Benedictine University's Holly Haberkorn has been named the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Woman of the Year for the 2016-17 academic year, as chosen by the league's Senior Woman Administrators Standing Committee.
"Four years ago I started my journey at Benedictine University and little did I know just how rewarding of a journey it would be," Haberkorn said. "During our 2016 spring trip to Florida, I stumbled upon a quote that has become my life's motto. 'She believed she could so she did.' This quote is what has molded me this past year and a half. Four years ago I was the girl who was surprised to be handed the game ball at the University of Chicago Regional against a ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater team and today I am proud to say I am the girl who expects to get the ball in the third game of the Emory University Super Regional knowing our season is on the line.
"Luckily while attending Benedictine, I had the opportunity to remain very involved in the parish I grew up in. My role at my church changed from a passive congregation member to a passionate parish leader. Being a part of the softball program at Benedictine as well as remaining in close contact with my parish has helped transform me from a timid, apprehensive young girl to a confident, courageous leader."
The Westchester, Illinois native was a four-year member of the Eagles softball team that won three NACC tournament titles and a regular season title from the 2014-17 seasons during her career. The 2016 squad advanced to the Super Regional Round of the NCAA Division III Championship, while the team also earned NCAA tournament berths her freshman and senior seasons.
The three-time All-NACC first team selection was also named the NACC Pitcher of the Year in 2017. She was named to the NACC All-Freshman Team her rookie year.
She was also honored as a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American third team selection this year and was a three-time NFCA All-Region player from 2015-17. Additionally, she earned third-team College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America honors.
"I am so excited and so proud of Holly," said Benedictine Head Softball Coach and Associate Director of Athletics Kate Heidkamp. "The progression she has made athletically the past four seasons has been tremendous and she is a rock star in the classroom. I couldn't think of anyone more deserving than her."
Haberkorn will graduate in August with a degree in exercise and sports studies as she accumulated a 3.83 GPA and was a four-time NACC scholar-athlete.
She volunteered in a number of community service projects at the Divine Providence Parish as well as service days with her team during her career.
Each of the NACC's 12 members may nominate one female student-athlete for the annual award. The SWASC uses a combination of the following criteria in the selection of the award -- athletic excellence, academic achievement, service and leadership and personal statement -- and moves the award winner forward as the NACC's honoree for the NCAA's Woman of the Year award.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service, and leadership.
From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three nominees from each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, and the Top 30 honorees celebrated, at the annual award ceremony October 22 in Indianapolis.
NACC Woman of the Year Award Recipients By Year:
2016-17: Holly Haberkorn, Benedictine
2015-16: Nicci Bermudes, Aurora
2014-15: Loretta Johnson, Aurora
2013-14: Jenee Lange, Aurora
2012-13: Torey DeLozier, Maranatha
2011-12: Carol Cayo, MSOE
2010-11: Cait Hartman, Aurora
2009-10: KC Blahnik, Lakeland
2008-09: Megan Scheele, Edgewood
2007-08: Catherine Chappell, MSOE
2006-07: Emily Henrich, Wisconsin Lutheran