Leather earns AAC nomination for NCAA Woman of the Year

David Cohen

Director / Strategic Brand Engagement

CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati track and field student-athlete Ellie Leather reached the second round of the NCAA Woman of the Year selection process by earning one of two spots in the American Athletic Conference.

The NCAA Woman of the Year program is rooted in Title IX and has recognized graduate female athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership since its inception in 1991.

Leather is one of 53 Division I nominees and 151 overall. Cincinnati has already had Hannah Markel (2021), Loretta Blaut and Annette Echikunwoke (2019) and Juliana Madzia (2017), all track and field athletes, for similar honors among the top AAC nominees.

Leather, from Bristol, England, was a seven-time AAC champion and a five-time school record holder. She was the first Bearcat to qualify for the NCAA cross country championships after leaving the NCAA Great Lakes Region last fall.

Her historic season continued indoors where she took third place in the mile at the 2022 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. It marked the first track and field student-athlete in program history to place in the top three in an NCAA running event. She earned first-team All-America honors for performance.
She recently qualified for the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships where she earned second-team All-America accolades in the 1,500m.
Academically, she was a CoSIDA All-District First Team selection and a two-time AAC All-Academic winner. She received the prestigious 2022 UC Athletics Jean Stephens Memorial Award and was inducted into the 2021 UC Legion of Excellence. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Nutrition.

Off the track, Leather has participated in Aruna Project Run, Women’s Cross Country Run Against Hunger and Food For All.

The Woman of the Year Selection Committee, comprised of NCAA member representatives, will choose 10 nominees from each division to make up the National Top 30 winners. The top 30 winners will be announced in October. From there, the selection committee will narrow the pool down to three finalists from each division. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2022 Woman of the Year from among nine finalists.

At January’s NCAA convention in San Antonio, the 30 National Top 30 winners will be celebrated and the NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced. For more information, visit ncaa.org/woty.

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