CIAA Woman of the Year
During her four-year stay, Allie Kolezynski became synonymous not just with Chowan University softball, but with the institution itself.
She has been chosen Best All-Around student at Chowan as well as being chosen to represent the school’s Student Athlete Advisory Council with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
To cap off her four-year career as a student-athlete at Chowan, Kolezynski was named Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Woman of the Year.
“It is an honor and I’m truly proud that the work I put into my four years culminated in this moment” she said. “It was definitely a proud moment when I found out and also a surprising one because I know there were other qualified student-athletes.”
Kolezynski was honored as 2012 CIAA Woman of the Year for her commitment to academics, athletics and her community. She becomes the second recipient of the award which is chosen by the Senior Woman Administrators from the league.
“This is a tremendous honor for Allie. We are all very proud of her and her accomplishments while at Chowan,” said Deputy Athletics Director Meredith Long. “She embodies the very essence of what the student-athlete experience represents and has dedicated her collegiate career to academics, athletics, and service.”
Kolezynski recently graduated with honors with a degree in Business Administration and will serve as the Head Cross Country Coach and Assistant Director of Athletic Communications for her Alma Mater starting in June.
She said she truly enjoyed her experience in Murfreesboro as a student-athlete.
“It was definitely a fast four years between school and softball and everything that goes with a student-athlete,” she said. “Chowan allowed me to have the full student-athlete experience in terms of being successful in the classroom and on the field while also preparing me for the future.”
Chowan officially joined the CIAA during Kolezynski’s sophomore year on the softball diamond. She and her teammates promptly won the league and earned the rights to play in the NCAA regional.
“We won the conference the same year we joined and that was really a cool experience,” she said. “It was great to be part of starting the tradition of wining in the conference. I was blessed to be part of that group and I am thankful for it.”
In addition to being an excellent student and an outstanding student-athlete, Kolezynski also was part of many of the university’s community service projects. Two that stood out were working with Habitat for Humanity as part of the softball team and working with a food drive with SAAC.
“With Habitat for Humanity, it was really good to see the impact we could have in the community and to meet the people that would actually live there,” Kolezynski said. “The one last fall with SAAC was special because it was a canned food drive for a local community center. They came to a home football game and we were able to see that all the hard work that went into the drive meant something to them and how it would help.”
Kolezynski is a three-time member of the CIAA Commissioner’s Scholar-Athlete Team, a three time All-CIAA performer in the sport of softball, as well as a CoSida Capital One All American (2011).
“It is a great honor to have been selected as the CIAA Woman of the Year,” said Kolezynski. “I’m appreciative and grateful for all of the opportunities that I have been blessed with. I am thankful to my coaches, my mentors, and my family for laying the groundwork to help me get where I am today.”
Kolezynski served as the CU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President for two years and represented the CIAA on the D2 National SAAC. She was recently named the D2 National SAAC Vice-Chair and will continue to serve in that role for the next two years.
Of those honors, she said the two that stood out were being chosen for the national SAAC committee and the most recent honor of being named Woman of the Year.
During the four years at Chowan, Kolezynski said she received support from everyone in the athletic department, but was particularly aided by two role models – Long and Chowan Softball Coach Mandi Balduf.
“Everyone in the athletic department was supportive during my four years as a student-athlete,” she said. “Those two women worked with me the most and I learned from them.”
Over her four years she has completed countless hours of community service both through the CU SAAC and the Chowan Softball team. Kolezynski also served as a columnist for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald during her senior season at the school.
The CIAA Woman of the Year is selected each year by a small committee made up of CIAA Senior Woman Administrators. This is the second year the award has been given. An $800 scholarship will be awarded in Kolezynski’s name to a Chowan undergraduate female student who is majoring in Sport Science and Physical Education.
Kolezynski will now represent the CIAA in the National NCAA Woman of the Year contest. The national winner will be named in the Fall of 2012.