Full List of Nominees
University of Minnesota hockey player Lee Stecklein and diver Yu Zhou have been nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year. The award, which began in 1991, recognizes graduating athletes who excel in the four pillars of academics, athletics, service and leadership.
Stecklein graduated this spring as a three-time NCAA national champion with a double major in entrepreneurial management and marketing from the Carlson School of Business. A native of Roseville, Minn., Stecklein was a three-time team captain for the Gophers and led the Maroon & Gold to three national titles during her five-year career. The recipient of many individual athletic accolades, Stecklein is most notably a three-time AHCA/CCM All-American and All-WCHA First Team selection. She wrapped up her Gopher career this season ranked seventh in scoring among all-time Gopher defense with 93 career points.
Stecklein's contributions to the University of Minnesota and the surrounding community go far beyond her success on the ice. She totaled over 150 volunteer hours during her Gopher career, including significant time spent mentoring and working with area youth and visiting the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. Stecklein was named Minnesota's female recipient of the 2017 Big Ten Medal of Honor, an annual award given to a student-athlete who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." She was a finalist for the 2017 Hockey Humanitarian award as well. Stecklein's academic honors include being a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large selection in addition to collecting three WCHA Scholar-Athlete and WCHA All-Academic Team awards.
A 2014 Olympic silver medalist, Stecklein was the youngest member of Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, where she recorded one assist and played in five games for the Red, White, and Blue. She has also represented the U.S. at the IIHF Women's World Championships, earning four gold medals as a world champion in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Stecklein is now continuing her hockey career as a member of the U.S. Women's National Team training for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Zhou is one of the Gophers' most decorated athletes in program history. The native of Wuhan, China, concluded her career this spring with her second national championship in 3-meter diving. She was named Big Ten Diver of the Year and Big Ten Diver of the Championships all three years she was a Golden Gopher. Zhou was also the CSCAA Diver of the Year in 2015, the year she won her first NCAA crown.
During her illustrious career, Zhou earned seven total Big Ten titles and seven All-America honors. At the conference meet, she won both 1-meter and 3-meter in 2015 and 2017. Zhou swept all three events at the 2016 Big Ten Championships. All seven of her All-America certificates were for first-team performances.
Zhou was recently named a member of CoSIDA's Academic All-America Third Team for at-large sports. She graduated with a degree in communication studies and a 3.61 GPA. Zhou earned Academic All-Big Ten status twice and CSCAA Scholar All-America status three times. Her community involvement included helping at the Gophers' annual Hope Day event for kids living with life-threatening illnesses.
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