PAWTUCKET, R.I. - The Little East Conference has named recent Eastern Connecticut State University graduate Haley Knox (Bristol) its 2019 Woman-of-the-Year in recognition of her outstanding achievements on the field, in the classroom and in the community. As the LEC's Woman-of-the-Year recipient, Knox advances to the national ballot for NCAA Woman of the Year consideration.
“I’m very proud of all that Haley accomplished in her four years at Eastern,” said head cross country and track & field coach Kathy Manizza. “Not only is she an outstanding student and athlete, she is a great teammate and a pleasure to be around. We will miss her, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
Knox received the news while completing degree requirements while studying this summer in Florence, Italy.
A mathematics major with a minor in computer science and a concentration in writing, Knox has a near-perfect 3.96 grade point average, having earned all “A”s since the beginning of her sophomore year. She was one of ten undergraduate students nationwide to attend a math research program at Iowa State University in the summer of 2017, later presenting at an international conference and publishing a paper on Ordered Multiplicity Inverse Eigenvalue Problem on Six Vertices. Her honors thesis was selected to be presented at the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics.
A record 585 individuals representing NCAA Divisions I, II and III were nominated to be the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year, including 192 from Division III institutions.
Knox is the second Eastern student-athlete to be named LEC Woman-of-the-Year. The first came in 2011 and was former women’s soccer standout Lauren Hickey, who helped the Warriors to an undefeated regular season in the fall of 2010 en route to NSCAA All-America and NSCAA Scholar All-America recognition.
Knox was named one of 12 recipients of the Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award, which is presented annually to students in Connecticut’s state university system for their academic excellence and community involvement. She is just the seventh-student-athlete from Eastern Connecticut to earn the honor in the award’s 31-year history. At the year-end departmental awards banquet, Knox received the prestigious Bonnie J. Edmondson Female SportsPerson-of-the-Year Award, which recognizes a senior displaying the qualities of teamwork, loyalty, enthusiasm, team spirit, integrity, and community service.
Knox has spoken to numerous individuals and through social media in regards to her bouts with eating disorders. By openly sharing her own story, she opened a dialog with dozens of people who related to her experiences, and were in need of assistance or advice regarding their own disorders.
Athletically, Knox developed into LEC champion and All-New England performer in cross country and track & field. She earned her first all-conference honor in cross country in 2017 as she helped lead Eastern Connecticut to its first Little East title in program history, ending a 17-year run of dominance by Keene State College, and turned in a career-best sixth-place finish to once again earn all-LEC honors this past season.
The track & field program’s record-holder in the 1,000 (indoor), steeplechase (outdoor) and 4x800 relays, Knox claimed her first career individual Little East title at the 2019 outdoor championships, claiming the top spot on the podium in the steeplechase. She earned three additional LEC titles as a member of the indoor and outdoor 4x800 relay, and turned in a career total of nine all-conference performances.
Knox additionally served as an officer in a variety of clubs on campus, overseeing their executive functions and making various campus presentations, including how to formally apply for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant with the National Science Foundation.
In recognition of her excellence in academics and athletics, Knox was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Google Cloud Academic All-District Team. She was admitted as a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma, Kappa Mu Epsilon and Omicron Delta Kappa honors societies in recognition of her academic, athletic and leadership prowess.
Knox has already secured full-time employment; she will begin working in August at Cigna Healthcare, where she spent last summer interning as a software engineer.
The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will next choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division. It will then 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 awards ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.
Among the most prestigious of NCAA honors, 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. Conference Woman of the Year recipients were first recognized in 2006 following a change in the selection process, which determined winners state from 1991-2005.