July 26, 2017

NEC’s Granata and Colby-Sawyer’s Quaye Selected NAC Women of the Year

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) is pleased to announce that Allison Granata (Norwalk, Conn.) of New England College and Rachel Quaye (Westminster, Mass.) of Colby-Sawyer College have been selected as the NAC Women of the Year in a vote of the league's Athletics Directors and Senior Woman Administrators.

Granata, a dual-sport standout in women's cross country and women's lacrosse for the Pilgrims, and Quaye, an outstanding three-sport athlete in women’s soccer and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field for the Chargers, will be presented their awards at a to-be-determined date during the 2017-18 academic year. The NAC award winners have been nominated as the conference honorees for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award.

“We truly had a strong pool of nominees this year and it was no surprise that our membership selected Allison and Rachel as the NAC Women of the Year recipients,” said NAC Commissioner Marcella Zalot. “Impressively, the multi-sport competitors have had successful careers as athletes, excelled as students and have had positive impacts as campus community members. We are proud to have both Allison and Rachel move forward as exceptional nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.”

The NAC Woman of the Year award is modeled after the NCAA's Woman of the Year program, which honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.

Quaye and Granata emerged out of a pool of nine institutional nominees from the NAC’s member schools to become two of 145 conference nominees across the three NCAA divisions. To view the complete list of NAC Woman of the Year nominees for 2016-17, please click HERE. Fifty-three of this year’s NCAA nominees competed in Division III, while only 24 were two-sport athletes and 22 were three-sport athletes. The NCAA will release all of the conference nominees on Tuesday, August 1, at 2:00 p.m.

With the 145 conference nominees, the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee will next select the top 10 honorees in each division. These top 30 honorees will be announced in early September. The selection committee will then choose and announce the top nine finalists, three from each division, at the end of September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will vote from amongst those nine finalists to determine the 2017 Woman of the Year who will be named at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis.

Allison Granata, New England College

Granata flourished as both a student and an athlete at New England College. She graduated with a dual degree in Kinesiology and Business Administration. She became the first student-athlete in NEC history to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America® honors after earning first-team CoSIDA All-District™ accolades.

At commencement, Granata was awarded the Priscilla C. Danforth Award, which has been given to a graduating female senior for outstanding athletic ability and sportsmanship since 1975.

“Everyone in NEC Athletics is so proud of Allison. She has been the consummate student-athlete for the past four years and has truly represented our department with pride, integrity and respect,” said Lou Izzi, the Director of Athletics at NEC. “Allison's contributions and accomplishments are incredible: the highest GPA in our senior athlete class, an all-conference cross country runner, the women's lacrosse player of the year, an academic All-American, and now a NAC Woman of the Year. This honor is so well-deserved and a wonderful way for Allison to conclude her illustrious career as an NEC student-athlete.”

In addition to her successes in the classroom, Granata wrapped up an outstanding career on the lacrosse field as well. She tallied 85 points and scored 71 goals as a senior to become NEC's all-time leader in both goals (206) and points (263). She also graduates with 210 draw controls, 130 caused turnovers, and 310 ground balls. In cross country, she was a three-time NAC All-Conference selection.

Granata participated in a number of extra-curricular activities over the course of her career. She was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), an active participant in NEC's One Love event, and as a senior, organized an “Out of the Darkness” walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

This past winter Granata was named the NEC head men’s and women’s cross country coach and she will begin her tenure this fall.

Rachel Quaye, Colby-Sawyer College

Quaye, who earned her third-straight Charger Award for Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year, the Wynne Jesser McGrew Senior Scholar-Athlete Award and the inaugural Outstanding Female Senior Athlete Award, is now the second Charger to be honored as a NAC Woman of the Year after Cailin Bullett ’13 (Millbury, Mass.) earned the award in 2013.  

“Rachel has been universally praised, both on and off campus, as a truly outstanding student-athlete,” said Athletic Director Bill Foti. “She has competed with passion and integrity at all times. Her career will serve as an inspiration for all future Chargers.”

“Rachel has been an outstanding role model for all of our student-athletes at Colby-Sawyer,” said Athletic Director George Martin. “She excelled in three sports throughout the year, was dedicated to her academic endeavors, and found ways to make a difference on our campus and in our community. Being honored as a NAC Woman of the Year is the ultimate reward for all her hard work and dedication.” 

Rachel has been a student-athlete since her first day on campus and has not stopped competing since then. She has positively impacted the soccer and track & field programs at Colby-Sawyer.”

In track and field, Quaye graduates as the record holder in the 60m hurdles, 4x200m relay, indoor shot put, the pentathlon and the heptathlon. She has collected numerous All-New England, All-ECAC, and conference weekly awards throughout her career. She helped lead the outdoor track & field team to a pair of NAC Championships in the past two seasons and was named the 2016 NAC Field Athlete of the Year. She earned eight All-NAC accolades, including three wins in the javelin, in the three years the conference sponsored a championship.

“Rachel is an athlete with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and passion for her sports,” said track and field head coach Lyndsay Ostler. “Rachel has proven to be the definition of ‘rising to the occasion.’ When we arrived at championships, Rachel could always be counted on to place higher than her seed, earning significant post-season honors and important team points.”

On the soccer field, Quaye was equally impressive as one of this past year’s team captains. She ranks seventh in career points with 62, is tied for seventh in career goals with 25, and is in 11th in career assists with 12. Over the course of her career, Quaye was named to the All-NAC First Team three times, twice to the All-NAC Sportsmanship Team, and was an NSCAA All-New England Region honoree. Quaye was an impact player that helped lead the Chargers to their first, second, third, and fourth championship titles.

"Rachel is a consummate student-athlete that embraces the challenges in the classroom and on the field with equal intensity,” said women’s soccer head coach Meghan Medbery. “Rachel’s sportsmanship and presence on our team always stood out to me. She would cheer for the excellence displayed by both teams no matter the depth of the rivalry. I am very proud of her for earning this honor."

Outside of the soccer field and track, Quaye worked as a tutor in the Student Learning Collaborative, helping other students with their academics. She set her own high standards in the classroom and earned four NAC All-Academic honors by excelling with at least a 3.5 GPA during both her soccer and track & field seasons. She was named to the Dean's list every semester since she arrived on campus and received the Susan C. Tobey award in business last year. In addition, she is a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society. Quaye also served as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Executive Board in her role as Secretary of the group.