September 26, 2003

ERIKA PROKO NAMED NCAA WOMAN OF THE YEAR FINALIST

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- On Friday afternoon, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced the 10 finalists for the 13th annual NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The list of 10 includes Erika Proko, a 2003 Washington and Lee graduate and former member of the University's women's tennis team.

The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics and community leadership, and have completed their collegiate athletics eligibility.

Proko, who has already been tabbed the NCAA Woman of the Year for Virginia, is among three honorees from Division III schools. The list also includes five Division I athletes and two Division two athletes.

The finalists were selected by a committee comprised of athletics administrators from NCAA member colleges and universities from more than 340 entries. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the 2003 NCAA Woman of the Year from among the 10 finalists. The national winner will be announced at an awards dinner November 1, at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis, Ind.

Proko graduated from W&L with a 3.685 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in neuroscience. This spring, she was awarded one of 58 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships for use while attending medical school at the University of North Carolina.

A six-time All-American and the 2003 ODAC Player of the Year, Proko helped lead the Generals' women's tennis team to a school-record 24 wins and runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament this spring. An All-American in both singles and doubles in 2003, Proko graduated from W&L with a 92-20 mark in singles and 104-27 in doubles. The program's all-time leader in doubles wins, she teamed with Lindsay Hagerman to post a single-season school-record 30 wins and form the nation's top-ranked doubles duo. She reached the semifinals in both singles and doubles at the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

Proko is a three-time Verizon Academic All-District selection who earned First Team Academic All-State honors from the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association this spring. She has been involved with the ODAC and NCAA as a member of both organizations' Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC).

The 10 finalists for the 2003 NCAA Woman of the Year Award are listed below:

Elia Burrill, Fencing, United States Air Force Academy
Susan Churchwell, Softball, University of California-Davis
Victoria Courmes, Tennis, Barry University
Joanna Hingle, Rowing, Duke University
Melissa Jones, Volleyball, Basketball, Track & Field, Monmouth (Ill.) College
Tiffany Kyser, Basketball, IUPUI
Kara Lawson, Basketball, University of Tennessee
Erika Proko, Tennis, Washington and Lee University
Ashley Jo Rowatt, Swimming & Diving, Kenyon College
Kristin Sterner, Gymnastics, University of Alabama

-- GENERALS --