June 24, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The Patriot League is forwarding the names of two successful and accomplished female student-athletes for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, as it is nominating Army's Ariana Mankus and Navy's Laura Gorinski for the prestigious honor.
The Patriot League's Senior Woman Administrators chose Mankus and Gorinski as nominees due to their excellence in the four areas of importance for the NCAA Woman of the Year award: academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.
Both recently-graduated seniors, Mankus and Gorinski were household names in their respective sports the last four years, the first in volleyball and the latter in swimming and diving.
A native of Lisle, Ill., Mankus made an immediate impact as a freshman at Army, becoming the first player in league history named Player and Rookie of the Year in the same season. She earned national recognition as Rookie of the Year from CVU.com, and helped the Black Knights capture the Patriot League championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
Mankus earned first team All-Patriot League honors in three seasons, including back-to-back campaigns in 2011 and 2012. She repeated as the Patriot League's Player of the Year in 2012 as a senior, while also picking up Player of the Year honors from the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). Prior to her graduation in May, Mankus earned the prestigious Army Athletic Association Award, the highest honor for a cadet-athlete at Army to receive.
The outside hitter, who finished her career ranked in the league's all-time top 10 in kills and digs, was also a standout in the classroom. She was named to the Academic All-Patriot League team twice, and appeared on West Point's Dean's List in six semesters. She received the U.S. Military Academy's Wreath, which goes to a cadet achieving at least a 3.0 grade in military, physical and academic arenas. She graduated with a 3.24 grade-point average with a degree in literature.
During her senior season, Mankus served as team captain of the Army volleyball team and chair of the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She assumed several leadership positions as she matriculated at Army, including as a squad leader, battalion sergeant major and regimental command sergeant major. In her spare time she also served as a two-year volunteer with the Special Olympics from 2011-13.
Gorinski graduated as one of the most decorated student-athletes in Patriot League history, capturing a League-record (both men and women) 11 gold medals and one silver in 12 individual race appearances in her four-year career at the League championship meet. She became the first in League history to sweep both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke races in all four years, while adding three gold medals and one runner-up finish in the 200 individual medley. Gorinski was also a part of nine winning relay squads at the League meet, bringing her career gold medals total at the event to a League-record (both men and women) 20. She was a four-time first-team All-League performer, was named Female Rookie of the Championship Meet in 2010 and Female Swimmer of the Meet in 2012 and '13. She was part of three League championship squads in 2010, 2012 and 2013, while the 2011 team took second.
Gorinski's annual success at the League meet translated to national recognition. She was named the CollegeSwimming.com National Swimmer of the Week three times in her career, once each in her sophomore, junior and senior campaigns. She posted NCAA B cut times all four years, competed in three events at the 2012 NCAA Championship Meet and swam in breaststroke races at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Gorinski graduated with Patriot League records in the 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM races.
In addition to her exploits in the pool, Gorinski had a prolific academic career. She was named Patriot League Women's Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year in all three years of her eligibility, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a 3.71 GPA with a major in astrophysics. She earned Scholar All-America honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association (CSCA) in all four years, with a first-team nod in 2012 and honorable mention status in the other three seasons. An early selectee to serve as a U.S. Navy submarine officer, Gorinski graduated in the top 10 percent of her class on the Overall Order of Merit, and received a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Every year, the NCAA encourages each member college and university to honor its top one or two graduating female student-athletes by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award. The Patriot League's pair of nominees came from a collection of submitted names from member institutions that also included: Caroline Tolli of Bucknell, Ashley Walsh of Colgate, Kathleen Brekka of Holy Cross, Emily Valeo of Lafayette and Liz Lucas of Lehigh.
The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee will choose the top 10 honorees in each division. A total of 455 female student-athletes were nominated for this year's award, including 214 from Division I. The committee will whittle the 30 candidates down to the top three in each division and announce the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will then vote to determine the Woman of the Year, who will be announced at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Oct. 20.
Release courtesy of Patriot League officials