BHS graduate nominated for NCAA ‘Woman of Year’ at ASU

Published 6:13 pm Friday, June 21, 2013

Albany State women’s softball player Vanessa Jones, a 2009 graduate of Bainbridge High School, has been nominated for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The Woman of the Year award honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.
A total of 455 female student-athletes were nominated for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Of those nominees, 214 participated in Division I, 90 participated in Division II, and 151 participated in Division III athletics.

“I am very blessed to be recognized as a nominee and to have a chance to represent Albany State,” Jones said. “To have the opportunity to be named NCAA Woman of the Year is a tremendous honor, and it’s one that makes my family and me are very proud.”

A former shortstop for ASU, Jones led the Lady Rams to the 2013 SIAC women’s softball championship. During the NCAA tournament, she led the Lady Rams to the program’s first tournament victory in school history. Jones received the 2013 RAM Award, which is presented to the student-athlete who exhibits school spirit, dedication, leadership and service to the community. She also received the Team Captain and the Academic Achievement Awards.

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Jones served in ASU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years. During the 2012-2013 school year, she served as president. She led the organization to its’ third consecutive SIAC SAAC Citizenship Award and second straight finalist finish for the NCAA Community Engagement Award. Jones is also a charter member of Albany State’s Chi Alpha Sigma National Honor Society (Eta Chapter) for student-athletes.

Jones received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May. She is the daughter of Gerald and Marie Jones.

“Vanessa has been a big part of our softball program over the last four years,” said head coach Robert Skinner. “She’s a good student and a great leader who has “team first” mentality. She has been a model student-athlete at our university, and it has been a pleasure to coach her for four years.”
SAAC advisor Stan McCormick agrees with Skinner’s assessment of Jones.

“If you create a formula for what you want a student-athlete to be, your ending product will be Vanessa Jones,” McCormick said. “She has all the characteristics- academician, stellar athlete, leader, respectful, hard-working and humble.” She definitely deserves the opportunity to be named Woman of the Year.”

Each conference selects one or two women from the nominees to represent the conference. Those names are then sent to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top 10 honorees in each division.

From among those 30 candidates, the selection committee determines the top three in each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will then vote from among the finalists to determine the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year.

The top 30 honorees will be honored, and the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 20.

“Vanessa is one of our most well-rounded student-athletes, and we are very excited that she will have to opportunity to be NCAA Woman of the Year,” said Dr. Richard H. Williams, ASU athletics director. “She is a great ambassador for our student-athletes, department and university, and hopefully her success will prompt our athletes to continue to strive for the best.”