INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – East Texas Baptist University’s Lya Swaner continues to be one of the top NCAA female athletes in the nation as she was named a Top Nine finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year. This is the first time for any athlete from ETBU and the American Southwest Conference to make the top nine for the NCAA’s Woman of the Year award.
“I am so excited right now,” exclaims Swaner. “This is such an exciting moment in my life and I am still on cloud nine. It’s very humbling to be amongst the best of all of NCAA female student-athletes. You never think about the awards you receive when you love what you do. I loved studying and playing softball at ETBU. This award represents all of ETBU and what they gave to me.”
Swaner is one of the top three student-athletes from NCAA Division III as the NCAA picks three female student-athletes from all three divisions to make the top nine. She originally was a top 30 pick in August being one of the top 10 female student-athletes in NCAA Division III. Selected out of originally 450 nominees overall, she will now wait to see if she is the NCAA’s Woman of the Year on October 20 in Indianapolis, Ind.
The other two NCAA Division III nominees are Elena Crosley (Bowdoin College, field hockey) and Kaaren Hatlen (Pacific Lutheran, softball). The NCAA Division II nominees are Elizabeth Duffy (Concordia-St. Paul, volleyball), Kayla Shull (Clarion University, swimming and diving), and Bridgett Soares (Long Island University, lacrosse). The three nominees from NCAA Division I are Kelly Majam (Univ. of Hawaii, softball), Alexandra Maseko (Seton Hall, basketball), and Ifeatu Okafor (Texas Tech, track & field). Below is the excerpt from Swaner’s bio on the NCAA release:
Excerpt from personal statement: “My experiences as a scholar, athlete and leader have definitely influenced my life and made me the person I am today. I have learned self-discipline by challenging myself with goals to pursue a double major in biology and chemistry, complete an Honors research project, maintain a high GPA, participate in intercollegiate softball, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work, and grow in my faith.”
Lya was a campus leader at East Texas Baptist University, where she was a three-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and president in her senior year. She also held a work-study job on campus while volunteering for the Dallas Fire Department, Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics.
Double-majoring in biology and chemistry and graduating with honors, Lya earned multiple academic scholarships, was inducted into the National Honor Society and made the Dean’s List each semester on campus, and was voted a Capital One Academic All-American. She was also recognized with the American Southwest Conference Scholar-Medal of Honor, which is awarded to one graduating male and female student-athlete at each member university for most outstanding academic, athletic and leadership records and awarded the Distinguished Scholar-Athlete award given to one American Southwest Conference softball player.
The two-year team captain and four-year starter led the East Texas Baptist University softball team to three NCAA tournament appearances in four years, including winning the NCAA National Championship in 2010. She also won two American Southwest Conference Tournament championships and was named the tournament MVP in 2013. She was given the Top Tiger Award, which recognizes the top overall female athlete at East Texas Baptist.
Lya Swaner’s Awards
- NCAA Top 9 Finalist – NCAA Woman of the Year
- NCAA Top 30 Finalist – NCAA Woman of the Year
- Member of 2010 NCAA National Championship team
- CoSIDA Academic All-American third team (2013)
- ASC Tournament MVP (2013)
- All-ASC second team (2013)
- CoSIDA Academic All-District First-Team (2013)
- ASC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete Award (2013)
- NCAA Tournament (2010, 2011, 2013)
- ASC Tournament Champions (2011, 2013)
- All-NFCA West Region Second Team (2011)
- All-ASC East honorable mention (2011)
- All-ASC Academic Team (2011, 2012)
- ETBU Top Tiger Award (2013) - top ETBU female athlete
- ETBU Dean’s List
- M.L. Dubach Award winner
- ETBU chemistry scholarship
- ETBU SAAC President