LECOM is proud to announce that first-year medical student Kristin Day has been named the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year (WOTY) at a ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 18. The WOTY Award is presented to a female student-athlete based on academic achievement, excellence in athletics, community service and leadership.
Day, a national champion diver, certainly exemplifies those qualities.
Now a member of the Erie campus’ medical Class of 2019, she is attending LECOM on a post-graduate scholarship from the NCAA. She began her studies at LECOM with the goal of becoming an orthopedic physician in central Pennsylvania, near her hometown of Reynoldsville. Day was inspired to become an orthopedic physician by a surgeon who treated her as a child.
“When I was younger, I was a gymnast with elbow issues,” said Day. “My orthopedic surgeon truly helped me to return to health, and that event inspired me to look into this field.”
Having graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Day is the first student-athlete from a Pennsylvania school in the award’s 25-year history to win the award. At Clarion she majored in chemistry, with a focus in biochemistry.
Day finished her undergraduate career with a 4.0 GPA while completing 153 credits. Her work in the classroom earned her back-to-back Capital One Division II Academic All-American honors.
On the diving board, Day made a name for herself as one of the most decorated divers to come out of Clarion, and perhaps one of the best that ever competed in the NCAA championships.
Day is a three-time NCAA national champion, winning the 1-meter dive in 2014 and 2015, and the 3-meter dive in 2015 with an NCAA-record 539.35 points.
She was an eight-time All-American during her career at Clarion, the 2014 Division II Diver of the year, as selected by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.
In 2014, Day was the recipient of the Elite 89 Award for the college athlete competing at an NCAA championship with the highest GPA.
In 2015, she was presented the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference’s Pete Nevins Award for Scholar Athlete of the year, and also earned Clarion’s Undergraduate Award for Achievement in Organic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry.
Day is also an accomplished gymnast, having won a gold medal on the trampoline while competing for the United States at the Loule Cup in Portugal in 2011.
Day’s commitment to community service is just as great as her commitment to the classroom and diving board, as well.
Her family launched an annual ATV Ride for Research event, with the objective of raising funds for cancer research and other diseases, including Alzheimer’s and juvenile diabetes. Day serves as the CFO for the event, which has raised a total of $60,000 since its inception.
She served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for two years at Clarion, helping to raise money for a local cancer treatment center.
Day is the fourth Division II student-athlete to receive WOTY honors since the inaugural award was presented in 1991.
To be nominated for the award, the nominee must have completed her intercollegiate sport eligibility by the end of the 2014-15 season, and received her undergraduate degree no later than the summer 2015 term.
The nominee must also have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
Schools nominated a total of 480 student-athletes for this year’s award.
Those 480 nominees were reduced to 30 honorees, 10 from each of the NCAA’s three divisions. From there, nine finalists were selected, three from each division.
In January of 2016, Day will honored by the NCAA as a Today’s Top 10 Award winner. The award is given to former student athletes for their success on the field and in the classroom and in the community.