Panther diving standout advances to national ballot
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Recent Plymouth State University graduate Casey Allaire (Mattapoisett, Mass.) has been selected as the Little East Conference (LEC) Woman of the Year and will appear on the national ballot for 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year.
Arguably the top diver in the 35-year history of the program, Allaire becomes the second Panther in three years to receive the conference honor.
Among the most prestigious of NCAA awards, the Woman of the Year Award was established in 1991 to honor graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership throughout their careers.
Allaire's dominance on the diving board spanned the entirety of her four-year career. She was named the LEC Diver of the Year each of the last three seasons after claiming LEC Rookie Diver of the Year honors as a freshman in 2016-17. She is one of just two athletes in the history of the conference to claim a major swimming & diving award all four years.
Allaire capped her outstanding career by sweeping the diving events at the 2020 LEC Championships in February. She graduates with four LEC titles, four New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) titles and four school records. She finished first or second in both 1-meter and 3-meter diving at the LEC and NEISDA championships 14-of-16 times, taking third the other two occasions, and won every regular season event over the last three seasons.
Allaire was equally successful in the classroom after graduating summa cum laude in May with a near perfect GPA and a degree in Elementary Education. Named to the LEC Winter All-Academic Team in each of her three years of eligibility, Allaire was also a three-time member of the NEISDA Fall and Spring All-Academic Teams and was named to PSU's President's List in all eight semesters.
Allaire also spent ample time giving back to the community, particularly through her involvement with Plymouth State's chapter of Best Buddies, described on its website as "the world's largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)." She served as the club's treasurer for three years, participated in the Best Buddies Friendship Walk annually and was tabbed with the Most Money Raised by a Student honor in 2017-18. Allaire also organized the team's service participation in the Journey to the North Pole, an annual fundraiser for The Believe in Books Literacy Foundation, and coached swimming for the Pemi-Baker River Rats as part of the New Hampshire Special Olympics.
Former women's lacrosse standout Megan Tingley was the first PSU student-athlete to be named LEC Woman of the Year in 2018. Additionally, women's soccer Hall of Famers Debra Biche (1992) and Traci Walker (1991) were recognized as Woman of the Year honorees for the state of New Hampshire under the award's previous format, which was changed following the 2004-05 academic year.
ABOUT THE NCAA WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
The NCAA Woman of the Year program was established in 1991 and honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions. To be eligible, a nominee must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport and must have earned her undergraduate degree by Summer 2020 (or demonstrate that she would have earned her degree if not for the COVID-19 pandemic).
Eligible female student-athletes are nominated by their member schools. Each conference office then reviewed the nominations from its core member schools (and sponsored schools) and submitted its conference nominee(s) to the NCAA. All nominees who compete in a sport that is not sponsored by their school's primary conference, as well as associate conference nominees and independent nominees, are sent to a separate pool to be considered by a committee. Then, the NCAA Woman of the Year committee identifies the Top 30 – ten from each division – before selecting three finalists from each division. The Committee on Women's Athletics then selects the winner from the nine finalists.
All 30 Woman of the Year honorees will be recognized, and the 2020 Woman of the Year announced, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 605 nominees (program record)
- This marks the 30th year of the award
- Breakdown of nominees by NCAA division:
- DI: 259
- DII: 126
- DIII: 220
- Multisport nominees: 128
– 30 –