June 1, 2012

Otey Selected as NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee

WELLESLEY, Mass.--United States Coast Guard Academy senior Sarah Jane Otey has been selected as the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) recipient of the NCAA Woman of the Year award.

Otey, a three-time NEWMAC All-Conference rower, will be put forward as the conference's representative for the national Woman of the Year award and will be considered, along with honorees from other conferences, for selection as one of the top candidates from each of the NCAA's three divisions.

Otey is an accomplished rower and swimmer, helping to lead the Coast Guard crew team to a spot in the NCAA championship in 2008 and 2012 and qualifying for the NCAA swimming & diving championship five times in her career. She is also an outstanding student, carrying a 3.97 GPA in marine and environmental science, earning six NEWMAC Academic All-Conference distinctions and receiving the George C. Alexander award at the Coast Guard Academy for "highest proficiency in physical chemistry, analytical chemistry and toxicology."

But what truly sets Otey apart is her exceptional display of leadership and service during her time at the Academy. In 2009-10, she stepped away from her classmates and teammates at Coast Guard and spent a year doing humanitarian work in Peru. During her time in Peru, Otey worked at a local clinic, tutored children in English and helped build clean-burning stoves for rural families. This display of selflessness, which embodies the Coast Guard's core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty, had a dramatic impact on Otey.

"Leaving my sports teams and classmates behind for a year was the most difficult thing I've ever done, but the experience changed me in a fundamental way. I left thinking I'd help the families in the clinic and teach the kids in the schools, but ultimately, I was helped and taught by them," Otey remarked.

"The people I met in Peru defined success not by grades, athletic championships or accolades, but rather by interpersonal relationships: family, friends, and community," she continued. "As a result, my idea of purpose and success now centers not around my achievements, but rather my impact on others."

Otey has also been a mentor in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and was the community service department head at Coast Guard in 2011. She is a two-time Capital One Academic All-District honoree and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, the freshman honors society. She received the Elite 89 award at this year's NCAA rowing championship and is a two-time Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) All-American.

The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, community service and leadership.

Otey, along with all other conference nominees will be forwarded to the Woman of the Year selection committee. The selection committee will choose the top 10 honorees in each division. From among those 30 candidates, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the Committee on Women's Athletics will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year, which will be announced at the NCAA Woman of the Year awards dinner in Indianapolis, Ind. on October 14, 2012.

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