SJSU's Anderson, Wyoming's Popovici Honored as MW 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year Honorees

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Former Mountain West student-athletes Darcie Anderson (San José State) and Veronica Popovici (Wyoming) are among the more than 120 NCAA female student-athletes who have been selected as 2014 Woman of the Year honorees by their athletic conferences and by independent schools. The conference honorees represent student-athletes from 15 sports across NCAA Divisions I, II and III, including 52 Division I student-athletes.

The NCAA established the Woman of the Year Award in 1991 to celebrate the achievements of women in intercollegiate athletics. Now in its 24th year, the award is unique because it recognizes not only the athletic excellence of outstanding young women, but also their academic achievements, community service and leadership. Each year, the NCAA encourages each member college and university to honor its top one or two graduating female student-athletes by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award. Each conference then selects one or two women to represent the conference and submits those names to the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee. In order to be eligible for the award, a female student-athlete must have completed intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2014 spring season, graduated no later than the end of the summer 2014 term, and achieved a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5.

The Woman of the Year selection committee will select the top 10 honorees in each division from this pool to be recognized. These top 30 honorees will be announced in early September. The selection committee will then choose and announce the top nine finalists (three from each division) at the end of September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will vote from among those nine finalists to determine the 2014 Woman of the Year. The top 30 honorees will be honored, and the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 19.

Anderson, co-captain of the San José State swimming and diving team, was recognized as the 2013-14 Mountain West Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year after graduating summa cum laude in May. The Willows, California, native majored in kinesiology and posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.98, earning a spot on the University’s Dean’s List in 2013 and the President’s Honor Roll in 2012 and 2014. A four-year letterwinner and three-time Western Athletic Conference Academic All-District honoree, Anderson was also chosen as a Capital One Academic All-American® three times during her career. As a competitor, Anderson specialized in the breaststroke and was a 10-time All-WAC award winner her freshman through junior years prior to San José State joining the Mountain West in July 2013. In her lone season competing in the MW, Anderson was a two-time All-MW honoree, earning the distinction in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. She placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.20) and fifth in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.50). Overall, Anderson won a total of 14 races during the 2013-14 season, while also collecting Academic All-MW and MW Scholar-Athlete accolades. In 2012, Anderson qualified to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. Away from the pool and classroom, Anderson’s volunteer activities including coaching and teaching with the Special Olympics, the Silicon Valley Agency Partnership and the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative. She also participated in the San Jose YWCA’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes campaign to raise awareness for rape and sexual abuse victims.

Popovici, a native of Piatra Neamt, Romania, recently completed her senior season with the Wyoming tennis team. A four-time Academic All-MW and MW Scholar-Athlete honoree, she finished the year with a cumulative 4.0 GPA in family and consumer sciences. Her academic achievements in 2013-14 also included selection as a Capital One Academic All-American® and Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete. Popovici, who served as team captain during the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons, earned her fourth consecutive First Team All-Mountain West award in singles after going 20-11 overall as a senior. She was also selected All-Mountain West for the third straight year with doubles partner Dorottya Jonas, and ends her career as the Cowgirl record-holder for most matches won in singles and doubles play. Popovici won the 2011 ITA Mountain Regional Tournament in doubles, and also qualified for the USTA National Indoor Championships in 2011. In addition to her academic and athletic achievements, Popovici was a three-year member of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of Wyoming, and was a two-year volunteer at the Ivinson Memorial Hospital. Popovici also donated her time to Toys for Tots and the Special Olympics.