NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Recent Saint Joseph’s field hockey graduate Anna Willocks was chosen as one of two nominees from the Atlantic 10 for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award, the league office announced on Monday afternoon.
Established in 1991, the Woman of the Year Award recognizes graduating student-athletes that have distinguished themselves with their performance on and off the field, standing out among their peers in athletics, academics, service, and leadership. Conferences select up to two nominees to forward to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which selects the top 10 honorees and three finalists from each division. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses the Woman of the Year from among those nine finalists.
Caroline Yarbrough from the Davidson Cross Country/Track and Field team was also chosen from among the dozen nominees submitted by Atlantic 10 member institutions. Willocks and Yarbrough were selected by the senior woman administrators of the 14 member institutions.
“Thank you to the Atlantic 10 for the last four years of competition and for selecting me as one of its nominees for NCAA Woman of the Year; it is an incredible honor,” Willocks said. “Thank you to Saint Joseph’s University and the athletics staff for making my academic and athletic career possible and thank you to my team, the coaches and players, the amazing women I was surrounded and influenced by every day.”
“Caroline and Anna have clearly distinguished themselves throughout their careers,” said Debbie Richardson, the Senior Associate Commissioner and Senior Woman Administrator of the Atlantic 10. “Their consistent commitment to excellence embodies the student-athlete concept and emphasizes academic accomplishment, athletic distinction, service, and leadership. The Atlantic 10 is proud to recognize their achievements as our NCAA Woman of the Year nominees.”
Willocks graduated as the most decorated student-athlete in SJU field hockey history and among the most accomplished student-athletes to ever don the Crimson and Gray in any sport. She is the first three-time NFHCA All-America honoree in program history; after a pair of Second Team honors, she became the second First Team selection in Saint Joseph's field hockey history in 2018.
Hailing from Palmerston North, New Zealand, Willocks is the first student-athlete to be named the Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year three times, having won the award three consecutive seasons from 2015 to 2017. She is a four-time All-Conference First Team selection, and was also named the league's Rookie of the Year in 2015.
A three-time Atlantic 10 regular season champion and two-time Atlantic 10 tournament champion, Willocks set new school records for goals, assists, and points in a career, and was one of four finalists for the prestigious Honda Sport Award as a senior. She earned 13 Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors in her career, was a three-time Philadephia Inquirer Academic All-Area selection, and was tabbed for the NFHCA National Academic Squad in each of her four years on Hawk Hill.
Willocks graduated from Saint Joseph’s in May with a degree in psychology; she was also honored with the Class of 1950 Award, bestowed upon the top senior student-athlete in the graduating class.
Off the field, Willocks showed a dedication to service, volunteering on-campus at the Kinney Center as well as off-campus at Gompers Elementary School and Martin Luther King High School, and taking part in efforts for both the Kisses for Kyle and Cradles to Crayons organizations.
The top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced at the annual award ceremony on October 20.