NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Bethany College Track and Field standout Paige Prato has recently been selected by the Presidents' Athletic Conference to represent the PAC for this year's National Collegiate Athletic Association Woman of the Year Award.
"The NCAA Woman of the Year program annually honors the 'Best of the Best' in college athletics, and Paige Prato certainly qualifies," PAC Commissioner Joe Onderko said. "Her athletic success as a PAC track and field individual champion, coupled with her outstanding academic accomplishments and her extensive resume of campus leadership and community service activities, make her an ideal choice to represent the Presidents' Athletic Conference in this prestigious national award program."
The Woman of the Year Award honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.
Upon receiving nominations from its member institutions, each conference was responsible for assessing each nominee's eligibility and subsequently selecting a conference nominee based on collective achievements.
Prato was selected by Bethany College, and subsequently the PAC, for her terrific achievements both on and off the track. During her four-year athletic career, Prato captured five conference championships. broke four Bison records, and qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships on three different occasions.
She was a two-time (2012, 2014) 100 meter outdoor champion, a two-time member of the 400 relay championship team (2013, 2014), and also captured the 60 meter PAC Indoor title, while breaking the conference record with an 8.01 in 2014.
She currently holds the Bethany records in the 100 meter (12.45) and 200 meter (25.59), and is a member of the 400 relay team that also holds a school mark (49.84). She also holds the Bison indoor record for the 60 meter dash (8.01).
Off the field, Prato was just as accomplished, as she was once named a Capital One First-Team Academic All-District selection (2013), a five-time PAC academic honor roll recipient, and was named to a number of honorary fraternities including, Psi Chi (Psychology), Gamma Sigma Alpha (National Greek Honor) and Gamma Sigma Kappa (Bethany Honor Society). Recently, Prato was also accepted into Ohio University's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.
Along with those honors, Prato was a dedicated servant of both the college and the surrounding community, participating in numerous fundraisers for breast cancer awareness as well participating in the Best Buddies program, created for children with disabilities. She also volunteered her time for fundraisers for both local animal shelters as well as women's shelters.
"Paige epitomizes what it means to be a well-rounded individual," Senior Women's Administrator Jan Forsty said. "We can't imagine an athlete more deserving of being nominated for an award like this. Not only her athletic excellence, but her academics and willingness to serve the community around her, made her someone that everyone on Bethany's campus should admire."
Prato joins a total of 446 female student athletes from all over the country that have been nominated for the award. Of the nominees, 205 competed in Division I, 75 competed in Division II, and 166 competed in Division III athletics.
The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA) selection committee will choose the top 10 honorees in each division. From those 30 candidates, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year. The top 30 honorees will be honored, and the 2014
NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 19.