Kelsey Kittleson
Kelsey Kittleson

The NCAA has announced former Luther College softball All-America Kelsey Kittleson is one of nine finalists selected for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year.

Finalists were selected based on academic achievement, athletics excellence and dedication to community service and leadership. Three women from each NCAA division were chosen. 

The nine finalists are among 30 Woman of the Year honorees who will be honored during the event. The pool of 30 emerged from a group of nearly 430 nominees. It includes 10 honorees from each NCAA division who represent a range of NCAA sports.

The 2012 Woman of Year will be announced, and the top 30 women will be honored, during the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year awards dinner Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Indiana Convention Center, in Indianapolis.

The other eight finalists are Hillary Bach, Arizona State softball; Grace Collins, Barry University softball; Kate Griewisch, Lenoir-Ryhne cross country; Sarah Jane Otey, Coast Guard rowing and swimming; Brooke Pancake, Alabama golf; Alexi Pappas, Darmouth cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field; Elizabeth Phillips, Washington-St. Louis cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field; Verena Preikschas, California State Stanislaus tennis.

The link that has all the bios of the nine finalists is located on the NCAA website - ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/2012-09-13/nine-athletes-selected-finalists-ncaa-woman-year-award.

Kittleson is the fifth Iowa Conference nominee to reach the final stage of the selection process (2010 Hannah Baker, Wartburg; 1999 Trina Steines, Wartburg; 1995 Robyn Olson, Wartburg; 1995 Emilie Hanson, Central).

A biology major who graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average and was recently honored as an NCAA Postgraduate Scholar, Kittleson was inducted into a pair of national honor societies -- Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Beta Beta (biology). She was a two-time first team CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America® and was twice named Capital One Academic All-America® of the Year for softball (2011 College Division, 2012 Division III). Kittleson was also a three-time NCAA Elite 88/89 Award recipient as the student-athlete at site of the championship finals with the highest cumulative grade-point average. She is the first student-athlete to receive the award three times in the same sport. Kittleson was also named to the Iowa Conference All-Academic Team in each of the three years she was eligible.

Kittleson, a catcher on Luther's softball team, was a member of two Iowa Conference championship teams (2011, 2012), two Iowa Conference tournament championship teams (2010, 2011) and a trio of Norse squads that advanced to the finals of NCAA Division III Softball Championship. She earned first team all-Iowa Conference honors at catcher in her final two seasons, was a two-time NFCA All-Midwest Region pick (2011 second team, 2012 first team) and took home second team NFCA All-America honors in 2012.

She is the daughter of Barry and Pam Kittleson of St. Ansgar.