News: Sophia Proano NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist

Sophia Proano

Sophia Proano, a Former CCU Student, Named NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist

Former Colorado Christian volleyball student-athlete Sophia Proano has been named a Top 30 finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.

The NCAA Woman of the Year program honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service, and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions. To be eligible, a nominee must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport, must have completed eligibility in her primary sport, and must have earned her undergraduate degree by Summer 2018.

Proano was one of 581 nominees for the nationwide honor. The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee identifies the Top 30 — 10 from each NCAA division — and from there selects three finalists from each division. The Committee on Women's Athletics then selects the winner from the nine finalists. All 30 Woman of the Year honorees will be recognized, and the 2018 Woman of the Year announced, at an awards dinner in Indianapolis Oct. 28.

In the process of being named a Top 30 finalist, Proano was named the RMAC Woman of the Year earlier this summer.

"Sophia was a model of consistency as a leader during her time here at Colorado Christian. She demonstrated excellence not only in her work but in the reliability of her character," said head coach Bobby Blanken. "As a teammate and friend, Sophia gave of herself regularly and invested into a group of young women that are even now reaping the benefits. Coaching Sophia was a joy in that she bought into the team's mission and was willing to do her best to see those around her catch the vision."

Added Athletic Director Brian Wall, "Sophia is the consummate student athlete. She maintained a 4.0 GPA while studying health sciences in preparation for her acceptance to a physician assistant program. Additionally, in the midst of her rigorous academic program, as senior captain, Sophia earned NCAA All-American status while leading her team to one of the most successful records in CCU history. Sophia was highly respected by her teammates as a leader both on and off of the court. Her career academically and athletically personified excellence."

The native of Thornton, Colo., graduated in May with a degree in biology with a 4.0 GPA. She is currently attending physician assistant school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. She was named to the RMAC All-Academic First-Team twice and last season was named the league's Female Academic Athlete of the Year.

On the court she was just as outstanding. Proano earned first-team RMAC twice and earned AVCA All-Region during her final two collegiate seasons and All-American honors her final season. She is one of just three players in school history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau.

Outside of Colorado Christian University, Proano was an active volunteer in the local community. For five years she volunteered at Water's Edge mentoring teenage girls. During the summer of 2016 she conducted research on incubators in the neonatal ICU at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. Proano has also spent numerous hours volunteering at the Children's Hospital of Colorado.