Recent Kenyon College graduate Leah Sack (Wynnewood,
PA/Lower Merion) has been selected as the recipient of the
2013 North Coast Athletic Conference Pam Smith Award.
Sack, who was a four-year member of the Ladies' women's lacrosse team, served as the team captain in both her junior and senior seasons. A four-time All-NCAC selection, she was named the 2013 NCAC Women's Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 75 assists and netting 18 goals to finish second in the NCAC with 93 points. Sack, who helped guide the Ladies to their first conference championship in program history in 2013, is now the NCAC and Kenyon record-holder in three separate assist categories, including assists in a season (75), assists in a career (176) and assists in a game (9). Sack was also a member of the only NCAC women's lacrosse team to win an NCAA tournament game when the Ladies knocked off conference-foe Wooster, 19-14, in the opening-round of the 2010 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament. In addition, Sack saw her collegiate lacrosse career come to a close by participating in the 2013 Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) North-South All-Star Game.
In the classroom, she graduated cum laude with a 3.65 grade-point-average as an honors psychology major. Sack, who earned Kenyon's highest honors in as a psychology student, was a member of a pair of psychology honors societies, including Sigma Xi and Psi Chi. Following voting from members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), Sack became the first KC women's lacrosse player to be named to the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Team. Sack, who was also a four-year member on Kenyon's Merit List, was also the recipient of Kenyon's Elissa B. Carleton Scholarship.
In addition to her many athletic and academic accomplishments, Sack also devoted a great deal of her time to community service, highlighted by a service trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2011, where she helped to promote the education and awareness of HIV/AIDS for young immigrant women in the extremely poverty stricken neighborhood of Villa 31. She also volunteered at the New Directions Domestic Abuse Shelter of Knox County where she supervised and counseled children while their mothers participated in support groups at the shelter. In addition to her volunteer duties at the shelter, Sack also coordinated fundraising efforts to successfully raise money for the shelter's annual benefit dinner. In addition, she helped expose girls of the greater Knox County area to sports which they were unfamiliar with by running mini lacrosse clinics to promote the mission of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport.
Sack was one of five outstanding nominees considered by the selection committee. The candidates were:
- Liz Blyth, Golf, Allegheny College
- Daryl Ford, Basketball, Allegheny College
- Katie Hunt, Swimming & Diving and Track & Field, The College of Wooster
- Ariel Pund, Volleyball, Hiram College
The NCAC Woman of the Year Award commemorates former Wittenberg women’s basketball Head Coach and Associate Director of Athletics Pam Smith, who had a profound impact upon the athletes she coached and the students she taught over an illustrious career that spanned more than two decades. She was the architect of the women’s basketball program with the most wins and highest winning percentage in NCAC history through 2007. A 1999 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, Smith earned seven NCAC Coach of the Year awards and compiled a 401-170 record after taking the reins of a struggling program prior to the 1986-87 season. She led the Tigers to eight NCAA Division III tournament appearances, twelve 20-win seasons, and 11 NCAC regular season championships.
As the NCAC winner, Sack will be nominated, along with Allegheny's Daryl Ford, for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership. Each NCAA conference, and independent institutions, can nominate one distinguished female student-athlete for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will meet in August to select the top 10 winners in each division. In September, the selection committee will then evaluate the 30 honorees and choose the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the Woman of the Year. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis October 20, 2013.