SPOKANE, Wash. – As part of the NCAA Woman of the Year selection process, the Northwest Conference has named Whitworth's Kayla Leland as its Woman of the Year for 2017-18.
Leland (Spokane, Wash. / Gonzaga Prep), a multiple time All-American in cross country and track and field, will now be considered for the national award. Leland is the second Pirate in three years to become the NWC Woman of the Year, following KC McConnell's selection in 2015-16.
2017-18 marks the 28th year of the NCAA's Woman of the Year program. There are 153 nominees for the national award, 61 from NCAA Division III. The 153 nominees represent 18 different NCAA sports and Leland is one of 61 nominees who are multi-sport participants.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award is based on four pillars: academics, athletics, service and leadership.
Leland became a 2018 NCAA Division III Academic All-American in track and field / cross country earlier this year. She graduated in May with a double major in health science and Spanish. She carried a 3.94 GPA into the spring semester. Leland will attend graduate school at Washington State University this fall.
Leland was an All-American in three sports in 2017-18, beginning with a 19th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. She finished fifth in the 5,000 meters at the 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships. Leland closed out her season with a runner-up finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In between Leland was the 2018 Northwest Conference women's track Athlete of the Year after she won the 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters in less than 24 hours.
Over the course of her Whitworth running career, Leland was a seven-time NCAA Division III All-American in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field.
Leland was part of many Whitworth SAAC service projects throughout her career, including Trick or Treat so Kids Can Eat, and served as a leader for the cross country and track teams.
The NCAA will announce its Top 30 finals for the Woman of the Year in early September.