Former West Virginia University rifle standout Ginny Thrasher has been selected as one of the top-30 nominees for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, announced by the NCAA on Tuesday.
The Springfield, Virginia, native is the first-ever WVU student-athlete to be selected as a top-30 honoree since the award's inception in 1991. She also is the first rifle athlete to land on the prestigious list.
From an original group of 585 school nominees, a program record, conferences and an independent selection committee chose 151 student-athletes to continue their candidacy for the award, which recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
The top 30-nominees, 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions, competed in 13 different sports, including, for the first time, equestrian and rifle. Thrasher joins Annie Pankowski (Wisconsin women's ice hockey) and Franziska Weidner (Hawaii swimming and diving) as the only nominees to advance in the selection process not sponsored by their school's core conference.
Thrasher capped a brilliant, four-year Mountaineer career with three All-America first team honors in 2018-19, bringing her career All-America count to 12. The 2019 Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Shooter of the Year and Outstanding Senior, she won the air rifle title at the 2019 GARC Championships, her third consecutive win and fifth conference title. She also finished fifth in smallbore at the 2019 NCAA Rifle Championships.
Thrasher graduated in May with a degree in biomedical engineering. A 2018 Rhodes Scholarship finalist, she was named to the 2019 WVU Order of Augusta and was tabbed a 2019 WVU Outstanding Senior. She received the 2019 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award and was named to the Academic All-Big 12 At-Large First Team and the CRCA All-Academic Team. Thrasher, a 2016 Olympic Gold medalist (women's air rifle), also was a member of the President's and Dean's Lists, as well as the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll.
In 2018-19, Thrasher led the Mountaineers to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Rifle Championships. WVU won its 10th consecutive GARC Championships title and sixth consecutive conference regular-season title. The Mountaineers finished the year at 13-0 (8-0 GARC) and ranked No. 2 nationally.
In early October, the selection committee will determine the top-three honorees from each division from the top 30 and announce the nine finalists. From there, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will announce the winner of the award at the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year Awards Dinner. Thrasher and the rest of the top-30 women will be guests of honor at the ceremony held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on Oct. 20.