LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- In exclusive voting by the senior woman administrators of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, cross country and track & field All-American Molly McCullough of Trinity University has been selected the 2019 SCAC Woman of the Year.
"Molly's ability to combine All-American athletic accomplishments in multiple sports along with superior academic performance makes her an outstanding example of the caliber of student-athletes we have here at Trinity University," said Trinity Director of Athletics Bob King. "We are very proud of all of her achievements, and we look forward to her future success as a Trinity alum."
McCullough will now be nominated for the 29th annual NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The SCAC and NCAA Woman of the Year accolades honor graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, community service, and leadership.
"I am incredibly honored to receive this prestigious award," said McCullough. "With two team conference championships, three individual conference championship wins and two All-American honors, my final cross country and track & field seasons have been the best of my collegiate career, and I am humbled to end four incredibly fun and challenging years with one more opportunity to represent Trinity at the national level, as a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award."
The Portland, Oregon, native earned a bachelor's degree from Trinity this past May in engineering science. McCullough qualified for Trinity's Dean's List for seven semesters and made the SCAC Academic Honor roll on eight occasions. She was presented the 2019 Trinity Engineering Science Department Senior Academic Excellence Award and the Professional Promise Award. McCullough received additional academic honors during her collegiate career, including induction into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Last November, McCullough captured the conference cross country championship and was tabbed as the SCAC Cross Country Runner of the Year. She also was the recipient of the SCAC Women's Cross Country Elite 19 award, presented to a student-athlete for academic and athletics success.
McCullough went on to finish second at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional and qualified individually for the NCAA Championship. Trinity history was made at the national event as McCullough placed 21st and became the University's first back-to-back cross country All-American. In 2017, McCullough earned All-America honors with a 38th-place finish at the NCAA meet.
At this spring's SCAC Track & Field Championships, McCullough captured the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the fourth year in a row and became the only person in SCAC history to "four-peat" the event. She also finished as the 5,000 meters champion and was later selected as the SCAC Women's Track Athlete of the Year.
McCullough traveled to Geneva, Ohio, for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships and placed fourth in the steeplechase, picking up another All-America award.
"I couldn't be more proud of Molly and her accomplishments while at Trinity," said Head Cross Country Coach Emily Daum. "She has been a stellar role model for her teammates, not to mention one of the most coachable athletes I've had during my time here. Molly's passion and dedication led her to phenomenal feats in cross country and track, but witnessing her do all of that while also excelling in one of Trinity's most demanding majors was truly incredible. She has set the bar high and could not be more deserving of this award!"
On campus, McCullough was a member of the Society of Women's Engineers. She was a research assistant in astronomy, mathematics, engineering science, and biology. McCullough also served as a Trinity peer tutor and tour guide.
"This award presents a wonderful opportunity to reflect not only on the hard work and dedication it took to get to this point, but also on the people without whom I would have accomplished very little," concluded McCullough. "This award is a testament to my teammates and coaches, those incredible women who were with me every step of the way, both on and off the course."
McCullough became the seventh Trinity student-athlete to garner the SCAC Woman of the Year award. The most recent honoree was her track & field teammate, Britney Sullivan, who received the top award in 2018. Previous recipients were Brigette Lee (2016 - golf), Emily Jorgens (2015 - soccer), Abigail Loar (2012 - soccer), Hayley Emerick (2011 - diving), and Christyn Schumann (2006 - track & field).
McCullough was one of five outstanding nominees considered by the SCAC Woman of the Year Committee. The other candidates were:
- Bryce Frank, basketball, Austin College
- Allysa Warling, cross country and track & field, Colorado College
- Brandi Campos, volleyball, Southwestern University
- Cortnee Priour, track & field, Texas Lutheran University
As SCAC winner, McCullough will be nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.
All conference nominees will be forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee. The selection committee will choose the top 10 nominees in each division. From among those 30 honorees, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be recognized Oct. 28 at an awards dinner in Indianapolis.
In conjunction with the changes in the nomination process for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Woman of the Year award was established for the 2005-06 athletic season. Beginning in 2006, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) started receiving conference-designated nominees in lieu of the previous institution- and state-based nomination format.
From 1991 to 2005, each state had a woman of the year honoree and from that group 10 finalists were selected. From the top-10 finalists, the national winner was then chosen. Since 2006, each conference and independent school forwards nominations to the NCAA.
To read about past winners of the SCAC Woman-of-the-Year award, click here.
2018 - Britney Sullivan, outdoor track and field, Trinity University
2017 - Amanda Lochte, softball, Texas Lutheran University
2015 - Emily Jorgens, soccer, Trinity University
2014 - Lilly Duarte, cross country & outdoor track and field, Southwestern University / Shelby Eaves, volleyball, Austin College
2013 - Rachel Thibodeau, volleyball, Southwestern University