WALTHAM, Mass. – Recent Brandeis University graduate Emily Bryson of Quincy, Massachusetts, has been selected as one of two nominees from the University Athletic Association (UAA) for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award.
"Emily has been a joy to coach," said track and cross country coach Sinead Evans. "She left no stone unturned in her efforts to improve and become a national champion. Her resilience has been as impressive as her success, and she grew so much as a leader on and off the track. I can't think of a better cap to her career than being named the UAA's NCAA Woman of the Year."
Bryson is one of the most decorated women's cross country and track and field athletes in Brandeis program history. She finished her career as a nine-time All-American – tied for fourth-most in program history – and a four-time national champion – tied for second-most in program history.
Bryson was a four-time All-American in cross country, finishing fifth in Division III in 2018, becoming just the 14th Division III woman to earn All-America status all four years. She won four All-America honors during the indoor track and field season, including national titles in the 3,000-meter run as a junior and in the distance medley relay and mile run as a senior. Bryson capped her career with a national crown in the 1,500-meter run in her final collegiate race during the outdoor track and field season.
Bryson helped her team to four top-20 finishes at NCAA Championships, including sixth place in cross country in 2018 and seventh in indoor track and field in 2019.
In the UAA, Bryson was a 13-time champion in seven different events. She earned conference Rookie of the Year and Runner of the Year at the cross country championships in 2015, the first woman in conference history to win the title as a freshman. As a senior, Bryson was named the most outstanding performer at the 2019 Indoor Track and Field Championships, when she won the mile, 3,000-meter run and anchored the winning distance medley relay. Bryson graduates with six school records: 800-meters, 1,500-meters, mile run, 3,000-meters, 3,200-meter relay and distance medley relay.
Outside of track and field, Bryson finished her academic career with a 3.46 GPA and degrees in Health: Science, Society and Policy and biology with a minor in French and Francophone Studies. She earned eight Academic All-UAA selections, five United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic awards and was named to the Dean's List at Brandeis four times.
Bryson was also active in community service, volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mass Bay and the Waltham Group – Brandeis's campus-wide service organization – working with SPECTRUM and children with disabilities. Bryson also served internships with the ELGAN-ECHO Research Study and the Fetal Heart and Brain Project at Boston Children's Hospital.
Bryson is Brandeis's first conference NCAA Woman of the Year winner since the NCAA started honoring someone from each conference. She shares this year's UAA award with Cassandra Laios from Case Western Reserve University.
A record 585 female college athletes were nominated by NCAA member schools for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
The nominees competed in 23 different sports across all three NCAA divisions, including 262 nominees from Division I, 131 from Division II and 192 from Division III. Multisport student-athletes account for 144 of the nominees.
Next, conferences will select up to two nominees each from the pool of school nominees. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.
The selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.