HADLEY, Mass. – Maddie Pronovost (Brookline, Mass.) and Valerie Urban (Lancaster, Pa.), 2017 graduates of Middlebury College and Connecticut College, respectively, have been nominated for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Award by the NESCAC.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. The award has been given annually since 1991. The 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced on October 22 in Indianapolis, Indiana. More information on the award and a list of previous winners can be found here.
Pronovost graduated cum laude with a degree in neuroscience. A captain of the women’s indoor and outdoor track & field teams, Pronovost was a two-time Dean’s List student and garnered College Scholar honors twice during her career. She also earned NESCAC All-Academic honors over six seasons. Pronovost worked with Middlebury biology professor Dr. Mark Spritzer as a research assistant in the Spritzer Lab where she aided thesis students with their senior work on the effect of testosterone on memory.
Competing in the pentathlon and heptathlon, Pronovost achieved All-America status at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships with a third-place finish in the pentathlon. She also earned All-NESCAC honors in the 100-meter hurdles this spring. Pronovost was an All-New England selection four times in the heptathlon, three times in the pentathlon and once in the 60-meter hurdles during her career. She was the recipient of the Middlebury’s A. Bayard Russ ’66 Memorial Athletic Award that honors the senior who is most outstanding in two intercollegiate sports by best exemplifying the excellence of performance, leadership, tremendous desire and team spirit of A. Bayard Russ ’66.
In the community, Pronovost volunteered at the Champlain Valley Head Start program, helping children age 3-5 develop proficiency in language and mathematics. As the co-chair of the Middlebury Class of 2017 Senior Committee, she helped raise over $40,0000 for 2017.5 Memorial Scholarship Fund, which was created in honor of two Middlebury seniors who passed away during the Class of 2017's four years. She served as a Middview Orientation Leader, mentoring incoming first-year students and spent time working on a Habitat for Humanity project in Pungoteague, Virginia. She also volunteered in the post-acute care unit at Porter Medical Center where she assisted physical and occupational therapists with rehabilitation exercises for elderly patients following surgery, while also assisting in surgeries and post-operative care.
Urban graduated summa cum laude from Connecticut College with a degree in biology. A swimmer, she was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District II At-Large First Team this spring. She was one of 14 Connecticut College seniors recognized as a Winthrop Scholar, the highest academic honor bestowed by the College. The Winthrop Scholar accolade is reserved for students who demonstrate exceptional scholarship and are the first members of their class selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. A three-time NESCAC All-Academic Team selection, Urban was awarded the 2016 Sibyl A. Hausman Prize for excellence in biology offered by the biology department as a junior. She earned Dean’s High Honors recognition every semester and was a two-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American.
A co-captain for the Camels, Urban capped off her career by placing eighth in 1,650-yard freestyle to garner All-America accolades at the 2017 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. She also received honorable mention All-America plaudits with a 14th place showing in the 500-yard freestyle and as the anchor leg of the 800-yard freestyle relay, which finished 15th. As a result of her efforts, Urban helped Connecticut College post its best result at the NCAA Championships with a 10th-place showing. The team's finish also marked the third best performance at an NCAA Championship for any Connecticut College athletic team. She also led the Camels to a program-best, third-place finish at the 2017 NESCAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. She played an integral role in the team's 15th-place finish at the 2016 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, earning All-America honors by swimming the anchor leg for the 800-yard freestyle relay team that finished eighth, while also adding two other honorable mention All-America swims in the 200-yard butterfly and the 1650-yard freestyle.
Outside of the classroom and the pool, Urban has worked as a volunteer at the Backus Hospital and the Schreiber Pediatrics Summer Camp. She has been a member of the Pre-Health Club and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at Connecticut College. Additionally, she has spent time making blankets for Cure4Cam, a non-profit organization for children with cancer.