By Adam Schabel
Former Cleveland State volleyball player Grace Kauth has been named a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. She was nominated for the award by CSU.
According to the NCAA, the award is meant to honor leadership, excellence in athletics and academics, and community service of female college athletes from all three divisions (I, II and III) who are graduating. To be eligible to receive the award, a nominee must meet certain criteria. First, a nominee must have earned a varsity letter in a sport sponsored by the NCAA. Second, in her primary sport, a nominee must have completed eligibility. Lastly, by the summer of 2017, a nominee must have earned her undergraduate degree.
The selection process is extensive, which makes this nomination even more impressive. According to the NCAA, if the criteria mentioned above is met, nominations from member schools — and sponsored sports — are reviewed by every conference office. The conference nominee or nominees are then submitted to the NCAA. The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee selects the top 30 – 10 from each division and then three finalists from each division, according to NCAA.org. The winner is then chosen from the top nine by the selection committee. All 30 nominees will be recognized in addition to the winner being announced at an awards dinner on Sunday, October 22. A total of 544 women — 229 from Division I — were nominated for the award for the 2016-17 season.
Kauth earned the nomination because of her efforts in compiling an impressive resume while attending CSU. The Vandalia, Ohio native was a standout athlete and when she was not on the court she was hitting the books and getting involved with school organizations.
Kauth graduated from CSU in May of 2017 with a Marketing degree and a cumulative GPA of 3.89. She was also on the Dean’s List at CSU every semester she was eligible.
Kauth was chosen as the Horizon League Student-Athlete of the Fall during her junior and senior years. She was also named a Horizon League Fall Academic Team honoree three times. In addition, Kauth was named a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award in the fall of 2016 and was one of 30 candidates from across the country. During the 2016-17 school year, Kauth was the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) at Cleveland State. She was also the Social Media Chair of SAAC during the 2015-16 school year.
While on the court, Kauth was a force to be reckoned with. During her junior and senior years, the CSU volleyball team won back-to-back Horizon League Regular Season and Tournament Championships. These accomplishments lead to head coach Chuck Voss taking the crown as the winningest coach in the history of the program.
The two-year team captain was a Horizon League honoree for four straight years and was named to the Horizon League First Team during her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. In addition, she was named to the All-Freshman team during her first season. During her senior season, Kauth earned the Offensive Player and Horizon League Player of the Year honors. She is just the fourth Viking ever to be honored with the Player of the Year title.
Kauth compiled 1,457 kills which is 3rd place in CSU history and 4th all-time in digs with 1,240. According to CSU, she is the only Viking to reach top-five status in the Cleveland State record book in career digs and kills. In five other categories, Kauth ranks in the top-10 at CSU.