Former MIT All-American cross country/track standout Maryann Gong, from Livermore, California, has been named as a Top 30 honoree for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Gong is just the third student-athlete in MIT history to be honored as a Top 30 selection, joining Margaret Guo '16 (swimming and diving) and Lisa K. Arel '92 (gymnastics). Guo captured the 2016 Woman of the Year award and became the first MIT student-athlete to earn the honor.
This year, the NCAA received a program-record 543 school nominees, which were then trimmed to 145 female student-athletes that were nominated by conferences and an independent selection committee. Gong was one of 53 Division III student-athletes to advance to that stage, and she is now among the final 10 from Division III.
“It’s kind of hard to believe because there are so many people, so to be one of the top 30 is really an honor and I’m really grateful about it,” Gong says. “It’s definitely a great way to end my undergraduate career at MIT.”
Named as the CoSIDA Division III National Academic All-America of the Year for a second straight season, Gong is a 15-time All-American and one of the most decorated female student-athletes in MIT history. In 2016-17, she was a three-time indoor track and field All-American as she anchored the distance medley relay team that finished as the national runner-up. Posting a perfect 5.0 GPA as an undergraduate at MIT, she is currently pursuing her master’s degree at MIT in engineering with a concentration in artificial intelligence. A former NCAA champion in the 3,000 meters, Gong was the recipient of the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Elite 90 award.
“The Top 30 honorees are remarkable representatives of the thousands of women competing in college sports each year,” says Sarah Hebberd, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee and director of compliance at Georgia. “They have seized every opportunity available to them on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community, and we are proud to recognize them for their outstanding achievements.”
The selection committee will name nine finalists, with three from each division, in late September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2017 Woman of the Year. That ceremony will take place on Oct. 23 at a ceremony in Indianapolis.