For the second consecutive year, a female University of Scranton student-athlete has been named the Landmark Conference's nominee for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, as former two-sport standout Rebecca Russo (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) was chosen by the conference on Tuesday.
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service, and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
Eligible female student-athletes are nominated by their member school. Each conference office then reviews the nominations from its core member schools (and sponsored sports) and submits its conference nominee(s) to the NCAA. Then, in September, the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee identifies the Top 30 – 10 from each division – and from there selects three finalists from each division. The Committee on Women's Athletics then selects the winner from the nine finalists. The 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced in November.
Last season, former University of Scranton women's soccer star Erica Licari '19 was the Landmark Conference's NCAA Woman of the Year nominee, as she would go on to earn an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in November of 2019.
The nomination by the Landmark Conference for Russo adds to her long list of accomplishments in her Scranton career as a women's soccer/women's lacrosse standout.
Russo, who earned a bachelor's degree in Nursing from The University of Scranton in May after garnering a 3.89 GPA in her career, helped the Scranton women's soccer team win three Landmark Conference championships (2016, 2017, 2019), and advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament in each season she was in the program.
In lacrosse, Russo helped Scranton advance to three Landmark Conference championship games and was a leader during the historic 2019 season in which the Royals posted their best record in program history (16-3) and finished 20th in the final IWLCA Division III Top 25 poll, a first for the program.
In 2018-19, Russo was named an All-American by both the United Soccer Coaches (USC) and the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association (IWLCA), becoming the first student-athlete (male or female) to earn All-American accolades in two different sports in Scranton athletics history.
A three-time All-Region selection in both women's soccer and lacrosse, Russo was the 2018 Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Year in soccer, earning All-Landmark Conference First Team honors three times, apiece, in soccer and lacrosse.
Academically, Russo was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-American team in women's soccer in 2019, earning Academic All-District accolades three times throughout her career in the sport. A USC Scholar All-American in 2018 and Scholar All-Region pick in 2019, she also earned Academic All-District accolades in the At-Large category from CoSIDA after the 2019 lacrosse season. And, she was named to the Landmark Conference's Academic Honor Roll six times throughout her career.
To cap her career, she was named the Landmark Conference's Senior Scholar Athlete for both women's soccer and women's lacrosse this past year and earned both the O'Hara and Carlesimo Awards from the Scranton Athletics Department, as well.
To view the full release Russo moving ahead in the NCAA Woman of the Year award process, click here: https://landmark.prestosports.com/general/2020-21/releases/07282020-ncaa-woty-lc-finalist
Fans are reminded to continue to follow University of Scranton Athletics all year on both Instagram and Twitter @RoyalAthletics.