In Their Words 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year Honorees Write Letters to their Sport

"You challenged me to fight back against adversity and to do so confidently, knowing that I had 28 teammates beside me fearlessly fighting for our common cause."
"The woman I am and the woman I have still yet to become are in large part to the values you have bestowed upon me."
"Thank you for being a space where women can leave behind whatever we’re expected to be, and simply be an athlete."
"Even when I didn’t, you always knew that it was the sport that would help me be the best me."
"You taught me that failing is a part of learning, that grit and courage are a part of a growth mindset, that success doesn’t unfold in a linear fashion, but rather is a journey filled with ups and downs."
"In this exploration of what it means to play you, I began to understand what makes you special. And before I knew it, you began to conquer my heart little by little."
"You have provided me with opportunities in life that would not have been awarded to me otherwise."
"You taught me that talent was not enough and you showed me that success has to be earned from grit, perseverance, sacrifice, and determination."
"As I have gone through life, you have been the consistent friend by my side. You gave me a place of belonging and an opportunity to grow."
"My love of the game drove me to never give up, even when it felt physically impossible. It allowed me to see that I possessed the ability to overcome any obstacle placed in my path."
"It is here where you grew me the most and challenged me everyday. You opened my eyes to change and helped me to realize that a sport is not my identity."
"My hope is that athletes can become comfortable with talking about our stressors and struggles—because we all have them, it’s an inevitable part of life."
"A team is so much more than a group of individuals. They’re a community, a family."
"You taught me that progress will only happen outside my comfort zone, and that effort is the biggest determinant of success."
The teamwork, collaboration, and hard work that are required to be successful in my career are all things that come naturally to me thanks to my time as a student athlete.
"Thank you, basketball for the opportunity to impact lives. Not only did you give me a family bond, an education, an excuse to travel, and lifelong relationships, but you also gave me a platform."
"You got me to learn how to conquer life's challenges with a positive attitude and a true smile on my face. You have lead me to the best experiences of my life."
"You gave me a place to learn and grow, and I know you give that same opportunity to so many girls out there."
"You have made me feel part of a world of female athletes who refuse to accept anything less than equal."
"You gave her opportunities that many people can only dream of."
"You taught me heart and fight. You taught me the importance of never giving up and how to put time and effort into the things that I want to get done."
"You taught me that success is not always defined by the result, but rather the process and effort that got me there."
"You helped me discover that playing golf was a big part of what I do, but it’s not who I am."
"Thank you for giving me an unforgettable four years at the most amazing university, with the best teammates and coaches imaginable."
"This discipline, while forged on the track, seeped into other aspects of my life--my academics, community service, relationship building, and social justice."
"Because of you, I have experienced things I never imagined for myself."
"You, with the support of my village, have certainly molded me into the person that I am today."
"You have taught me true mental toughness and how to be gritty in the most difficult moments."
"You changed my life in such a way that it’s hard to describe your tremendous impact."
"Thank you Swimming for guiding me through life and for all the positive energy you are giving me every day of the year."
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