Clark Atlanta University women’s cross country and track and field student-athlete, Nekesha Whitaker, was named one of the top 30 honorees for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, CAU recently announced.

“Words cannot express how truly honored I am to even be considered for such a prestigious honor, and I am very thankful for my school, the SIAC and the NCAA on my selection,” said Whitaker.

Whitaker, a two-time SIAC women’s cross country champion and four-time SIAC All-Academic and scholar-athlete, was also named this year’s recipient of the 2013 Peach of an Athlete Top Female Athlete Award for her commitment to community, athletic and academic excellence.

While establishing herself as a leader among her peers, Whitaker served three years as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC,) and recently completed her term as vice-president. A 2013 magna cum laude Clark Atlanta graduate in criminal justice, Whitaker is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work.

“She has been a phenomenal athlete and ambassador for CAU and this is a testament to her dedication and hardwork during her four years as a student-athlete,” said CAU Cross Country and Track and Field Head Coach Pamela Page.

The top 30 honorees reflect the pillars of the Woman of the Year award, with outstanding achievements in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. Cumulatively, the top 30 earned a 3.79 grade-point average with nearly 50 Academic All-America honors, 12 national championships (individual and team) and more than 80 All-America honors. They also volunteered for 365 organizations during their collegiate careers while many have served as team captains and held various leadership positions.

Ten women from each of the three divisions (Division I, II and III) make up the Top 30, spanning various NCAA sports. Whitaker was chosen as the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) nominee and is the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) representative.

In September, three finalists from each division among this pool of honorees will be selected to form the nine finalists for the award. The 2013 Woman of the Year will be announced at an annual ceremony in Indianapolis that will honor all 30 honorees on October 20.

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