MIAC Selects Holtan as NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee

Posted on July 8th, 2019 by

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Recent Gustavus graduate Nora Holtan (Rochester, Minn.) has advanced one more step in the nomination process for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year. The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced Monday that Holtan is one of two former student-athletes to serve as the league’s nominees, joining Carleton’s Ziyi Wang.

The NCAA Woman of the Year was established in 1991 to honor graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service, and leadership throughout their collegiate careers. Since 2006, conferences have been empowered to select up to two nominees each from the pool of nominees, and Holtan becomes the third Gustie to receive the MIAC’s selection. Melissa Mackley (hockey) was chosen in 2010 and Lindsey Hjelm (hockey) in 2013.

The Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will now choose the top 30 honorees — 10 from each division. From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three honorees from each division and announces the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year from those nine.

The top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.

MIAC Release

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Nora Holtan

Holtan finished her playing career at Gustavus as the most decorated competitor in the 50-year history of Gustie volleyball. A three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America First Team selection and three-time MIAC Player of the Year, Holtan played a key role in helping Gustavus secure four NCAA Tournament berths, three MIAC Playoff titles, and a pair of regular season conference championships during her time in St. Peter. Holtan starred as a setter for the Gusties, becoming the program’s all-time assists leader with 4,528 over the last four seasons. She also collected 1,194 digs and 650 kills, making her the only player in team history to record at least 4,000 assists, 1,000 digs, and 500 kills. Holtan is also one of just 16 women in MIAC history to be selected All-Conference in volleyball all four years of her collegiate career and one of only two three-time MIAC Player of the Year recipients.

A standout in the classroom as well, Holtan earned Academic All-MIAC honors every year of her eligibility for the award and received Academic All-America honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as a junior and senior. The Rochester, Minn. native maintained a 3.87 grade-point average (GPA) while majoring in Exercise Physiology and Psychological Science at Gustavus. Off the court, Holtan has worked as a Student-Athlete Volunteer Educator (SAVE) where she has mentored first-year student-athletes, in addition to volunteering with Special Olympics Minnesota and writing letters to senior citizens through Ecumen’s penpal program with Gustavus volleyball. Holtan credits volleyball in helping her cope with mental health struggles over the years and says her time as a student-athlete at Gustavus has inspired her to be a leader for those battling through similar challenges.

“My experience dealing with the stressors of mental health issues has empowered me to be a positive role model for young female athletes dealing with similar issues,” Holtan said. “I want to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues in sports and mentor women and girls who are dealing with these issues.”


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