ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Winthrop track and cross country athlete Jeanne Stroud was named the Big South Conference's Woman of the Year for 2013-14 season Thursday evening at the conference's Spring Meetings Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner in Hilton Head.
As the Big South Woman of the Year, Stroud is nominated as a candidate for the national NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The NCAA also allows Conferences to nominate a second candidate if one of the two student-athletes is a minority/international student. Winthrop women's basketball player Dequesha McClanahan (Oak Ridge, Tennessee), a finalist for the Big South Woman of the Year award, is also nominated by the Conference for the NCAA award.
The Big South's Woman of the Year Selection Committee voted Stroud the winner among the 13 candidates nominated for the award. The committee used criteria of service and leadership (including community services, campus activities and leadership positions), academic achievement, athletics excellence and a personal statement from each candidate.
Stroud (Charleston, South Carolina) was an 11-time All-Conference performer during her four-year career for the Eagles: a three-time honoree in cross country, three-time performer in the indoor track & field 5,000-meters, and tallied five All-Conference medals in outdoor track & field (3 – 10,000m, 2 – 5,000m). Stroud captured four Conference titles during her time at Winthrop, winning the indoor 5,000-meters twice in addition to the outdoor 5,000m and 10,000m. She was the 2013 Big South Outdoor Track Outstanding Female Performer and is the school record holder in four events -- the indoor 5,000-meters, and the outdoor 3,000-meters, 5,000-meters and 10,000-meters.
An English major, she served as Winthrop's SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Council) President this past year and has been a SAAC member since her freshman season. Other on-campus activities include participation in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a vice-president term of the Omicron Delta National Leadership Honor Society.
Her community service is extensive. She has been a race buddy for the Richmond Drive Girls on the Run and was involved with both the Big South SAAC food drive (2012-13) and Soap for Souls (2010-11), as well as Eagle Week activities with the Boys & Girls Club of York County.
In addition, she has been a South Carolina Commission for Higher Education's Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) scholarship recipient all four years at Winthrop. Other academic achievements include being a three-time President's List honoree, four-time member of the Dean's List and a four-year recipient of Winthrop's Kinard Scholarship.
Other community service efforts include volunteer work with York Road Elementary School's Walk for Juvenile Diabetes, Woodland United Methodist Church's annual pumpkin patch and Kicks Against Cancer soccer game.
McClanahan concluded her four-year career as just the second player in league history to be voted Player of the Year three consecutive seasons. She led Winthrop to its first-ever Big South Women's Basketball Championship and NCAA Tournament berth her senior year and became the league's all-time women's basketball scoring and assist leader this past season with 2,277 points and 744 assists, respectively. The first player in conference history with 2,000 points, 700 assists, 600 rebounds (658) and 200 steals (282), McClanahan was also named to the Big South Women's Basketball All-Academic Team in 2013-14.
Named to the 12th Annual Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA) Scholar-Athlete Basketball Teams for 2013-14 -- the Big South's first honoree in three years, McClanahan is an exercise science major who has spent three years volunteering with the Friedham Park Community Day Celebration and Eagle Week with the Boys & Girls Club. She has also volunteered at First Baptist Church in Rock Hill and with Global Learning Games as well as planning dinner and activities with a local Adult Assisted Living Community, Christmas Unicef activities and various on-campus fundraisers -- including Winthrop Volleyball's Think Pink Night. The two-time champion was also along the 30 initial candidates for the national Women's Basketball Senior CLASS Award.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Selection Committee will determine the top 10 and top three honorees in each division by considering specific guidelines. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will also use the same guidelines when selecting the 2014 award winner. All honorees receive an NCAA certificate and are included in press announcements. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis on Oct. 19. The Big South had its first national finalist in 2005 when Winthrop's Janiva Willis was named one of the 10 finalists.