Former University of Wisconsin-River Falls women's ice hockey standout Haley Nielsen has been named the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) nominee for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Nielsen was chosen from a conference field that also included: UW-Eau Claire's Erica Oawster, UW-La Crosse's Margaret Harings, UW-Oshkosh's Kayla Priebe, UW-Platteville's Katie Wardinski and UW-Stevens Point's Karen Wethal.
All conference NCAA Woman of the Year nominees will be forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee. The selection committee identifies the Top 30 - 10 from each division. From those 30 honorees, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
Now in its 29th year, the NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions. By submitting nominations, institutions and conferences have the opportunity to recognize female student-athletes who best exemplify a commitment to these four areas.
To be eligible, a nominee must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport, must have completed eligibility in her primary sport, and must have earned her undergraduate degree by Summer 2019.
Nielsen, a native of Plymouth, Minn., double-majored in physics and mathematics, while maintaining a 3.87 grade point average. She received the 2019 WIAC Judy Kruckman Women's Ice Hockey Scholar-Athlete Award.
Following the 2017-18 academic year, Nielsen earned a spot on the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Krampade NCAA Division II-III All-America Scholar Team. She is a four-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll and was recognized on UW-River Falls' Dean's List numerous semesters, while also being enrolled in the school's Honors Program.
A two-year team captain, she is a three-time All-WIAC first team selection and helped UW-River Falls claim the conference regular-season title all four seasons, as well as the O'Brien Cup in 2016 and 2017. Nielsen is two-time AHCA All-American, securing first team recognition in 2018 and second team status in 2019. UW-River Falls earned a spot in the NCAA Division III championship in 2016, 2017 and 2019, finishing as the national runner-up in 2016. She finished with a career-best 27 points and 22 assists during the 2017-18 campaign, and compiled a career-high 10 goals in 2016-17.
Nielsen was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Pi Sigma National Honor Societies. She volunteered with Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods, River Falls Trash Pick-Up and youth hockey practices.
All 30 Woman of the Year honorees will be recognized, and the 2019 Woman of the Year announced, at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.