the most prestigious awards available to Tech Athletes in the 2012 Derryberry Award and the Lowes Senior CLASS Award. Academically, Lindsey is a member of the Honors Program (Associated Scholars Guild, fall ’08- spring ’12) and a HPEO (Honors Program Enrichment Option) participant. A chemical engineering major, she maintained a 3.97 cumulative grade-point average, graduated in May and plans to attend medical school after college. She received the OVC Academic Medal of Honor for both the 2008-09 and 2010-11 school years and was a Wendy's Scholar Athlete of the Game award-winner at TTU. She was also included on the “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges” list in 2012, and has been on the Dean’s List from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2012. She is a member of the mathematics honor society Kappa Mu Epsilon and the Chemical-Medical Sciences Club, as well as Tau Beta Pi (a national engineering society) and Omega Chi Epsilon – the TTU Engineering Honor society, for which she holds the position of treasurer. Lindsey has also participated in undergraduate research, studying the effect of sucrose on cement hydration. Lindsey was named captain of the Golden Eagles her sophomore season and has served in the role since. Lindsey was a regular volunteer along with her at Parkview Elementary. During the summer of 2011, she volunteered 80 hours in the emergency department at Denver Health while also donating her time to the Inner City Health Center. In the past, she has volunteered in the soup kitchen and medical clinic at Broadway Assistance Center in Denver and has also given her time at the Putnam County Animal Shelter in Cookeville. She alsoserved as a tutor for fellow student-athletes at Tennessee Tech and was a co-chair on the Intramurals Committee.
Holly Thomas (Softball) – Senior, Ooltewah, Tenn. -- Holly continued her outstanding leadership both on the field and in the classroom for the Golden Eagles in 2012. Her grade point average of 3.7 ranks among the best on a team of elite scholars and she graduated in May. A mainstay on both the OVC Commissioner’s and TTU Athletic Director’s Honor Rolls, Holly has also worked on numerous community service projects including Habitat for Humanity, Bark in the Park and Operation Christmas Child. For the third time in her career, Holly led the Tech softball team to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament where she was a standout performer, helping the Golden Eagles reach the championship game. The senior ace earned 20 victories and hurled a grueling 23 complete games. Her ERA of 2.11 and opposing batting average of .204 were the best in the OVC. She ranked second in the conference in wins and was among the leaders in each positive category. Holly struck out eight or more batters on nine occasions including a career-high 11 against Eastern Kentucky without allowing a walk. She threw seven games without allowing an earned run and 21 games in which she gave up two or fewer. Holly pitched a near-perfect game at Tennessee State, allowing only one batter to reach base. She was named first-team all-OVC and earned a spot on the OVC All-Tournament team.
Emily Weinzetl (Track) – Senior, San Antonio, Texas -- Emily came within one second of setting a new TTU record in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:17.89 at the Showdown on the Cumberland meet in April. That marks shattered her personal record of 2:23.86 which she set earlier in the spring. A senior from San Antonio, Texas, Emily’s name is a regular on the TTU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. As a journalism major, Emily covered several Tech beats, including athletics, for The Oracle.