Recent Hamline alumna Courtney Benson '14 is part of a narrowing pool of finalists for a national athletics award. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) named the Piper gymnast
as one of 30 semifinalists for their annual Woman Of The Year award. She is just the third Hamline grad to get this far in the voting, and the first since swimmer Penny Tollefson was a finalist in 1992. Betsy Hansen, a track and field/cross country runner, was a semifinalist in 1991.
Benson, who studied economics at Hamline, is a two-time Capital One Academic All-American and is one of the most prolific gymnasts in the history of Hamline Athletics
. When she was named NCGA Senior Gymnast in March 2014, it capped a career that included a national championship for floor exercise in 2013 and several All-American honors. She earned a pair of awards in her senior year at Hamline for finishing fourth at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) meet in floor exercise and in the all-around category.
The Winona, Minnesota native is one of ten Division III semifinalists for the NCAA award. The field will be whittled to three finalists later this month. The NCAA Woman Of The Year will be announced at a dinner in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday, October 19. No Minnesotan has ever won the NCAA WOTY title. As a semifinalist, Benson is automatically invited to the weekend's activities.
"We are very proud of Courtney and all she accomplished during her time at HU," Hamline Athletic Director Jason Verdugo said. "To be recognized by the NCAA as a top 30 women of the year candidate only cements her legacy at Hamline and much more."
You can find more more details, and a list of all 30 semi-finalists, on the NCAA's website