Big South Announces Nominees for 2012 Woman of the Year Award


CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( - The Big South Conference announced today the official nominees for the Conference's Woman of the Year award for 2011-12, with seven student-athletes from six member institutions comprising this year's candidates.  The Conference's Woman of the Year award is sponsored by Big South Corporate Partner Musco Sports Lighting.

The Big South's Woman of the Year Selection Committee will determine two finalists, which will be announced next week, and the overall winner will be announced and presented her award at the Big South's Awards & Hall of Fame Dinner on Thursday, May 31 in Hilton Head, S.C.  The Big South Woman of the Year winner is nominated as a candidate for the national NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

This year's nominees are Charleston Southern softball player Kristin Kelleher (Springfield, Va.), High Point cross country/track athlete Kelsey Fraser (Lockport, N.Y.), Presbyterian College tennis player Paige Oelke (Athens, Ga.), UNC Asheville track & field athlete Emily Pineda (Boone, N.C.), VMI track & field athlete Jennifer Sing (Franklin, Va.), VMI track & field athlete Caroline Wortham (Richmond, Va.) and Winthrop soccer player Courtney Durbin (Perrysburg, Ohio).

Kelleher, a 3.48 student in criminal justice, spent the past two years as a member of Charleston Southern's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).  She has volunteered the last three years in the community on several beach sweeps and river sweeps, as well as participating with Habitat for Humanity in 2010.  Kelleher has been a seven-time CSU Scholar-Athlete honoree and was an Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society inductee in the Spring of 2011.

Fraser, a 3.86 student in global trade, volunteered as a mentor and reading aid at a local elementary school, and has served as an academic tutor at High Point as well as at a local church.  The Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year in Women's Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track, Fraser has also been involved with the Greensboro Welfare Reform Project and has served as a camp counselor.  Fraser has been named a Millis Scholar-Athlete all four years and is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Oelke, a 3.39 student in psychology, served on Presbyterian's SAAC all four years of her career.  She has also been involved with various charitable drives such as Soap for Souls, as well as volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House, Meals on Wheels and a youth center in Laurens, S.C.  Oelke was team captain the last three years, was named to the President's List this past fall and is a member of the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society.

Pineda, a 3.48 student in health & wellness promotions, immersed herself in various youth causes while at Asheville, such as Kids at Work, which offers healthy cooking classes for children at risk of dropout, and 21st Century Scholars, which works with at-risk middle school students in physical activity.  She has also volunteered at a childhood obesity prevention camp.  Pineda has served as team captain the last three years, has been a Dean's List student all four years as well as a member of the Athletic Director's 3.0 Club.

Sing, a 3.52 student in mechanical engineering with aerospace engineering concentration, volunteered with Special Olympics, the Rockbridge SPCA in addition to VMI's Recycling Club where she worked with the Sustainability Coordinator to promote and plan campus events.  A member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Sing has been an academic mentor and a Regimental S-2 Lieutenant in Corps of Cadets, and has received VMI's Academic Merit award (3.5 cumulative GPA or better) all four years.

Wortham, a 3.91 student in biology, made mission trips to Haiti twice and Honduras once where she worked with orphanages in both countries.  She volunteered with the Midwives for Haiti and was involved in the VMI Engineers Without Borders Chapter.  Wortham has also been involved with VMI's Recycling Club and was a Regimental S-2 Staff in Corps of Cadets where she was a captain.  She also served as President of the VMI Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society.

Durbin, a 3.54 student in nutrition science, was involved with Winthrop's SAAC all four years, serving as Secretary during her sophomore season and co-President as a junior and senior.  She has participated in various charitable causes, including Samaritan's Feet and Soap for Souls, as well as being active in the local Boys and Girls Club, soccer clinics and Habitat for Humanity.  A two-time team captain, Durbin is a Presidential Scholarship Recipient and a finalist for an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.